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Finding Your Way
Tips For Navigating Resources
- Start seeking assistance as soon as you know you are unable to pay your bill or meet your needs. Don’t wait!
- Contact the company or vendor directly to determine if payment plans or internal supports are offered. If no one answers the phone or you are unable to leave a message, check the agency website for a “contact us” or “how to contact” and submit an on-line request. If a staff directory is available on-line, search and reach out to a manager or director. If this is a local office that is part of a statewide or nationwide agency, search for the local office number.
- Contact United Way 211. This information and referral system is available in every county in Michigan as well as centers across the country. You can also live chat with an on-line representative or ﬁnd resources by accessing the website at:
- 211 Online here: http://www.liveunitedsem.org/get-help.
- Dial 211 or text your zip code to 898211.
- Use the internet to research resources and explore options.
- Determine if a federal, state, or county resource that addresses your need is available.
- Connect with a trusted source for information and guidance.
- Keep notes on the agencies and representatives you contacted, what was discussed, and the date and time of the call.
- If you feel comfortable, let the representative know if you identify with a speciﬁc group or population (i.e. veteran) or have experienced a particular circumstance (i.e. homelessness, foster care). These distinctions may open doors to other resources and programs. You can also see if there are speciﬁc resources made available to groups that you identify with by reaching out to non-proﬁt groups and advocacy groups that speciﬁcally support those groups.
- Understand that certain intake and application processes may be required to receive assistance.
- Ask what documents you need for appointments, and make sure to take them to your appointments.
- Resources and services may require that you meet speciﬁc criteria in order to receive their assistance.
- Resources may be limited at this time so be open to ﬂexible problem solving and developing alternate plans.
Disclaimer: There are no guarantees that you will be able to ﬁnd a resource to meet your needs.
Programs and services may run out of funds or close. The requirements to receive help and the process you must follow may also change. It may take a lot of time and effort to get an answer to your request for help. In the end, you still might need to come up with another plan as resources are limited and systems are complicated.