FORT WAYNE — Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana and Brightpoint are combining resources to offer more comprehensive assistance solutions to residents of northern Indiana. The goal in working together is to address needs more quickly and thoroughly so the area can recover and get the economy moving again.
Assistance is available for basic needs such as food, utilities, rent, car payments, mortgage payments and transportation for any household that has experienced the loss of a job or been furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated stay-at-home orders. The organizations can also make referrals for those suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, isolation and thoughts of suicide. In addition, they are providing assistance to small-business owners who are experiencing severe financial disruption.
To look into assistance, residents should call 211, a free and confidential service that helps Hoosiers across northern Indiana find the local resources they need. They can also visit COVIDassistance.site to find more information.
Assistance is made possible in part by these COVID-19 response funds: Catholic Charities USA, Our Sunday Visitor Institute, United Way of St. Joseph County, United Way of Allen County, United Way of DeKalb County, United Way of Noble County, SCAN Inc., and St. Joseph Community Health Foundation.
Assistance is offered by appointment, and face-to-face contact may be necessary at times, particularly if the resident does not have access to a cellular telephone or a computer. The three agencies have implemented measures to continue to serve that protect the safety and health of customers and staff.
The group offers the following tips for area residents interested in applying:
• Keep track of expenses and purchases: If assistance is needed later, you will likely be asked to share household income and expenses information over the past 30-60 days. An assessment of whether household income was spent on basic needs is common.
•At times when household income is limited, it can be a challenge to identif y priorities. Protecting your home by paying rent and utilities is a good place to start. Food is also essential.
• Ask for help early. Many lenders and creditors will agree to work with clients if they are approached before the account is past due. It can feel a little embarrassing to ask for help, but during the pandemic, over 22 million Americans are out of work. You are not alone.
• If you can keep up with your household bills, do so. If you have any source of income at this time, it may be tempting not to pay rent or utility bills because landlords cannot evict and utility companies are not disconnecting for nonpayment. At the same time, those bills will come due at some point and having not paid them makes the bills higher than may be affordable later, and higher than what nonprofit agencies will provide in assistance.
• Demand for assistance is high. Calls will be managed as promptly as possible, and assistance specific to the COVID-19 pandemic is time-limited.
To inquire about assistance, call 211 or visit the special website created for this effort:
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