Programs assist residents in need

Resources include housing, energy, food bank, job assistance



Linda Nickles, Moscow Food Bank director, talks about the role she and her organization play for the impoverished in the Palouse at Family Promise.

KHADIJAH BUTLER, Evergreen reporter

Local action groups have collaborated to provide resources for anyone experiencing food insecurity, domestic violence, need for housing assistance, or are in danger of becoming homeless.

Pullman has one of the highest rates of people living in poverty in Washington. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the rate is about 37.5 percent.

Jeff Tietjen, Community Action Center senior housing coordinator, said the center aids families, individuals over the age of 18, people with disabilities and senior citizens.

He said the Poverty Awareness Task Force always looks to improve the ways they can serve members of the community in need.

The center provides thrift shop vouchers, access to food banks, local emergency transportation and information to receive subsidized housing through Section 8 and Rapid Re-Housing programs, Tietjen said.

Low-income individuals and senior citizens can apply to The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to receive help to pay energy bill costs during the winter months.

The center also has limited funding for emergency housing in motels for those in immediate need of shelter. The only hindrance are football games, Tietjen said.

Every hotel and motel from Colfax to Lewiston is booked out for each of the home game weekends, not only for WSU but also University of Idaho athletic events. Because the center has limited funds for emergency housing, they are unable to provide the services to families in need during those weekends.

The Community Action Center also has representatives in its office from Apple Health Medicaid and Work Service to assist people. They can also answer any questions about applying for government assistance programs and provide transportation to appointments.

Janine Rivera, interim executive director, said Family Promise of the Palouse is an emergency homeless shelter that services families in the Whitman and Latah counties.

“It doesn’t have to just to be a mom and dad. It can be a single parent, it can also be foster parents,” Rivera said. “The idea of family looks very different and we service a lot of individuals.”

Family Promise has a 90-day program that creates action plans for each family. Zoila Mendez helps create action plans. Family promise provides shelter, and help families seek childcare or schooling and apply for employment, government assistance or both.

The program has a center where families can stay during the day and have access to home-like amenities. This includes laundry facilities, fully stocked kitchens, a nursery, showers and hot meals. Families can also visit the center to fill out applications, meet with their case managers and go over action plans.

Rivera said single individuals in danger of becoming homeless can still receive advice and information on community resources.

Family Promise is also partnered with congregations in the community such as St. Vincent de Paul and St. Mary’s to provide shelter to the families in the program.

St. Mary’s not only houses families, but also has a food bank open to everyone in and outside the community. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 2-4 p.m.

They see almost every demographic, said Linda Nickles, who helps organize and set up the food bank. This includes families, students and anyone who is experiencing homelessness. She said she delivers food to those that are unable to physically go to the food bank, like senior citizens or people with disabilities.

The St. Marys’ food bank does not offer hot meals, however PNW Halal Meats serves fresh hot meals to those in need, every Wednesday and Sunday from 1-8 p.m. They are assisted by The Pullman Islamic Association and the Community Action Center.