North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO) is available to assist federal employees living in the agency’s service area who are furloughed or working without pay. A nonprofit serving local families facing crisis, hardship and poverty, NHCO serves nearly 50 communities in northern Allegheny County (north of the City of Pittsburgh) through more than 20 programs.
Federal employees who live in NHCO’s service area may receive emergency food or use its food pantries. Food pantry use is decided by zip code. The person needs to demonstrate that they are a federal employee by showing a federal ID card, paycheck or other proof of federal employment.
“We have already begun receiving calls from furloughed or unpaid federal employees who are struggling to put food on the table,” said Amber Deemer, coordinator of NHCO’s three food pantries, which serve more than 600 families each month. “We have and will continue to serve federal employees with food as long as the shutdown continues.”
For all other types of assistance, NHCO’s regular income and eligibility guidelines apply. A federal employee seeking NHCO’s services should show proof that he or she lives in NHCO’s service area of northern Allegheny County north of the city of Pittsburgh, and that without his or her salary the total household income from other members of the household qualifies the family for services. For example, if the federal employee makes $40,000 a year, and the spouse who is not a federal employee remakes $40,000 a year, their household income would be $40,000 for eligibility purposes. NHCO’s programs have various eligibility guidelines.
“The stress and implications of missing a paycheck can be extremely difficult and far reaching,” noted Sharon Wolf, NHCO’s executive director. “It does not take long for a precarious financial situation to snowball. The shutdown’s unknown timeframe adds an extremely stressful element of uncertainty for the federal employees. NHCO exists to assist community members in times of crisis and hardship, and to alleviate some of the financial burden.”
In addition to food, some NHCO programs include utility assistance to avoid a shut off, emergency financial assistance, funds for transportation assistance such as car repairs, gas cards and bus passes, employment assistance, free legal consultations for noncriminal matters, and sharing projects such as coats, school supplies, spring cleaning items and more.
Anyone with questions may call NHCO’s main office at 412-487-6316 option 1, 9:00am through 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. Information about programs is also available on the nonprofit’s website at nhco.org.
Assistance is available depending on available funds. NHCO receives nearly all of its food and sharing project items from community donations. Approximately 50% of funds for programs are donated by individuals, businesses, civic groups, congregations and schools.
The agency three offices operates three offices located in Hampton, Millvale and Bellevue, an organic garden in Bellevue, and a Free Rides for Shuttles office based in Fox Chapel. In fiscal year 2017-18, NHCO assisted 3,486 families in need toward stability and self-sufficiency by providing 30,443 services and $1,002,453 in funds, goods and services as well as information, support and advocacy. NHCO offers more than 20 programs ranging from emergency services to long-term solutions that help families regain self-sufficiency. For more information, please visit www.nhco.org or call 412-487-6316 option 1.