Neighborhood House programs expand

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published July 23, 2013

ROCHESTER HILLS — More than 6 percent of city residents live below the poverty line. Neighborhood House officials want to give those residents a helping hand.

“We’ve been really growing and changing over the past few years,” said Linda Riggs, Rochester Area Neighborhood House executive director, at a July 15 presentation to the Rochester Hills City Council.

“We were created in 1968, so we’ve been around for over 45 years,” Riggs said. “Our goal is to help our neighbors who are struggling financially — to help families in the long term, not just with a crisis they are having, but to help them move to self-sufficiency, so they don’t have to keep coming back to us or other agencies for services.”

The nonprofit organization provides clothing, food, financial assistance, counseling and transportation to residents in Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Auburn Hills and Addison Township.

The Clothes Closet, located at 44 Mill St. in Rochester, offers new and gently used clothing, coats, blankets and linens to families and individuals who demonstrate a need. A financial assistance Neighborhood House program acts as a conduit to help with utility bills, rent and car repairs.

Counseling is provided for low-income families and individuals, who can receive five free sessions for crisis intervention, marriage, divorce, depression, anxiety and stress. A Neighborhood House handicap accessible van provides transportation to medical and social service appoints within a 15-mile radius, while coordinating with other local transportation services.

“You do a fantastic job and have a fantastic reputation,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said.

Rochester Hills Council member Michael Webber agreed. “We really appreciate all the work you do in our community.”

“We are seeing an economic rebound, but we are still seeing our numbers rise,” Riggs said. “The phrase I hear the most is, ‘I never thought I would have to come someplace like this for help.’ That is what we are here for. We want them to not feel ashamed to walk through those doors, and know that they can walk out with some additional skills and talent.”

For more information about Neighborhood House services or volunteer opportunities, call (248) 651-5836.