Inter-Faith Council for Social Service

Historical Timeline

In 1963, a group of seven local women united their volunteer efforts to address the conditions of poverty in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  More than five decades later, IFC continues its mission to confront the causes and respond to the effects of poverty in our community.  With a network of 6,000 members, residents, volunteers, and donors, IFC is the primary non-profit provider of social safety net services in Orange County and the only provider of shelter services. 


  • Inter-Faith Council (IFC) forms as Inter-Church Council to continue the work of Committee of Church Women United


  • IFC clothing distribution program begins (Turned over to PTA Thrift Shop in 1978)

  • School lunch program begins (Absorbed by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity)
  • Pre-School readiness program begins (Now done by HeadStart)
  • Helps family build a house (Now done by Habitat for Humanity)


  • IFC becomes a United Way Agency


  • Tutorial program for Chapel Hill-Carrboro elementary schools OEO begins (Spun off to Campus Y)

  • Establishes Loan and Grant Fund
  • Furniture Collection/Distribution program begins


  • Committee for low-income, integrated housing starts planning for Chase Park & Elliott Woods

  • Starts Community Program for Aging (Became a town agency in 1970 and then became a county department)


  • Organizes Inter-Agency Council (Now Association of Community Agencies)


  • Incorporated as a 501 (c) 3
  • Establishes Food Pantry at Wilson Street


  • Sponsors VISTA project to develop community centers (Four family resource centers still exist)


  • Advocates for local Employment Security Commission office


  • Completes Chase Park and Elliott Woods apartments (Currently operated by Inter-Church Housing Corp.)


  • Develops INFO, County-wide Information and Referral Service


  • Coordinates community response to Vietnam refugees


  • Develops Friends of Nursing Home Patients (Becomes county responsibility in 1979)


  • Housing Committee forms to build housing
 for the elderly and disabled


  • Weatherization project begins (suspended in 1988)

  • Coordinates statewide effort to repeal food tax
  • Gives "Children's Services News" space and support (turned over to Child Care Networks in 1984)
  • Budget counseling started for IFC clients


  • Advocates for uniform housing code (adopted in 1983)


  • Community Kitchen opens at Masonic Lodge; moves to Merritt Mill Rd. in 1985; moves to Community House in 1990

  • Infant Car Seat Project (spun off to County Health Dept. in 1988)


  • Adelaide Walters Apartments for elderly and handicapped built and dedicated (now operated by Community Housing Alternatives)


  • IFC Shelter Program begins at churches, then in old town jail


  • Senior Support Service works with patients released early from hospital (ended in 1989)


  • CROP Walk sponsorship begins

  • Mayor’s Task Force formed to establish permanent emergency shelter location


  • IFC 25th Anniversary Celebration


  • Medical Clinic opens at Community House


  • New Community House (Emergency Shelter/Community Kitchen) opens at Old Municipal Building


  • Initiates Social Worker Services at Community House

  • Legal Clinic opens at Community House
  • Sponsors successful grant application for AIDS Service Agency Family Care Home


  • 30th Anniversary Musical Salute

  • Home visits for house-bound Family Service clients


  • "Project HomeStart," transitional family home receives HUD grant

  • Smart Start provides social workers for homeless and at-risk children
  • On-site mental health and substance abuse services at Community House
  • Pediatric Clinic for shelter children begins
  • Employment Project for recovering homeless individuals (Spun off to Freedom House in 1997)


  • Hires first Executive Director


  • Family Connection Program for low-income families
 is created
  • Contracted with the Piedmont Consortium to administer Ryan White funds to assist people living with HIV and AIDS (Spun off to AIDS Service Agency of Orange County in 1997).


  • Relocation Committee formed for Wilson Street programs and staff

  • Transitional housing facility construction begins
  • First Kitchen Coordinator hired


  • Opening of Project HomeStart for homeless families

  • IFC begins Hispanic Outreach Initiative


  • Chapel Hill Mayor organizes IFC Relocation Taskforce

  • IFC moves its Wilson Street office to Douglas Building in Carrboro


  • IFC Board of Directors conducts an agency-wide strategic planning process

  • IFC establishes a Continuum of Care Committee to end homelessness


  • IFC Board of Directors approves new 3-year strategic plan

  • Hillel Foundation implements Project Rush Hour, a student-led initiative to combat poverty and hunger


  • A Stewards Fund grant pays for renovations to the IFC Food Pantry and Community Services operations in Carrboro


  • IFC purchases the Douglas Building in Carrboro for Community Services operations

  • HUD funding for Project HomeStart ends
  • Reorganized HomeStart plans announced by IFC for homeless women and children
  • 40th anniversary celebration


  • IFC congregations host men’s shelter and kitchen services during Town renovations
 of Old Municipal Building
  • IFC and Chapel Hill Mayor convene planning group to address homelessness and new facilities


