Is it possible to help an individual or family stabilize their finances before they end up with no place to stay other than a homeless shelter or on the street?

Absolutely, yes. That’s the theory that many resource programs work under, and that’s a concept I want you to consider.

Even if you can’t help directly, you can be a big help by pointing people in the direction as to where to seek help. If you live in southeast Michigan, the resource referral site is Julie’s List. If you live elsewhere, call or look up your United Way office and ask if they host or know of a community service database for your area.

Some examples:

  • If helping someone with the grocery expenses — as helping them connect with food pantry efforts, the God Works! meals, food stamp or WIC participation — allows someone to free up cash to pay the rent, you prevented homelessness.
  • If giving someone a stack of bus tickets, a carpool ride, or a gas card helps them get to work on time in order to earn a paycheck, you prevented homelessness.
  • If providing someone with business or uniform attire helps them with the startup expenses related to accepting a job offer, you prevented homelessness.
  • If helping to get a sick child on the way to recovery faster means a parent needs to take less unpaid time off work, you prevented homelessness.
  • If helping someone get into more affordable housing means the rent or mortgage payments are more in line with their income, you prevented homelessness.
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