Our Programs for Families

Our Programs for Families

MIFA’s family programs provide basic services to prevent homelessness, stabilize families, and encourage independence.

Emergency Services

Emergency Services assists seniors on fixed incomes and the working poor who have experienced temporary crisis which results in the inability to pay for rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and food.

Clients living in Shelby County may be eligible for assistance every two years after proving a crisis occurred within the last 90 days. Eligibility is not based on income, but preference is given to those off work for medical reasons. Assistance is dependent upon the availability of funds. Apply online by clicking here.

Applicants must provide picture identification for all adults, Social Security cards for the household, verification of children’s ages, proof of address, proof of loss or crisis such as a lay-off notice, proof of household income, the household’s utility cut-off notice or late rent or mortgage notice. Applicants must provide proof that they can cover the remainder of the bill. Losses of employment benefits or reduction in hours are not qualifying reasons for MIFA assistance.

After your online application has been completed you will be contacted by a MIFA representative within 5 to 7 business days to continue the application process. All documents will be verified prior to final approval for assistance. Any documentation found to be fraudulent or non-verifiable will be grounds for disqualification for assistance. If any documents are determined to be falsified, the applicant will be deemed ineligible for MIFA Emergency Services assistance for a period of 12 months.


Of the 7,769 unduplicated requests for assistance our Emergency Services program received in FY19, we were able to provide utility, rent, and mortgage assistance for 2,903 eligible families representing 3,222 adults and 1,301 children. 

  • 93.98% of sampled clients still had active utility connections three months after receiving assistance, and 95.18% were still connected after six months.

Contact us

Eligibility requirements  |  (901) 527-0226

Phyllis Phillips, Program Director  |  (901) 529-4583  |  pphillips@mifa.org

Dorothy Tuggle, Receptionist  |  (901) 529-4533  |  dtuggle@mifa.org

Helpful links for job-seekers: Memphis Public Library JobLINC  |  MPLIC Reference Highway

Food Pantry Assistance

MIFA partners with congregations across the city to provide food pantry services for individuals and families in crisis. The Emergency Services department screens clients for eligibility and provides vouchers that can be redeemed for non-perishable food at the participating pantry nearest the client’s home.

Households in Shelby County may be eligible for food pantry vouchers which are redeemed at an assigned food pantry. Vouchers are provided at MIFA, 910 Vance Ave. Monday-Friday (except holidays) from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Food pantries are often operated by volunteers and stocked with donated food items. Pantries provide non-perishable items, such as canned fruits, vegetables, and soups, as well as dry goods such as pasta, rice, beans, and cereal. The pantries strive to provide three-five meals per person list on the voucher. The amount of food provided and the variety of food offered depends upon the items in stock. Pantries typically do not have items for special diets.

To receive food assistance, applicants are asked to provide picture identification for all adults, verification of the Social Security numbers for the household members, age of the children, and verification of address. Documents are to be presented with each application for a food voucher. Households are eligible for four vouchers per year, with requests for each voucher at least five days apart. Vouchers are assigned to a food pantry as close as possible to the applicant’s address and are to be redeemed on the date and time indicated.

In FY19, MIFA distributed 11,293 food vouchers to 5,822 families.

Contact us

Onetha SullivanFood Pantry Coordinator: (901) 529-4581 | osullivan@mifa.org


Emergency Shelter Placement

This program helps families with minor children secure temporary shelter if homelessness cannot be avoided through mediation.

Shelby County families with minor children who meet HUD’s definition of literal homelessness and have no other resources to prevent homelessness may be eligible for placement if shelter is available. 

Click here for more information and to complete an online application for shelter placement.


  • In FY19, Emergency Shelter Placement screened 2,286 families for services and determined that 1,056 were literally homeless. Of those, 298 were served through mediation and diversion and 632 — representing 506 adults and 1,145 children  — were referred to shelters, 583 to MIFA’s Rapid Rehousing program, and 281 to other services.

Contact us

Stephanie Williams, Emergency Housing Program Director  |  swilliams@mifa.org  |  (901) 529-4522 

Fax (901) 529-4500

Homeless Hotline

This 24-hour hotline helps connect homeless families with minor children in Memphis and Shelby County to shelter and/or other resources.

In FY19, the 24-hour Homeless Hotline screened 7,591 calls from an estimated 4,705 callers representing 5,001 adults and 6,667 children.

Contact us

24-Hour Hotline  |  (901) 529-4545


Rapid Rehousing

This program helps eligible homeless families quickly obtain permanent stable housing.

Shelby County families with minor children who meet HUD’s definition of literal homelessness and have no other resources to secure housing may be eligible for assistance if funds are available. 


  •  In FY19, the Rapid Rehousing program connected 319 families representing 360 adults and 857 children with permanent, stable housing.
  • When surveyed, 98.96% of MIFA Rapid Rehousing clients reported that they were able to get the services they thought they needed through the program, and 97.92% felt that the program helped them deal with their needs more effectively.

We collect information about who accesses our services. When we meet with you we will ask you for information about you and your family and enter it into a computer program called the Memphis/Shelby County Continuum of Care Management Information System (MSCCOC_MIS). Although MSCCOC_MIS helps us to keep track of your information, individually identifiable information about you is considered “Protected Information”. We are required to protect the privacy of your identifying information and to give you notice about how, when, and why we may use or disclose any information you may give us. We are also required to follow the privacy practices described in this notice, although we reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this notice at any time. You may request a copy of the new notice from any MSCCOC_MIS Agency. We use and disclose collective information for a variety of reports. 

We have a limited right to include some of your information for reports on homelessness and services needed by those who are homeless. Information that could be used to tell who you are will never be used for these reports. We will not turn your information over to a national database. For uses beyond reports, we must have your written consent unless the law permits or requires us to make the use or disclosure without your consent. Please review the Client Informed Consent/Release of Information Authorization for details. You must sign this form before we can use your information, but you do not have to sign the form in order to receive services.