Resources for People in Deep Distress

Resources for People in Deep Distress

Facilitator’s Note: It will be common for people to join your group when they are in trouble, financially. While the Resilience Circle is no substitute for social services, it can provide a caring community for the distressed. The following are some resources to help people cope with job or home loss, and other attendant problems.

Basic Assistance

When you have been traumatized by any sort of financial crisis, it is necessary to reach out for basic assistance. While family and friends can provide some of this, there are government agencies and charities set up for this purpose. Do not be afraid to seek out the benefits they are entitled to as taxpayers.

  • Government Resources http://www.govbenefits.gov for assistance with all social services including food, housing, healthcare
  • Free School Lunch (each local school district has a form)
  • Local churches with food pantries
  • Food Banks (local)
  • Angel Food Ministries — Available to anyone, no restriction or requirements.

http://www.Angelfoodministries.com

Local agencies such as United Way, Catholic Social Services, and the Salvation Army may be the best places to start. The library will have free internet service.

Foreclosure

Home eviction can be fought successfully, and having a team of people to advocate for you is extremely helpful. Part of a recent Bill Moyer’s show that features the organization City Life provides an excellent example of how foreclosure can be addressed: http://www/pbs.org/moyers/journal/05012009/watch2.html

Here are four things you can do you are threatened with home loss:

1. Talk to your bank about your options. Be sure your loan has a fixed rate and not a variable rate. Go to the Center for Responsible Lending for explanation of foreclosure terms: http://www.responsiblelending.org

2. Seek out HUD-certified counselors to help you with refinancing. http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm

3. If you are threatened with foreclosure, call ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) foreclosure hotline 347 410 5894. www.acorn.org

They can help you create an eviction-blockade to defend your home.

4. Do not assume you are guilty or wrong for being unable to pay your mortgage. Most homes are worth less now than they were 5 years ago, a situation which leaves many homeowners with more debt than equity in their homes. Foreclosed homes are repossessed by the very banks that have received bailout money from taxpayers. These homes are then sold to buyers at market value, which is considerably less than their former prices. Request that your bank assess your home at current rates and offer you a mortgage based on real value.

Other helpful organizations are:

Job Loss

Currently, over half-a-million workers are losing their jobs each month in this country. So it’s important not to feel isolated and blame-yourself –you’re in good company!

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) http://www.nelp.org has good advice and resources on how to apply for unemployment benefits and get help with health care during unemployment. They also maintain the website http://www.unemployedworkers.org, where there are many tips about how to get services and find work.

Income Change Advice from the Washington Post’s “Job Talk Discussion Group

http://www.WashingtonPost.com

(Go to Opinions, select Discussion Groups, select Jobs Talk)

United Way Information and Referral Service: Call 211 for help with food, housing, unemployment, health-care or counseling. More information at http://www.211us.org

Healthcare and Illness

In many cases the best thing to do first, if you lose your healthcare coverage, is talk to your family doctor or clinic to find out what help they provide in such situation.

COBRA http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/COBRA.html

Look into receiving continuing coverage for your previous health care at a lower rate.

Alternatives to COBRA http://www.healthinsurance.info/providers/CobraAlternatives.HTM

Insure Kids Now: US Department of Health and Human Services

http://www.insurekidsnow.gov

or call 1877-KIDS-NOW

RX Assist: http://www.rxassist.org

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