  • Dedication and installation of Community House tile mosaic

  • HomeStart's Building C reopens in December after a March fire
  • Douglas Building holds first multi-agency open house


  • Chapel Hill Church of Christ establishes Carol Smith and Ruth Monk Emergency Assistance Fund for the Food Pantry


  • Food Pantry kicks off new membership program

  • Local business persons organized to explore best practices for Food Operations and Comprehensive Service Center
  • IFC's Robert Nixon Free Clinic for the Homeless becomes Federal TORT Claims Act certified
  • New liaison structure formed to strengthen partnerships with congregations


  • UNC Chancellor, Chapel Hill Mayor and IFC Executive Director announce new partnership and property location for Men's Residential Facility near the United Church of Chapel Hill 

  • Community House open 24/7 again
  • Volunteers health professionals establish new mental health services at Community House
  • Joe Herzenberg, former Chapel Hill Town Council member, leaves estate gift for Community House
  • Board approves recommendations from local business group to combine Community Kitchen and Food Pantry in one location to be known as FoodFirst


  • UNC Hospitals jump starts mental health services at HomeStart

  • HomeStart Family Assistance Fund established by donors
  • Town of Chapel Hill and UNC begin Special Use Permit (SUP) process for relocating Community House on UNC land
  • Farmer Foodshare is formed and begins distributing fresh, locally grown produce to IFC clients


  • Awarded United Way of the Greater Triangle "Agency of Excellence" status for the first time


  • Chapel Hill Town Council approved a Special Use Permit (SUP) for the IFC’s new Community House Men’s Transitional Housing Facility
  • Good Neighbor Plan Advisory Committee formed
  • The Dispute Settlement Center hired to faciliate Good Neighbor Plan meetings


  • The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously approves the IFC’s Good Neighbor Plan (GNP)
  • 25th Annual Chapel Hill-Carrboro CROP Hunger Walk held


  • IFC 50th anniversary 
  • 25th annual RSVVP (Restaurants Sharing Ten Percent)
  • IFC launches capital campaign for the new Community House
  • IFC hires its first Medical Coordinator


  • Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Community House
  • IFC receives a $1,000,000 gift from the State Employees Credit Union for the IFC @ SECU Community House
  • IFC announces the successful conclusion of the Campaign for a New Community House
  • Community House, shelter for men, opens at 1315 MLK Jr Boulevard.


  • IFC launches capital campaign for new Carrboro building
  • IFC adds Permanent Supportive Housing program
  • Awarded GSK Impact Award and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce Non-profit of the Year Award.
  • 30th annual RSVVP for IFC; Founder Irene Briggaman retires.
  • IFC is awarded federal funds to expand Permanent Supportive Housing Program


  • Food Pantry and administrative offices move to 100 W. Rosemary Street during construction of new building.
  • IFC provides case management for new Master-Lease program, a public-private collaboration to increase affordable housing for people making less than 30% AMI.
  • IFC receives funding for Activate! IFC program to promote voting, advocacy, and leadership development.


  • IFC hires first REAL Transformation Coordinator.
  • IFC provides all services under COVID-19 pandemic health and safety guidelines.
  • Single shelter residents move to local hotel for pandemic safety and IFC temporarily serves 15 additional people experiencing homelessness.
  • RSVVP is cancelled due to pandemic.


  • IFC moves into newly constructed building, named IFC Commons, at 110 W. Main Street in Carrboro - consolidating all non-shelter programs under one roof for the first time.
  • Awarded 2021 Community Impact Award by the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro.


  • New Community Market finally opens for in-person shopping with face masks (due to COVID-19 pandemic)
  • IFC offers new Community Navigation services to empower members with access to critical information and resources including shelter, employment applications, government identification, and earned benefits. 


  • New additional Inclement Weather Shelter is provided for when temperatures are below 32 degrees. IFC works with the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, Orange County, and the Towns to provide this support located at Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road. This service is an expansion of the existing cold weather cots offered in IFC's shelter buildings.
  • Delayed by COVID, indoor dining finally opens at Community Ktichen, two years after grand opening for the new building at 110 W. Main Street.
  • Hours of operation at IFC Commons are adjusted to 10am-6pm to allow for more program staff support after 5pm.
  • A joint report to Chapel Hill Town Council from Town staff and the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness on the state of homelessness in Orange County indicates that, among other things, Chapel Hill and the surrounding community would benefit from updating the model of Community House to be in line with federal best practices for shelters and to be consistent with the Town’s values and commitment to equity. Town staff was directed to work with IFC to update the Good Neighbor Plan accordingly and to bring a revised plan back to Council for approval. The revised plan was unanimously approved by Town Council in June 2023.