Poverty is more than material.


In 2000, the World Bank asked the question "what is poverty?" to over 60,000 individuals living in poverty. Their descriptions of their own experiences surprisingly differ from how most middle-class individuals would define poverty. Rather than the assumed lack of material resources, the poor tend to describe their condition in far more psychological and social terms such as shame, isolation, inferiority, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, and voicelessness.

Middle Class Definition
net_poverty middle class
Low-Income Definition
net_poverty low income
  • “Y’all are the only family I have. Y’all love me and you don’t even know me. The NET has changed my life and I will never be the same person I was when I walked in here.
    I’m a different person because of you girls.”
    - Crystal, 35, former prostitute we met through jail outreach
  • "It's the hardest part of being homeless.
    I've only been on the streets for a couple weeks.
    People look down on us like we're trash.
    We're not trash, we all have the same Father in heaven.
    You guys are different. We're all family here."
    - Kyle, 28, now formerly homeless, working part-time, recently purchased a car!
  • “You know, you young folks loving people
    is really changing me man. The girls come up and visit the ladies in jail and I walk them to their cars and make sure they’re safe.
    I tell everyone about y’all and try to get them to come to Bingo on Fridays. It’s just I’m so thankful that y’all wanted to be my friend and have shown me love and God and everything.”
    - James, 46, chronically homeless
  • "I miss my country and I miss my people,
    but here I have Jesus."
    - Salha Keza, 6, Congolese refugee

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Instead of simply addressing their material need for clothing, food, and shelter, we uniquely develop the people we serve by addressing their relational poverty. We believe they begin to understand their inherent dignity through authentic and healthy friendships.
The consistent community we create encourages and empowers them to participate in their own personal success. There they can only attribute their success to themselves. This not only restores their lives but gives them the WORTH and dignity that every human deserves.
The solution to poverty must begin by defining its roots correctly, which we believe to be social and relational.


The idea for the term Safety NET is to create long-term support systems or friendships that are designed to advocate for their success. Every person, rich or poor, needs a community around them to encourage them towards a positive and healthy life. The NET wants to ensure that the people in poverty we serve have that same opportunity.

Our NETwork consists of volunteers, churches, businesses, schools, professionals, and other non-profits to partner and assist in carrying out the Safety NET. The NET is excited to provide the training, education, logistical planning, mentoring, and resources that will allow the members of our NETwork to easily connect and serve the marginalized of Fort Worth.


The Net FW was originally birthed out of Christ Chapel’s college ministry in 2009 & 2010 as we began efforts among the refugee community and homeless population. After encouragement from CCBC leadership, The Net sought after official 501(c)3 status and became independent in April 2013.
The NET has functioned as a team of volunteer interns and staff since January 2013. In 2013, Melissa Ice became full-time as the Founder & Executive Director, and we hired our full-time Director of Operations Sarah Adams. In May 2015 we hired Alex Lipari to oversee our homeless outreach and Ty Bowden to oversee our Ladera Kids programs as well as M.A.S.E. In September 2015 we hired Jordan Hall as our Purchased Program Manager.


Each of our serve opportunities at The NET is all about building community with people in poverty, because we believe that people need people more than they need stuff. Since we're a little bit different from most non-profits, all that we ask is that our volunteers show up with the intention to engage in conversation and build relationships with those we serve.


Research shows that 89% of women in in prostitution want to escape but believe they have no other options for survival.


The World Bank asked 60,000 individuals "what is poverty?" Because the poor described their poverty not in material terms but in relational terms, they concluded that poverty is more than material.


Each year 1700 refugees are resettled to Tarrant County.

Purchased is an outreach to victims of sexual exploitation in Fort Worth. We do this through weekly jail outreaches, court support, and a survivor-led support group.
The NET serves men and women experiencing homelessness through weekly breakfasts, birthday celebrations, and dessert nights at the Salvation Army.
The NET serves low-income children, mostly who are refugees from Congo, Somalia, Burma, Thailand, and Nepal.




Melissa Ice
Founder & Executive Director

Alex Lipari
Homeless Program Manager

Jordan Hall
Purchased Program Manager

Sarah Adams
Director of Operations

Ty Bowden
Ladera Kids Program Manager & MASE Director


Andy Keetch
Cantey Hanger

Jimmy Williams
Detective, FWPD
Chris Taylor
RAM Interests

Misty Davis
Purchased Advocate


The Net runs with the help
of a team of amazing interns
who help orchestrate
our events and programs as they walk through our leadership development program.
"I love the Net because it takes a group of broken people and equips us to help other broken people. The Net has made it so easy for me to serve the city of Fort Worth as a TCU student. I learn so much about how Jesus serves us through The Net, and I always leave my time with them encouraged and hopeful."
- Meredith Trank, NET Intern, TCU '16


Davis family
"I am constantly amazed at how this organization bears so much good fruit and touches SO MANY lives on a shoestring budget.
The ministry work I see being done by the NET is tireless, tangible, and so fruitful! I highly recommend The Net."

- Misty Davis, Board Member

Annual Budget

Full-Time Staff

Serve Events a month

Purchased Advocates

Enables one woman who has experienced sexual exploitation to attend a survivor leader support group

Sponsors one refugee student to go through our enrichment program

Provides coffee for conversations at Bingo & Bagels