Neighborhood Family Services is offering financial assistance to help needy families keep their homes this holiday season.
The nonprofit organization has funding through Dec. 31 to help qualified individuals and families with their bills, said Stacey Ninness, the group's president and chief executive officer.
“We have funds to provide first month's rent, which is for people who are homeless and have the money to move on and transition into housing,” Ninness said. “We have eviction prevention. ... If you got an eviction notice from your landlord and you need help, we can help you pay your rent for the month.”
The organization also helps with mortgage payments for people who have received a foreclosure notice or notice of late payment, she said.
“The important thing to remember is that we can only pay for one month of past-due rent (or mortgage payments),” she said. “We can't pay fees, but we can help you get through what we call a transition event.”
Such events include medical bills or high heating costs — unexpected crises that can tip struggling families into homelessness.
This time of year can be particularly difficult, she said.
“We see such a huge need at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she said. “You don't think as much about Thanksgiving, but it's the big meal. When you don't have enough money to buy the turkey and the stuffing and all the rest, that's significant.”
Thanks to the generosity of SolAmor Hospice, Neighborhood Family Services will be able to provide 44 families with Thanksgiving food baskets, including all the traditional fixings ... and hot chocolate.
“That seems like a little thing,” Ninness said, “but you should've seen the faces of the kids last year when they saw that hot chocolate. They were jumping up and down.”
Ninness' organization has been in existence for 90 years. It provides transitional housing for people who need help gaining independence, such as teenagers who “age out” of the foster care program. Other services include permanent supportive housing for homeless adults with mental illness and low-cost health clinics.
Since September, the nonprofit has provided $12,000 in rental and mortgage assistance, Ninness said. Because funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Association, recipients must meet certain federal guidelines.
Those seeking help must:
Live in Oklahoma, Canadian or McClain counties.
Have an eviction notice or notice of late payment.
Participate in a phone interview to determine eligibility. Call 236-0413, extension 308.
If you'd like to help as a volunteer or donor, call 236-0413, extension 302.
Donations may be sent to Neighborhood Family Services, 431 SW 11, Oklahoma City, OK 73109.