The primary programs available from Northwest Assistance Ministries are administered as part of their Emergency Basic Needs service. For qualified low income families in Houston and Harris County, they may receive assistance with a number of needs. There are vouchers for free gasoline or prescription medications, food, grants to pay rent or utility bills (including water), and more.
Northwest Assistance Ministries also coordinates other employment and education services for clients. The onsite learning center will offer English as a Second Language or GED classes. The non-profit will also focus on providing help to senior citizens and operates a community clinic in Harris County.
Any financial aid from the Emergency Basic Needs Program begins with an assessment by a trained volunteer to evaluate the applicant’s needs. After this is done, if qualified, they will be referred with appropriate services. Programs may include food; bus tokens; non-narcotic prescription medications; school supplies; vouchers for gasoline; or gently used clothing. There is also limited financial help, or short term loans, for rent, housing or mortgage payments. There may also be funds to pay for utility bills, including electric, water, and cooling. Last, but not least, NAM offers free holiday food and toys in Houston.
For the convenience of residents from the region, NAM also houses a number of other government or non-profit programs. They include the Harris County Social Services Satellite, (phone 713-696-7900). There are also Community Outreach Specialists available for SNAP food stamps benefits. Call 281-583-5600. Other government programs include SSDI disability applications.
Programs are offered for the thousands of homeless in Houston. Families made up of young women and children or single parents comprise the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population in Harris County.
These individuals or families are encouraged to turn to the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) for help. This is operated as a highly successful collaboration between area congregations of faith, NAM, and churches. IHN provides short-term shelter and free meals for homeless families.
At Northwest Assistance Ministries or Interfaith Hospitality Network, homeless families are given the opportunity to take shelter in a safe environment. This will allow them to time to acquire new skills, regaining their self-confidence and considering a new approach to managing their lives. Nights are spent at shelters run by the 15+ congregations or churches that provide support for the program. All of these aspects and local churches or charities work together to help families move ahead and pursue a productive, independent and self-sufficient life.
SEA, or the Shelter and Energy Assistance Program, can offer financial help. It also goes by the name of the Housing Services Program, or HSP. It works hand-in-hand with the Emergency Basic Needs Program (referenced above) under the collective name of NAM Assistance.
The Housing Services segment works to prevents homelessness among veterans in Harris County Texas by providing financial assistance with paying rent, mortgage, or security deposit funds. The program also assists families who are currently homeless with navigating a return to self-sufficiency. Call 281-885-4531.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as the Supportive Housing Program from NAM provide rent and housing subsidies and support services to homeless or low income families. Applicants must participate in interviews in order to apply for an emergency grant from Supportive Housing.
Emergency Food and Shelter provides at most one month’s mortgage or rent payment for Harris County residents who cannot make payments on their own due to a sudden unexpected reduction in income or paid emergency expense. There are no income requirements in place for this, however the goal is to stop evictions in the county. However clients must agree to be legally responsible for payment, and loans may be issued in some cases.
The Food bank relies on donations from area congregations, markets, schools, community groups, families, and individuals. All of this, and more, make it possible for the Joanne Watford Nutrition Center to provide free food for residents who qualify.
Using these donations, volunteers stock shelves, sort donations and assemble bags of groceries that are selected based on each recipients nutritional needs. The Center also provides groceries or meals on a monthly basis to low-income seniors or the disabled in the region. This is offered as part of the Senior Food Program.
Meals on Wheels from Northwest Assistance Ministries extends NAM’s services to provide assistance to the homebound, including seniors, the elderly and those who are ill and disabled. The MOW program provides balanced meals that are delivered directly to clients’ homes each weekday or on a weekend in some cases. Additionally, program volunteers and drivers deliver once-a-month supplies of groceries through the Senior Food Program.
These low cost or maybe free hot, nutritious meals contribute to overall good health and keep some clients out of long term care facilities. Not only is hunger addressed, but volunteer drivers often provide a link to the outside world for a good number of clients. For those with additional needs, referrals are made to appropriate agencies by MOW coordinators, such as SNAP food stamps or Medicare for seniors.
The programs is operated as part of the Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston as well as the Houston/Harris County Area Agency on Aging network. The program is also funded in part by government grants that are issued by the Harris County Community Services Department Offices of Housing and Community Development.
Senior Centers offer a wide array of health, food, nutritional and recreational services to seniors and their spouses in the northwest Houston area. This is also part of the aging services.
The non-profit NAM also provides programs that benefit the area’s children, such as the Children’s Clinic. This coordinates free quality medical care to infants and children through the age of eighteen. Nurses, a medical assistant, doctors, support staff, and volunteers work as a team to provide a full range of medical services, ranging from preventative to acute care, with the child’s overall health, nutrition, and home environment taken into consideration. These community clinic services are available to families with children who have Medicaid, who are self-pay/uninsured, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or even those with private insurance.
The Back-to-School Project assists low income families in Houston and the county by providing basic school supplies and age-appropriate gifts through the Holiday Project. Most of the items are free, or vouchers may be used in some cases.
The Family Violence Center, or FVC, provides the resources to help clients find safe shelter in Houston. It is also backed up with support services that enable them to discover new paths and begin again. FVC services from Northwest Assistance Ministries include a professional counseling services for adults and their children, telephone crisis counseling, emergency shelter or food, clothing, transportation, medical bill assistance, community outreach, referrals to intervention programs, free legal referrals, and court accompaniment if needed. Call 281-885-4673 for intake.
The Educational and Learning Center provides services to Houston residents, either free of charge or at a reduced cost. The center offers classes in topics such as English as a Second Language (ESL), reading and writing literacy, General Educational Development test preparation, credit counseling and financial literacy.
Seminars on other topics are offered by the NAM learning center. They touch upon looking for work, applications for US Citizenship/Naturalization, legal issues, and many computer classes. NAM also collaborates with the Spring Independent School District’s Even Start Program to provide free educational sessions for entire families.
Those are the main programs available from NAM - Northwest Assistance Ministries. However staff may be able to offer other help as well. 15555 Kuykendahl, Houston, TX 77090, dial 281-583-5600.
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