During COVID-19, there’s been a lot of uncertainty and confusion in our Michigan community. This is a trying time for many and it’s important to lean on friends, family and neighbors for support (metaphorically lean, of course, since social distancing is still strongly encouraged). To help members of our Michigan community who may be struggling during this time, we’ve put together a list of helpful resources for those who need food, financial help, are seeking unemployment help and more.
Assistance programs for Michigan residents
- The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) is a great place to start for aid available statewide. The MDHHS website includes several resources and assistance programs.
- United Way has created a COVID-19 Community Response Fund that helps families who need immediate assistance, like accessing health care, emergency financial support and food. Learn more here. Call 2-1-1 from any phone to be connected to a list of statewide resources for everything from food and diapers to rental assistance and bus fare. You can also search their online database.
- The state has also set up a dedicated COVID-19 hotline you can call seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with any health-related COVID-19 questions: 1.888.535.6136.
- Need Help Paying Bills has a list of emergency as well as long-term financial assistance programs. Based on various conditions, households can receive rental assistance, food, free medical care, daycare vouchers, medical care and energy bill assistance among other resources.
Resources for seniors
- Senior citizens can receive a grocery delivery service through Michigan Muslin Community Council. Call 734-325-4134 between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to place an order.
- To help support Michigan seniors during this time, Michigan is offering increased meal delivery and daily wellness check via phone. Residents over 60 can fill out this form to request meal delivery and/or a daily call to see how you’re doing and if you need any assistance.
- Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan has free online support groups to offer caregivers and those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with social interaction, educational information and support. View their virtual offerings here.
- Meals on Wheels: Delivers nutritious meals to vulnerable seniors. You can contact your local provider or donate to the national group here.
Unemployment and small business resources
- Workers who are sick, quarantined or taking care of family members who are sick will receive an extension of benefits through Michigan’s Unemployment Office. Learn more here.
- Self-employed workers and independent contractors who don’t have unemployment insurance will now have access to unemployment. Fill out an application here.
- Michigan Small Business During COVID-19 offers guidance for small-business owners.
- Michigan Treasury Collections Service Center Assistance may be available for those who have been laid off due to COVID-19 regarding past due state taxes or other state debts call 517-636-5265 or go to www.michigan.gov/taxes.
- USBG National Charity Foundation is offering grant assistance to bartenders and their families. Click here to fill out the application.
Free internet access
- Low-income families can receive free internet access through Comcast and Charter Communications. View more information here.
- Companies are also offering 60 days of free internet access for households with K-12 and college students.
- AT&T will offer free internet access to new customers for two months and low-income households can continue to subscribe for $10/month. All public WiFi hotspots are open to anyone. AT&T will not terminate service of any customer due to an inability to pay and all late payment fees will be waived. Learn more here.
Governor Whitmer has temporarily suspended evictions in Michigan.
- Freddie Mac — Offering mortgage relief options for those who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to a decline in income, including forbearance for up to 12 months, waiving penalties and fees, halting foreclosure sales/evictions of borrowers in Freddie Mac-owned homes until May 17, and more.
- Fannie Mae — Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer. Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days. Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months.
- The Homeless Shelters Directory is a directory of shelters and other homeless services for people with urgent housing needs. You can find support close to you.
Free food distribution
- For a full list of food distribution centers for K-12 students, see this comprehensive MLive article.
- Feeding America has a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries. They help food banks across the country support the most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. Find your local food bank here.
- Food assistance Temporary food assistance (Bridge card) for eligible low-income families and individuals is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Use MI Bridges to apply for assistance, check your eligibility status and manage your account online.
- Food Pantries runs an online directory of local pantries, soup kitchens, food shelves, food banks and other food help and you can search by state for nearby aid.
Child care resources
- Essential workers (police officers, firefighters, health care workers, postal workers, sanitation workers, etc.,) in need of child care can get assistance finding help.
Mental health resources
Self-care and coping skills are critical to your mental health and wellbeing.
- Priority Health has partnered with a digital health specialist to offer free access to mental wellness resources specifically focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.
- Disaster distress helpline. A 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
- If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
- Headspace, a free mental health resource for Michiganders during the COVID-19 pandemic, offers meditations, at-home workouts and other help for stress and anxiety.
- For Michiganders in need of free or low-cost mental health, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has a county map of community mental health service programs.
Keep insurance coverage
It’s essential that Michiganders have access to the health coverage they need. On April 14, Priority Health announced a unique, affordable new option to help those who have lost their employer-based health benefits due to COVID-19.
