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Financial help from Mercy House in Rockingham and Harrisonburg.

The poor and low income in the Harrisonburg Virginia area can get help from Mercy House. They only support the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Augusta and Rockingham and Augusta counties. The charity does administer a number of programs in the community, but a particular focus is on assisting the homeless, very low income, and families facing imminent eviction. They operate numerous programs to tackle poverty and prevent or reverse homelessness. Some of the primary resources in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County region are below.

Housing programs from Mercy House

A shelter is on site for families. Guests also can access case management services and transitional housing. Case managers are also assisting homeless persons and families with rehousing assistance, including applying for security deposit or rental assistance.

The charity is involved in providing temporary rent and cash assistance to people in financial crisis. Mercy House also provides for or arranges for other emergency needs. This can be dental care, prescription eyeglass lenses, medical care, driving lessons, job training through Massanutten Technical Center and Blue Ridge Community College, psychotherapy, GED preparatory classes and exams. While more limited, there may be free gasoline vouchers and maybe even has an occasional car.

Grants that are for paying rent or that are part of Rehousing and Homeless Prevention are sometimes available to those that are behind on their housing obligations or that are homeless. The aid is for those who currently live in unsafe, uninhabitable environments or shelters. In addition, they may have limited cash assistance for paying back rent or for those that are faced with imminent eviction. Read more below. A formal screening process is in place, and dial (540) 271-1701.

Most of this aid is part of the HPP, or Homeless Prevention Program. They offer short term rental assistance to low-income households or those that are at imminent risk of homelessness. Funds or loans for paying a security deposit may also be for Harrisonburg families that have located permanent housing.

Those qualified for the HPP program have the potential to receive additional financial assistance including arrearages or help for back rent. During this timeframe of working to prevent an eviction, clients are given an opportunity to improve earnings, work on their financial literacy and to save money so that they will be able to pay for housing on their own in the future.




Applicants need to meet income limits, be faced with imminent eviction, and also be out of all other options. So any support from Mercy House is a last resort only. They also can’t currently reside in subsidized or section 8 housing.

Many government cash assistance and grant programs can help paying housing costs too. They are funded by the state or the federal government. Everything from apartment rent to mortgage help for foreclosure, or grants for paying energy or heating bills, may be offered. Mercy House is a place to learn about these options. Read more on Virginia public assistance for the low income.

Social services, case management. and free assistance programs

An After School Program is only for families with children that reside at the Mercy House Shelter. It is offered to school-aged children enrolled in the Rockingham County or Harrisonburg School Systems.  It is mostly run by volunteers from various universities and colleges in the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, including Bridgewater, Eastern Mennonite University, and James Madison University.

A Daycare is also on site for Mercy House clients. It offers emotional, education, and other support to children. Games and activities are held for children as well. This assistance for child or after school care is only for existing clients of the charity.

Self-Sufficiency Assistance for Ex-residents, or SAFE, is for formerly homeless families. It is a form of transitional housing and case management that is meant to address the long term issues of homelessness and evictions in the region. It is run in partnership with local non-profits and the Harrisonburg/Rockingham United Way.





It is ongoing with monthly sessions. They cover issues such as employment, the best ways to pay rent, medical needs, and job training. The objective is to break the cycle of low income and homelessness in the local community, and social workers try to tackle that issues.

A clothing closet and Thrift Store is also at the Mercy House. The location is 1005 S. High St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801, telephone (540) 433-3272. This will sell gently used goods to the general public, such as clothing, furniture, and related items. The money raised goes to fund the various shelter, financial assistance, and other programs offered.

Applications and getting help

The main office is at 247 N High St, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22802. Call (540) 432-1812 for information on services.


By Jon McNamara











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