Royal Oak Youth Assistance Helping Families with Emergency Needs

Royal Oak Youth Assistance Helping Families with Emergency Needs

(Lara Mossa, April 8, 2020)

Royal Oak, MI  – Royal Oak Youth Assistance has raised more than $6,000 to provide emergency services for children and families in the area.

“We pretty quickly came to a consensus that right now the emergency needs program is a pressing need,” said Sam Lynch, President of the Board for the Royal Oak- based nonprofit group. “These are difficult times. It’s the most important thing we’re doing right now by far. We are able to help people and will continue to do as much as we can.”

A branch of the Oakland County Youth Assistance, the Royal Oak organization has a variety of programs to support kids and their families. Through a joint venture of Royal Oak Schools, the local court system and the county, the volunteer group raises money to send children to camps, pay for music lessons, provide mentoring activities and a youth recognition program, among others.

But now, with the economic onslaught of the Coronavirus, the organization has turned its focus to helping low-income families meet their basic needs. Typically, Royal Oak Youth Assistance gears its programming to youth ages 17 years old and younger as well as families that fall within the federal guidelines for poverty. With the growing need in the community, that has changed.

“There are a lot of families that don’t fall under the poverty threshold, but their worlds have been turned upside down,” Lynch said. “They’ve lost their jobs – particularly in the last month.”

Local residents who are living paycheck to paycheck or lost their jobs can apply for grants to contribute to groceries, gas, rent and other services. In previous years, the organization would provide a couple of hundred dollars a month in grants for emergency needs. At the end of last week, the group had provided almost $3,000 in grants, which is eight or 10 times the average amount given, Lynch explained.

Besides funding from the county, schools and the city – along with the youth assistance fund-raising events – the Royal Oak Foundation for Public Education provided $6,000 toward this service. Two part-time employees, a case worker and an administrative assistant who work for Royal Oak Youth Assistance, are administering the grants. People interested in applying can call (248) 219-6502.

More than 50 years old, Royal Oak Youth Assistance has about a dozen Board members and is an offshoot of a national organization. For more information, go to www.royaloakyouthassistance.com.

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