“At this time, more than ever, it is crucial that every person in this country has health insurance,” said Joan Budden, President & CEO, Priority Health. “We have pushed ourselves to get creative with solutions to address this pandemic, and our new combination plan makes it possible that no one will have to go a day without health insurance.”
- Mighty Wings, 20131 Greenfield Rd., is offering free pancake and bacon breakfasts from 8 to 11 a.m. daily for kids.
- We the People are dropping off free water at multiple locations in Detroit. View the map of drop-off locations here.
- The Detroit Public Schools Community District will be distributing “grab and go” breakfast and lunch meal at 58 locations. View the school locations and more information here.
- Gleaners Community Food Bank has added more food distribution sites for families and children in Metro Detroit. View more information here.
- Forgotten Harvest has a network of over 250 partner agencies and programs in southeast Michigan offering free food. Find a food program here. They’re also offering On The Go mobile pantries during the days and times listed here.
- Crisis Care Grocery Giveaway: Triumph Church Detroit has partnered with New Era Detroit to feed over 200 families daily (Monday through Friday) with through the Crisis Care Grocery Giveaway program.
- Detroit National Action Network has free grocery, medication delivery service. The service is available to senior citizens and those who are homebound. Grocery items must be paid for with a debit or credit card. 313-288-8433.
- Wayne County CARES ACT provides assistance in the following areas: food & income support, property tax assistance, water & energy assistance, emergency home repair, rent & mortgage assistance and funeral supports. To learn more about which CARES Relief & Recovery Services are available in your community, please call 313-388-9799, or go to waynemetro.org/CARES.
- United Community Housing Coalition is helping answer questions regarding a landlord-tenant or other eviction matter in Detroit. If you need assistance call (313) 355-3352 or email UCHC at email@example.com.
- Michigan Humane Society, 7887 Chrysler Drive, Detroit, is offering free pet food to qualifying pet owners in need. To apply, contact any of the Michigan Humane Society’s three Centers for Animal Care to apply for the program.
- TechTown is launching an emergency COVID-19 fund for Detroit small businesses. In partnership with the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), and Invest Detroit, grants up to $5,000 will be given to qualifying small businesses. Click here to apply.
- United Way’s 2-1-1 connects people to thousands of services in 14 counties: Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Ionia, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, Oceana, and Osceola. Services include food, shelter, utility assistance, disaster recovery, childcare, transportation, and more. Call 211 or 800.887.1107 to get connected to resources, or go here for more ways to access resources.
- Kids Food Basket will continue to provide meals and other nutritional services to kids. Visit their website to learn more.
- Mel Trotter Ministries remains open and continues to serve our struggling neighbors experiencing homelessness who are at high risk of COVID-19. Learn more here.
- Kent County ISD has compiled a list of resources for parents and families here.
- Electric Cheetah in Grand Rapids: Kids eat free with an adult meal purchase of $14 or more. 1015 Wealthy St. SE.
- Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) is temporarily suspending late fees and eviction notices in mid- Michigan. Call 517-332-4663 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
- CATA is offering free transit during this time but asks that it only be used for essential travel. IMPORTANT: To protect the health and safety of our drivers, please board and exit from the rear door of the bus. For additional information, please call CATA’s emergency line at 517-999-2549.
- Summit Pointe Housing Assessment Resource Agency (H.A.R.A.) assists those in Calhoun County in a current eviction status or those who are currently homeless who are trying to find other housing opportunities. Call 269-966-1538 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
- The City of Flint compiled this list of community services, including information on free meal distribution, small business help and child care.
- Food Gatherers works with more than 150 partners through the Washtenaw County area. Click here to search for food pantries, distributions, and free meals available in your community.
- Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency has compiled this list of resources for residents of Northeast Michigan.
- Traverse Bay area School District will distribute food at the following locations:
- Benzie Central Schools, 9222 Homestead Rd.
- Kingsley Area Schools, breakfast and lunch pickup:
- Hannah St. Mary’s, 2912 M-113, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
- Kingsley Methodist Church, 113 Blair St.,10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Home delivery is available. Call your school directly.
- Traverse City Area Public Schools, breakfast and lunch pickup:
- Blair Elementary School, 1625 Sawyer Rd., 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
- Traverse Heights Elementary School, 933 Rose St., 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
- East Middle School, 1776 Three Mile Rd., 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
- Long Lake Elementary School, 7600 N. Long Lake Rd. 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has great resources here. Also, check out this comprehensive list from Bridge for even more resources for Michigan residents throughout the state during COVID-19.