Learn More About the Other Side of Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority
At the Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority (PMHA), we are dedicated to meeting the housing needs of low-income families and individuals of Portage County by developing, managing and supporting decent, affordable housing in cooperation with community partners.
That’s our mission—but did you know we also provide additional services to our community? We aim to take care of our residents beyond basic housing needs to fill in the gaps and help them improve their quality of life. We run a farmer’s market and contribute winter coats and school supplies to children in need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have supported families and individuals who need help with care packages and, as always, confidential, compassionate listening.
Read on to learn more about the other side of PMHA!
For families experiencing food insecurity, it can be difficult to find a farmers market near me. The PMHA markets bring fresh produce and food to their residents for free. PMHA Farmers’ Markets are sponsored by the housing authority and organized by Resident Services. Various local vendors and PMHA staff donate produce, baked goods, and other items. Residents can then ‘shop’ from the items, free of charge.
This year, PMHA’s farmers markets looked different due to COVID-19. Food insecurity is never easy to manage, but this year, it has been especially challenging. To aid our residents in need of assistance, PMHA provided porch drop-offs of free food packages to households experiencing food insecurity. In addition, we partnered with various organizations, including The Campus Kitchen at Kent State, the Walls Community Garden, LoveLight, Inc., and local food pantries including Kent Social Services and The Salvation Army.
Thanks to our partners, food-insecure residents gained access to a rich variety of free food, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, bread, and desserts. Children received free summer lunches, plus snacks and dinners during the fall.
PMHA’s picnics give residents an opportunity to enjoy food and refreshments while learning about programs and services available to them. Our picnics incorporate the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Strong Families Initiative, bringing together whole families and making them stronger through bonding activities and the resources promoted at the picnic. It’s also a great opportunity for staff, property management, maintenance staff, and residents to get to know each other better in a fun, casual environment.
We aim to hold a cookout at each family site at least once per year. The picnics are staffed by agency employees and organized by Resident Services.
Help From PMHA
Since 2009, PMHA has set up a Giving Tree in the office lobby every winter. The tree contains hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, earmuffs, small blankets, and winter coats for low-income families. These winter weather supplies are donated by PMHA staff, local organizations, and community members. Residents are able to take what they need from the tree free of charge.
This year, the Giving Tree went virtual! Section 8 participants and Public Housing residents in need can contact the PMHA office or their Housing Specialists to arrange a socially-distanced pickup day and time.
Donations of new or handmade items from our community help keep the Giving Tree stocked throughout the colder months. Reach out to PMHA to donate winter coats or other supplies. Last winter, PMHA provided over 1,000 items from the Giving Tree to our residents.
When school starts in the fall, many children find themselves in need of school supplies. Every child deserves an equal chance for success in school, but without the necessary supplies, they can feel unprepared or fall behind.
Each fall, the PMHA community comes together to donate school supplies for children who may otherwise not be able to access school supplies. In 2020, we received generous school supply donations from a young girl in the community who organized her own lemonade stand and from staff at the Community Action Council.
During the Pandemic
This year has been extra difficult for families and individuals who already experience food and financial insecurity. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PMHA has done our best to look out for the wellbeing of our program participants and community members.
We have distributed care packages to all of our Section 8 and Public Housing program participants. Care packages included hand sanitizer and a cloth facemask for each family member to help families stay safe and protect others. In addition to COVID-19 packages, we replaced our farmers’ market programming with porch drop-off food packages.
We Hear Your Story
The staff at PMHA genuinely cares about the wellbeing and livelihood of each of our program participants. We are here to listen without judgement to provide the most effective help possible. We keep sensitive information safe and private, so you can trust us to help you confidentially.
Contact PMHA for Questions
If you’d like to learn more about PMHA, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re here to provide information and answer your questions. Let us know how we can help.