Each year, Lutheran Metro Ministries of Omaha Nebraska either refers people to or provides direct assistance to as many families as possible. There may be hundreds of residents from across Douglas County who stop by for advice or support. Many of the clients of the non-profit have an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Support from the charity is provided through a variety of programs that provide short-term emergency assistance. Whether it is money for a partial rent payment, energy efficiency from weatherization, or a free box of food, this and more may be provided. Case managers also offer longer-term empower services.
The Central Case Management process is the gateway to all Lutheran Metro Ministries programs and services. Staff will work with the client and help individuals identify, address and overcome multiple barriers to self-sufficiency through techniques as well as tools.
Lutheran Metro Ministries can help households explore reduced payment plans for their utility bills. There are companies in the state of Nebraska that offer their own solutions. There may be payment plans that are based on gross income, household size, and total energy usage. The goal is to allow the bill to become more manageable so the applicant must have a verifiable source of income.
Also, as part of the customer agreement, the applicant is required to apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or weatherization. Staff from help with the LIHEAP application process, including forwarding the information to the county of Douglas Department of Social Services for processing.
The Lutheran Metro Ministries Energy Bill Assistance program helps income qualified tenants and homeowners who are in need of emergency help. Staff from the non-profit will provide families with the location of the nearest program or payment plans that helps with heating fuel, utilities, or water bills. To learn more, call the agency for information.
Emergency Food and Basic Need Assistance – Among the many programs run by Lutheran Metro Ministries, the agency places a priority on providing food and other essentials, such as soap or clothing for work, to persons in need. The majority of these services are made possible through the Feeding America Food Distribution Network as well as local clothing closets or churches. When immediate needs cannot be met by a local food pantry, Lutheran Metro Ministries is able to provide free food or a grocery voucher in some situations.
During the holiday season, extra support is provided to Lutheran Metro Ministries clients when possible. The agency offers Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance programs in Omaha and Douglas County. Clients are matched with donors who provide food and gifts.
In Douglas County, residents in need of holiday assistance are eligible for civic and religious donation programs through the agency’s association with Toys for Tots, local charities and community churches.
Clothing assistance is available through Lutheran Metro Ministries for working poor clients. Some of the items may be passed out from their thrift store or other locations. For those interested in thrift store vouchers, please visit the social services office to apply, and bring proof of income.
Items from Lutheran Metro Ministries include gently used clothing and household items. Some are free, and some are sold at steeply reduced prices for the general public. Clothing vouchers for single, poverty stricken individuals and families in Omaha Nebraska are also available. Appointments are necessary in order to receive clothing vouchers and a number of low-income families qualify for them each year.
Health and wellness is promoted for struggling clients by Lutheran Metro Ministries through initiatives in the community and partnerships with local community clinics as well as non-profit agencies. As an example of what may available in Douglas County, there are annual health fair that provide under insured residents information on topics such as applying for Medicaid, diabetes prevention, the Affordable Care Act and spirituality.
More practical support is offered too. Through a partnership with Feeding America and the USDA, there are various cooking and nutrition courses in the region. Classes or workshops are also available on topics like using coupons, diabetes, cooking meatless meals, and healthy desserts.
As noted, the resources are limited. What may happen more often than not is Lutheran Metro Ministries may offer referrals in partnership with other local charities. The location is 4205 Boyd St., Omaha, Nebraska 68111. The intake/referral line is (402) 453-3774.
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