Neighborhood House (legally Rochester Area Neighborhood House Inc.) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Neighborhood House was established in 1968 by a consortium of 8 churches. Each church provided $200 to begin the treasury and the office was located on Romeo Road in the City of Rochester. The main purpose of the organization was to provide the opportunity for families undergoing financial problems to meet with various social service agencies in Oakland County.
By 1972, Neighborhood House was incorporated and hired an office manager. Programs were developed with Rochester Community Schools and other agencies, providing food stamp distribution, loaning of medical equipment and volunteer transportation. Administrative offices were located on the St. Andrew Catholic Church campus.
At the same time, a Food Pantry was established at the First Congregational Church. Client families were referred from Neighborhood House to the Food Pantry for food orders. The Food Pantry program has grown over the years as has the number of clients and the need.
The Clothes Closet of Neighborhood House has a long history dating back to 1937 when Lyle ‘Red’ Knapp, a volunteer firefighter, set out to help families who lost their belongings to fire or experienced extreme tragedy. With the help of the Inter-Church women and Red Knapp, the Clothes Closet expanded and moved from basements, garages and railroad cars to its current location today at 44 Mill Street.
In January of 1992, a new Clothes Closet building opened for business. It was a gift from an ad hoc group called the “Citizens of Rochester Committee.” The building was built with volunteers and donated materials and became a permanent Clothes Closet location.
In 1996, Oakland Township presented Neighborhood House with a van to be used to transport clients to essential appointments. The van was purchased with Community Development Block Grant funds. Oakland Township repeated this support in 2004 by purchasing a van to replace the earlier donation.
Beginning in 2007, Neighborhood House began searching for an alternate location for administrative offices as St. Andrews Catholic Church was planning changes in the structures on their Inglewood campus. The economic downturn put the St. Andrews plans on hold but the search continued for a new location with higher visibility and additional space to accommodate expanded programming.
In 2010, Linda Riggs was appointed Executive Director. Under her guidance, client programming expanded to include financial counseling, client mentoring, expanded use of volunteers, use of social media and a search for a permanent home for Neighborhood House.
Many major events occurred in 2015 for Neighborhood House. The current Executive Director is Kathy Losinski who has served on the Neighborhood House Board of Directors for 18+ years, most recently as Chair of the Board. Her vast knowledge of the agency as well as sensitive management skills hold great promise moving forward. Neighborhood House moved from providing one-time emergency help to providing programs focused on long-term self-sustainability, which required us to find a larger home of our own, and we embarked on our capital campaign.
In September of 2016, in response to the growing needs in our community, we opened the doors at our new home located in Rochester Hills, MI. Since that time, we have found many ways to use the new larger space for new programs such as computer skills training, positive parenting classes, and financial management seminars. Everything we do focuses on bringing those in crisis to self-sustainability.
Originally founded in 1968 as a vision of seven ministers looking for a center where all communications of need could be channeled and shared, Neighborhood House has grown into an effective organization that continues to serve the needs of the community nearly 50 years later. We are a fully incorporated organization with organized by-laws and a Board of Directors which guides the strategic direction and set policies for the organization. The Board of Advisers connects the organization with civic clubs, places of worship and community organizations and businesses within the greater Rochester area. Day to day operations are managed by the Executive Director.