No one ever likes to ask for assistance, but sometimes it becomes necessary to seek temporary financial assistance. As difficult as it is to begin the process, many people feel overwhelmed before they even begin. The process is never easy, but it doesn't have to be frustrating.
Things You'll Need
- Statement of bills
- Copy of lease or mortgage
- Social security cards
- Birth certificates
- Proof of income
Start by gathering up all the information that you will need. Once you begin approaching state and federal agencies for assistance, you will need identification, proof of income, social security cards for all family members, birth certificates, a copy of your bills and a copy of your lease or mortgage. Make a copy of all these materials and keep them together in a packet.
Make a list of your most immediate needs. Are you in danger of losing your home? Your power? Don't have enough food to eat? Let the priority need guide where you head first. If you are looking for housing or utility assistance, start with your church or local ministerial alliance. Most churches have a fund set aside to assist people who have a temporary need. In some communities, these are overseen by a group of local ministers.
Check with your utility company. Many companies sponsor assistance programs for low-income residents. Call the company to find out if you qualify or to have them refer you to the local social agency that administers the low income energy assistance program, a federally-funded grant program. Be sure to bring your information packet and your utility bill.
Apply with your state's department of human services or whatever state department oversees the state welfare program. In emergency situations, the state can usually issue food stamp assistance within a day and other financial assistance within a week. However, they often will not authorize assistance to people without children.
Call city hall and ask where the nearest food pantry is. Even in small communities, there is often a church or social organizaiton that can provide food assistance.
Talk to your friends and family. Most of the time people neglect these resources due to embarassment, but often friends and family members can provide temporary assistance. Even if they cannot meet all your needs, family members will often be able to provide for your most pressing needs.