Interfaith Action Recognized with “Community Hero Award”


The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has recognized Interfaith Action with a 2024 Community Hero Award for its innovative work to welcome newcomers. The Faithful Hospitality initiative, launched in spring 2024 in partnership with area houses of worship, provides shelter for asylum-seeking families who are experiencing homelessness.

“People deserve to live in safety,” DHS Commissioner Jody Harpstead said in presenting the award to Interfaith Action’s CEO Lilliana Letran-Garcia. “Today, and throughout history, people have had to leave their homes to find safety due to situations outside of their control. Across the United States, communities are welcoming newcomers seeking safety. Minnesota’s tradition of welcoming people continues as a growing number of newcomers choose the state as a place to live in safety and rebuild their lives. While the federal government decides who can enter the United States, it is communities that provide welcome and hope to the newest arrivals.”

In addition to providing shelter, Faithful Hospitality collaborates with community partners to provide supportive legal, housing, and employment services. “Faithful Hospitality is serving newcomer families and piloting a model that not only provides shelter, but also builds skills and connections to propel newcomers forward,” Harpstead said.

To date, five houses of worship have provided mobile shelter for Faithful Hospitality families: Macalester Plymouth United Church, Fairmount Avenue United Methodist Church, Roseville Lutheran Church, St. Timothy Lutheran Church, and Hamline Church United Methodist.

“Together with our interfaith community, we are working to ensure that every Faithful Hospitality family has not only a place to sleep but also the tools and the resources to contribute to community here in Minnesota,” Letran-Garcia said.