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Aldermen approve $32K matching donation to Interfaith Compassion Ministries

Interfaith Compassion Ministries helps low-income families in Lafayette County throughout the year, providing help with rent, utility payments, medications and more. Supported by local churches, ICM relies heavily on private donations.

Recently, ICM took on the job of being the main fundraising and handling organization to assist Riverside Place residents with necessary deposits and costs associated with moving.

With most of ICM’s fundraising efforts being directed at helping Riverside residents, funds to allow ICM to continue helping other Oxford and Lafayette County residents could easily get depleted.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen approved donating $32,500 to ICM in matching funds.

ICM will have to match the donation dollar-for-dollar in funds that the organization raises.

“We want to make sure our partnership with ICM with us in assisting Riverside residents does not deplete their ability to continue their work in all other aspects,” said Alderman Robyn Tannehill, who made the motion that was approved unanimously.

There are few situations when municipalities can donate funds. The funds cannot be earmarked for a specific purpose and must be granted to a social and community program that will provide matching funds.

The public housing complex, operated by the Oxford Housing Authority through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, sent out letters in February 2016, to roughly 90 tenants informing them the contract with the city of Oxford would not be extended. It ran out Feb. 28.

Riverside residents are in the process now of moving or finding a place to live, whether in Oxford, Lafayette County or another state. OHA will issue a voucher to landlords to pay the residents’ rent, as long as they continue to meet the financial requirements of OHA.

While the vouchers will pay their rent, many of the residents need assistance in paying deposits to move into their new homes, as well as utility deposits.

ICM has raised about $21,000 so far to help with the deposits; however, ICM board members have said it will take about $65,000 to help all 90 families.