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Organizations Aimed at Helping Others Need Some Help

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


There are several organizations in Oxford whose missions are to help people in a variety of ways – from assisting with food insecurity to providing funds for utility payments.

And sometimes, those same organizations need help too so they can continue to help others.

Interfaith Compassion Ministry serves as one of Oxford’s main crisis resources for homeless and indigent residents of Lafayette County. With Executive Director Lena Wiley at the helm, ICM provides assistance with food, shelter, utilities, medications and transportation.

ICM relies on donations from people and other groups, like the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County, to provide the services it does.

However, with a strained economy, donations are down and the number of people needing help are up.

ICM often is able to prevent homelessness by helping people with rent to avoid eviction. Lately, Wiley said, more and more “truly homeless” people are reaching out for help.

 “I am seeing seven or eight homeless people a week,” Wiley said. “That’s not people who might be homeless soon. These people have nowhere to go. The shelters in Tupelo are full. Everything is full.”

Wiley said the biggest issue for many in Lafayette County has been the cost of rent going up.

“It’s been exceedingly high,” she said. “A lot of people are working but they just don’t make enough or get enough hours to cover these rents people are charging.”

Wiley said calls from area police departments are increasing as well.

“I get calls from them at night,” Wiley said. “I’ve been having a hard time just putting people in a room because they’re filled. The ones who we work with, haven’t had space for all of the homeless we’ve been seeing.”

To make a donation to ICM, mail it to ICM, 1918 University Ave., Oxford MS, or drop it off at the ICM office in the Oxford East Shopping Center.

Mary Margaret Andrews, director of Doors for Hope in Oxford, said calls for assistance have been steadily increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020.

“We saw a slight decrease in the spring but now the calls are coming in daily.”

Doors of Hope helps families who get evicted to find a new home or help to keep them in their current homes when possible.

“The calls we receive are from families who are at risk of eviction,” Andrews said. “After the moratorium on evictions was lifted, we definitely saw an increase in need. There is no longer CARES money available to help us assist families and RAMP is running out of funds.”

For more information or to make a donation to Doors of Hope, visit www.doorsofhopeoxford.org.

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