Neighbors Helping Neighbors was started in 2003 as a small a volunteer organization seeking to promote independence and sustainability in the lives of people in Teton County, Montana who live on limited incomes. Our founders were each contributing in small and large ways to help our neighbors and we felt that others would offer help if they knew the issues of poverty and had a way to respond.
Through the Northwest Area Community Foundation Horizons program that works to reduce poverty in rural areas, the Choteau community in 2009 sought methods to connect low-income residents with resources. NHN was recognized as serving this need and as having potential for expansion. It was as a result of that project that NHNs grew and ultimately received IRS 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2009.
We are not a crisis organization - we hope to promote independence and sustainability in the lives of people in our community who live on limited incomes. Our primary goal is to connect individuals and families with existing services that may help. We maintain a resource guide, which lists organizations that provide assistance, helping both clients and providers in identifying needed services.
In some circumstances, we also may provide some limited financial assistance. Money is never given directly to the client, but instead applied to a one-time outstanding bill or expense the client is experiencing, such as rent or utility bills or by providing gas or gift cards.
At its core, Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a “hand-up” and not a “hand-out” so we frequently as clients to pay back a portion of the donation they have received when that are in a better financial situation, or to pay it forward in their community.
We have worked hard to set up a flexible, impartial, fair, legitimate, and consistent process to make assistance available to anyone who is a resident of Teton County. Our goal is to provide a hand-up rather than a hand-out.
Welcome to NHN! Whether you are a community member with a need or in a position to extend a helping hand to someone else, we want to hear from you!