The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation socially and economically – and that means many Michigan residents may be out of work or facing financial crisis. There are resources available for those that need food, financial assistance, unemployment resources and help paying their utility bills, just to name a few.
A good place to start is by contacting Michigan’s 2-1-1 system, where you’ll be connected to a list of resources across Michigan for help with food, diapers, rental assistance, energy bills and bus fare, to name a few.
Here’s how to connect:
· Call 2-1-1
· Text your zip code to 898211
· Visit the link: https://www.mi211.org/
Additionally, those interested in donating supplies, donating to a food bank or donating blood during the pandemic can call 2-1-1 as well.
If you need assistance with health care coverage, cash assistance, food assistance, childcare costs or emergency housing, utility payments or burial situations, the state of Michigan has a streamlined application system through MI Bridges.
How to apply:
· Online at newmibridges.michigan.gov
· Using a paper application, which can be found online or at a local MDHHS office. Call your local MDHHS office and they will mail the application to you.
· At a local MDHHS office, which can be found here
· At a community partner, which can be found here
For healthcare coverage only, you can apply over the phone by calling 1-855-276-4627
The state of Michigan has expanded the food assistance benefits for Michigan families, and waived the federal work requirements for about 27,000 individuals. Find out more information here.
The state’s 2-1-1 system is a great resource to get connected with local food drives and giveaways.
The state also has a map of where families can find free lunches for children while school is closed due to the pandemic.
Additionally, these news sites offer a wide-ranging roundup of where free food is available across Michigan.
Rent and Housing
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has temporarily suspended all evictions in Michigan until April 17.
For assistance with emergency housing, get connected with the state’s MI Bridges program.
Additionally, the state offers interest-free forgivable loans to help with mortgage, property taxes and/or condominium association fees in cases of involuntary qualifying hardship – like job loss or a medical event. Learn more about the Step Forward Michigan program by:
· Call 866-946-7432
Gov. Whitmer has issued an executive order that requires water service to be reconnected to residences that have had their water shut off.
Additionally, check with your utility providers to see if they have any policies in place to suspend collections or to postpone bills in cases of financial hardship due to COVID-19.
· DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are not disconnecting service and extending flexible payment plans for low-income customers, seniors and those impacted by illness or job losses related to the pandemic.
· SEMCO has suspended customer disconnections and has waived late fees for anyone unable to pay their monthly natural gas bill. Call SEMCO if you are concerned about paying your bill at 1-800-624-2019.
· AT&T is offering free internet access for new customers for two months. Low-income households can continue to subscribe for $10/month. Service will not be terminated due to inability to pay.
· Comcast and Charter Communications are offering free internet to low-income families. Internet and cable service will not be suspended.
Other resources in Grand Rapids
Electric Cheetah, Kids eat free with an adult meal purchase of $14 or more. 1015 Wealthy St. SE.
Kent County Community Action Food Distribution will add an additional food distribution day March 26 from 1 p.m.- 6 p.m. at Kent County Community Action, 121 Franklin St. SE. To volunteer click here
Kids’ Food Basket, Looking for volunteers. Text KFB to 56651 to donate. 1300 Plymouth Ave NE.