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MIFA now operates city’s homeless hotline

(October 1, 2015) — In collaboration with the City of Memphis and its Community Alliance for the Homeless, MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) is now operating the Emergency Housing Partnership Homeless Hotline for families with children. The new hotline number is (901) 529-4545.

Under MIFA’s management, the hotline will operate 24 hours, seven days a week, excluding holidays. The service was launched at MIFA’s midtown headquarters on September 15, the nonprofit organization’s 47th birthday. 

“This is the perfect birthday gift to the community,” said Sally Jones Heinz, MIFA’s executive director. “We look forward to serving callers through the hotline in our continuing effort to reduce the community’s homelessness rate in the years to come.”

Callers will be provided phone-based screening to determine whether the family is or is about to become homeless according to HUD’s definition. Homeless families will be instructed in how to access shelter or rapid rehousing services. 

In two weeks of operation MIFA has received 378 calls, of those calls:
  • 410 adults and 696 children were represented 
  • Over 61% of callers reported staying with family, friends, or in their own home and are not literally homeless 
  • 16% of the callers were an adult-only household and were referred to singles shelters 
  • 7% of all callers needed immediate emergency shelter assistance and were referred to the MIFA Emergency Shelter Placement program for further screening 
  • 9% of calls were during nights and weekends; of those 3 families need emergency shelter placement 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this essential service to the community, and we’re proud of our strong partnership with the City of Memphis,” Heinz said. “This new opportunity speaks to the high quality of our staff and programs.”

The hotline should be a seamless fit with MIFA’s other emergency assistance programs for families, which include serving as the city’s screening agency for emergency shelter placement for homeless families with children and rapid rehousing program.

MIFA will use a community database, CoactionNet, to track calls, services provided, family outcomes, and program impact. The information gathered will help future decision making about the continuum of care for the Memphis homeless population.

The hotline was established in 2009 with federal stimulus funds and sustained through contributions from the city’s department of Housing and Community Development.

Posted by Ellen Whitten at 11:13 AM