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HELP NOW ADVOCACY CENTER

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Dispute Resolution & Mediation, Health, Mental Health

Mission: Our purpose is to provide advice, support and skilled negotiation to individuals in crisis.

Results: In 2010, we handled 474 client matters. Since our founding in 2004, we have handled more than 2,000 such cases.

Target demographics: Although we help anyone in need, 70% of our clients in 2010 made less than $20,000, 50% made less than $10,000. We have special programs to help two especially vulnerable populations: those suffering from mental illness, and local Hispanic residents.

Programs: To provide advice, support, and skilled negotiation to individuals in crisis.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Although I have never needed the services of HelpNow, I have been acquainted with the work they do for many years. I am also proud to be a volunteer. HelpNow is always top of my list when I determine my annual contributions to organizations I know make a big impact. So many members of the local community have benefited from their services, and their volunteers are experienced and dedicated. HelpNow is often the last resort for people that have been unable to advocate for themselves. It is so exciting to see HelpNow expand it’s efforts across the country.

Don Dabney
Oregon

Donor

Rating: 5

Although I have never needed the services of HelpNow, I have been acquainted with the work they do for many years. HelpNow is always top of my list when I determine my annual contributions to organizations I know make a big impact. So many members of the local community have benefited from their services, and their volunteers are experienced and dedicated. HelpNow is often the last resort for people that have been unable to advocate for themselves. It is so exciting to see HelpNow expand it’s efforts across the country.

Teri S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have never been one to reach out and ask for help, especially from nonprofit organizations! With that said, Unfortunately I found myself in a situation where I needed legal advice concerning my tenant rights while renting from a property management company. Although I had full access to the rights and laws online they can be a bit confusing and I wanted to be sure of what I was reading! Larry Kahn and his team has stepped in many times to assist me in the last two years with my tenant issues and when dealing with the state of Oregon regarding a garnishment!! If it weren't for Larry and his team I would no doubt be homeless living on the street! I highly recommend this organization to anyone in need of legal advice! They are kind, compassionate, understanding and more than willing to step up and defend you when you dont feel you can do it alone! I just cannot say enough about this nonprofit Organization! They deserve all the recognition for a job well done and then some!!! Thank you Help Now Advocacy for making a major difference in my world!! Sincerely, very grateful....Teri Schuster

Board Member

Rating: 5

The most wonderful thing about Help Now! is that everyone can access the help with no charge no matter their income level, though if a client has some money they can certainly donate. Many people from all walks of life have been helped over the past 16 years Help Now! has offered it services.

Lois N.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HelpNow is there and has helped many people. Kind hearted and competent.

Client Served

Rating: 5

LIVING IN HER (Van) WAS HER BEST ALTERNATIVE

Erin, seriously disabled and in her early 30's, was homeless and living in a van which she had recently purchased but had not yet titled in her name because she lacked funds to do so. She had the title certificate with the prior owner’s signature on it noting transfer to her but no title certificate actually in her name as owner. 
 
A man, whom she did not know, carjacked her van injuring her in the process of forcing her out of the car. She immediately notified the police and went to a hospital emergency room to be treated for her injuries. The car was subsequently located by police, and the man was arrested. 

The car was impounded and towed to the tow company’s storage lot accumulating daily storage fees. Since Erin was not the registered owner, the lot owner would not talk to her about releasing the car to her or to anyone else who was not the car’s owner of record with DMV. It was at this point that Erin contacted us for assistance. We were able to verify with the police all that she had told us including the fact of her ER treatment.
 
Telling us that she lacked a valid driver’s license, Erin advised us that she could not get the car titled in her name because of that per DMV.  At our suggestion, she then got a woman, whom she thought was a trustworthy licenced acquaintance to agree to take title temporarily "stating she's only doing this to help her get her home back", Erin paid the acquaintance gas money to drive to the tow yard and was told the bill was $900.

She trusted her and she said that she would get the bill down and give her the extra money, the acquaintance knew she was on disability and using her entire disability check to do so but to her it was worth it since it was her home and thought she met a trusted friend. The aquaintance got the bill down to $400 and kept the extra money, saying that she will meet her at her house. Then said that her friend also with a lisence would drive back to the acquaintance's house and then be given the extra money then.

The driver was not safe, using drugs in her van while driving her back and also told Erin that she was never going to see that $500 or her vehicle once we arrive back to the aquaintance's house. Trying to warn Erin ahead of time, not feeling safe, once she was close enough to home 2 miles away, she had an opportunity to leave him behind at a gas station since she could see that she wasnt going to get her money back or the van at this point and her safety was at risk do to the acquaintance's friend being intoxicated but was in a desperate situation.

The aquantance saw her in her van a couple days later and slashed two tires and took ownership of the vehicle, hoping she now owned her van.

Not knowing in advance that she was already working with us, we managed to have the dmv title the vehicle in her name and put two new tires on. We were able to get the local United Way to assist with the cost of transferring title. (We do not provide cash assistance to clients. Our budget just sustains our
work.) We also emphatically told Erin she had to get a driver’s license, and she signed a statement for us, as a condition to the continuation of our work on her matter, agreeing to do so.
 
Once title was transferred, we were able to speak to the tow lot owner with authorization from the aquaintance now the owner of record with DMV.

We persuaded the police to get involved although they initially had declined telling us it was a civil matter, (even after slashing her tires.) The police located the acquaintance and persuaded her to give the van and title papers back to Erin. 
 
We had to then not only move the car for Erin but find a tire shop to replace two slashed tires and carefully hoping that the rims wouldn't be bent since it was sitting in front of her residence, but the police would not allow it to be driven because of the unsafe condition of tires. We then persuaded a local tire shop to donate two used tires for Erin’s car and he installed them at the spot where the van was located. After that, we moved the van to a safe location away from the aquaintances residence.
 
We then contacted a manager at Oregon DMV in Salem about getting the title transferred to Erin.  It turned out that she had been given misinformation about not being able to title a vehicle in her name when lacking a driver’s license.  Because of that, the DMV manager agreed to change title directly from the prior owner’s name to Erin at no additional charge.  He could see the transfer to the ("aquaintance") in their system and agreed to bypass it.

In the end, Erin wound up getting her van back again but now holding proper title to the van, which had been and was again her home. 

While we did expend a significant amount of time on Erin’s matter, because of our involvement she is not living on the street, (has a safe place to lock her doors) and through this process had no one to turn to and was very thankful that there was someone to advocate for her. If we hadn't, she would have been taken advantage of or worse. It was very important to her survival given the nature of her disabilities.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This very unique non-profit fills a void in our society that no other non-profit to date fills. It helps the indigent, mentally disabled, and others with common every day issues such as water and electrical cut-offs, landlord tenant disputes that other agencies do not.

To date Help Now has helped over 8,000 clients with a 95% success rate and is definitely a Great NonProfit!!