Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association assistance programs.

The non-profit Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association provides long term and emergency services. The charity organization will focus on several different needs, such as short term mortgage, utility, and rent assistance. Another key need in Shelby County is for food, and the two main programs include vouchers to buy groceries as well as Meals on Wheels for Senior citizens. This resources, and many more such as College Offers Opportunities for Life, are administered by MIFA.

Seniors living on fixed incomes (such as a pension) and the working poor who are coping with temporary crises are the key recipients of Emergency Services. This is when MIFA can help with housing costs, such as rent or a mortgage payment. There may also be grants available for utility or water bill payments.

While eligibility for any funds is not based just on income level, those individuals with children who are unable to work due to medical issues are given priority. Shelby County residents may be eligible for financial help from Emergency Services every two years, provided that they are able to document a crisis within the past 90 days. Resources for expenses such as rent are limited, so funding issued will factor in that as well.

Households may be eligible for food assistance from MIFA as well. When qualified, there may be up to four free food vouchers issued per year, with at least one week between requests. Vouchers provided to a low income family are redeemable for non-perishable items at the food bank closest to the applicant's address in Memphis Tennessee. Or learn about other free food pantries in Memphis.

There is additional assistance for tenants in cases where homelessness due to a foreclosure or eviction is unavoidable. First, mediation is explored. Then even after mediation, the MIFA Emergency Shelter Placement Program provides secure, temporary housing for Shelby County families. To be eligible for placement into the shelter, families must meet the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) definition of literal homelessness and have no other resources to prevent homelessness. This is focused on homes with single parents and/or minor children.





Combined with the shelter is Rapid Rehousing in Memphis Tennessee. This financial aid program provides support and assistance to eligible homeless individuals or families in need of stable, permanent housing. Eligibility requirements for a cash grant from rehousing include residing in Shelby County Tennessee;  fulfilling HUD requirements for literal homelessness; having family members who are minors; and being without resources necessary to avoid becoming homeless.

College Offers Opportunities for Life provides students from Booker T. Washington as well as GW Carver High Schools with higher education counseling. COOL will also arrange for ACT preparation, applications to loans to pay for school costs, and assistance with the college admissions process, to help ensure that they are ready to begin college and achieve long term academic success.

MIFA will give priority to male applicants. To apply for COOL, the applicant will need to submit a most recent report card, Show proof of a low income, be a first-generation college student, meet GPA levels, and satisfy other request.

MIFA Senior care

Seniors can enroll into the MIFA Meals on Wheels and Congregate Meals Programs. This will help ensure that the disabled as well as elderly in the county are provided with free hot, nutritious meals. Staff members from Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association delivers meals directly to the homes of Shelby County seniors who are unable to leave due to illness or disability. The service has been awarded the highest possible accreditation conferred by Meals on Wheels America.

The second part of this, the congregate, or group meals, are served at noon each weekdays at dozens of locations in the county. Participants in this must be nutritionally at-risk seniors, meet low income levels, aged 60 and over, who reside in Shelby County. Volunteers serve seniors, and to learn more, call the Aging Commission of the Mid-South at 901-222-4111.

Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association Transit Service transports seniors to and from pharmacies, doctors’ appointments, banks, government agencies, and congregate meal sites. Hundreds of rides are given per month for a low cost. To be eligible for transportation, participants are required to be in need for transportation for medical, nutritional, aged 60 and over, or need access to counseling purposes.

MIFA Senior Companion Program gives low-income, able Shelby County seniors the opportunity to help their less able, homebound, disabled, or critically ill peers. To qualify, the applicant must be disabled or over the age of 55, live on a low income, and submit a request for help.

The companion will help the client with daily tasks and activities. This program benefits the volunteer and the senior client, as well as providing family caregivers or the nurse providing support with regular, much-needed breaks. Local non-profit agencies, including the Veterans Administration,  Memphis Housing Authority, Plough Towers, and Church Health Center refer residents to this.




Seniors living in care facilities, such as a nursing home, can enroll into the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Volunteers help clients across Shelby, Lauderdale, Fayette, and nearby Tipton county. Outreach includes applications to health care and also staff and volunteers mediate complaints. They will also monitor residents’ care and quality of life, and provide public education for clients.

When applying for help from Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association, various conditions need to be met. They include applicants should bring picture of identification for all adults, information on joss or crisis, such as a lay-off notice, Verification of children’s ages, Proof of household income, and more. The main address is 910 Vance Ave., Memphis, TN 38126, dial 901-527-0208.


By Jon McNamara

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