15 emergency resources you’ll hopefully never need

MMI is not affiliated with any of the following websites. This information is presented for informational purposes only.

There are few feelings worse than the hopelessness that comes when you’re faced with an unexpected problem you don’t think you can overcome on your own. Maybe there were warning signs, maybe there weren’t. All that really matters is that you and your family are in trouble and you need help.

Hopefully you’re never in such a dire situation, but if you are ever faced with a financial crisis and don’t know where to turn, consider these nonprofit resources as a beginning point.

You need help paying your utility bills

If you’re having a hard time keeping the lights on and the house heated during the winter (or cool during the summer), there’s a good chance there may be a local assistance program available to help. There are programs to help cover some, if not all, of your energy bills and others that defray the cost of making your home more energy efficient. If you’re struggling with utility bills, check out the following databases of local resources to see if help is available.

You need help providing food

There are thousands of food banks across the country. It may be difficult to ask for help, but if your finances are such that you struggle to afford food for yourself and your family, please visit your local food bank immediately. These services are available because they are so needed. Use the following website to help locate a food bank in your community.

You need help paying your rent

When facing a financial crisis, your first priority is usually keeping a roof over your head. If your income suddenly drops or you have additional debts and expenses that are making it difficult to meet your rental obligations, you may be eligible for certain assistance programs. Many local, community organizations are able to offer short-term rental assistance if you meet certain criteria. View the below list to see if help is available in your area.

You’re afraid of losing your home

If you’ve missed multiple mortgage payments and are worried about losing your home, there is often a path to rehabilitating your loan. That path can be very complicated, however, which is why it’s important to speak with a certified specialist if you’re concerned about a potential foreclosure.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a database of approved organizations offering foreclosure prevention counseling (MMI is one of these organizations). The sooner you speak with a qualified counselor, the better your chances of being able to stay in your home.

You’ve lost your home

Financial crises tend to compound one another, each unexpected setback creating another three or four setbacks to deal with. It’s shocking the number of people who end up homeless through no fault or action of their own. If you ever find yourself without a home you need to find shelter immediately. Begin your search with the following directory, which contains listings and contact information for over 3,500 shelters across the country.

You can’t afford healthcare

If you don’t have insurance, or simply can’t afford the costs involved, you may stop taking care of your health needs. Fortunately, there are low cost and no cost clinics available for those who qualify. Use the following locator, managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration, to find affordable healthcare in your area.

You can’t afford your prescriptions

The price of certain pharmaceuticals can be financially crippling. It isn’t in your best interests to stop taking your prescribed medications, but if you don’t have the money it may seem like you have no choice. Thankfully, there are programs out there to help defray the cost of prescription medications. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a useful tool to help you locate such programs (they also have a free/low-cost clinic locator).

You can’t afford veterinary care for your animal

Pets are members of the family, too. When they become ill we want to do everything in our power to help them. Unfortunately, when money’s tight we might not be able to give them the care they need. The good news is that many veterinary clinics and shelters (like your local SPCA) offer low cost healthcare options for pets of low-income families. Additionally, there are a few national and local organizations that offer funds to cover the cost of certain procedures. The Humane Society maintains a list of these organizations.

You need free legal advice

The law is complicated and lawyers can be expensive. If you need legal assistance, but don’t have the money necessary to hire an attorney, there are resources available. The nonprofit Legal Services Corporation is self-described as the “largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation” and maintains a database of providers across the country.

You need clothes or school supplies

Local charities very often run school supply drives during the summer time in order to provide students in low-income families with backpacks and basic supplies. If you need basic supplies or clothes, the Salvation Army has centers across the country and is a great place to look.

You need help caring for an elderly family member

When you’re struggling to manage your own needs, it can be difficult to adequately care for your elderly relatives. A charity service like Meals on Wheels may be able to at least ensure that your elderly loved ones are eating right. There are also volunteer services, like Elder Helpers, that connect senior citizens in need of assistance with volunteers happy to give a hand.

You’re the victim of a natural disaster

If your home is situated within an area that has been officially declared a disaster you are entitled to support and assistance. The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) was created to make it easier for victims of disaster to receive aid. DAIP’s website is designed to help facilitate that process by allowing you to apply for assistance online and monitor the status of your claim.

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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