• The Goodwill Inn

    What to do if you’re faced with homelessness.

Experiencing Homelessness? Need Help?

These sections contain information that may be helpful if you are homeless or may become homeless.

  • General sources of help include local, state and national resources.
  • Things to do if you may become homeless in a few days.
  • Things to do if you may become homeless in a few weeks.
  • If you are homeless now call 231-922-4890.
  • If you are a homeless youth call 800-442-7315 or 231-922-4800 Third Level Crisis Center for Pete’s Place.

General Sources of Help

*If you are not homeless yet, it may be possible to avoid becoming homeless by finding out if there are any prevention or emergency assistance programs in your area.  Often these programs can help in paying rent, utilities, or bills.

If you are homeless now, emergency assistance programs may help with temporary shelter, or security deposits and/or first month’s rent.

In the greater Grand Traverse region, contact:

If you are a teenager and are thinking about running away from home, or if you are already living on the streets, call the Third Level Crisis Intervention Center and ask for Third Level Street Outreach Program (231-922-4800) or call the Rap Line at 1-800-292-4517. If you are not in the Traverse City area, call the National Runaway Switchboard. The Switchboard is a toll free, confidential hotline. The Switchboard staff will listen to you and help you think about what you need and want to do next. They also can tell you about people in your community who can help you. Other places to look for names and numbers of programs that may help are:

  1. On-line Directory of Statewide and Local Advocacy Coalitions This directory is maintained by the National Coalition for the Homeless and lists homeless and housing coalitions that are involved in advocacy. These coalitions vary greatly in the kind of advice and resources they can provide — not all coalitions provide direct services, but many are excellent sources of information and referrals to programs near you. The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness website contains a directory of Michigan homeless and transitional housing providers.
  2. HUD’s Homeless Assistance Resources Listing. This is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s database of homeless assistance providers. If you are homeless and have health care needs, there may be a Health Care for the Homeless program near you that can help. Health Care for the Homeless programs also provide referrals for other services such as housing, so it may be useful to contact the program nearest you to see what services are available. Adapted from National Coalition for the Homeless Website.

Things to Do if You May Become Homeless in a Few Days

If you only have a few days before you may become homeless, it is helpful to start making plans*. The goal should be either to avoid going to an emergency shelter, or, if that can’t be avoided, to make your stay there as short as possible. Depending on how much time you have before you might become homeless, try one or all of the following:

#1 Try to locate an assistance program near you: Some agencies provide homeless prevention assistance. These programs may have waiting lists, require an appointment/interview, or have certain restrictions on who they serve. For these reasons, the sooner you can find a program that may be able help you, the better. If you do not know of any programs near you, click here for general area resources.

In the greater Grand Traverse region, contact the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency at 231-947-3780 for prevention and emergency assistance programs.

For shelter, contact the Goodwill Inn at 231-922-4890 or the Women’s Resource Center at 231-946-1210. Other resources can be found through the Goodwill Inn’s Community Resources page. Other shelters in the State of Michigan may be found at the Michigan Coalition for the Homeless website.

#2 Apply for Public Housing and/or Section 8 Housing: In the Greater Grand Traverse region: There are currently two Section 8 rental assistance programs in the five-county area: One program is administered by SEE-CON (MSHDA) and is headquartered in Bellaire, MI. This program serves Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties.

A second Section 8 rental assistance program is administered by the Traverse City Housing Commission and serves Grand Traverse County, Leelanau, Antrim, Kalkaska, Benzie, and Wexford counties. Applications for both programs may be obtained from the Goodwill Inn, 231-922-4890, or directly from the agencies themselves: MSHDA – 231-377-7155, Traverse City Housing Commission – 231-922-4915. If you need assistance in applying for Section 8, please contact a Case Manager at the Goodwill Inn, 231-922-4890.

Waiting lists for public and Section 8 housing vary across the country. Although public and Section 8 housing have very long waiting lists, you need to apply now if you are not already on their waiting lists. You can find out how to apply by looking for the number of your local public housing authority in the government section of the phone book. Traverse City Housing Commission – 231-922-4915.

Some people say they don’t want to live in public or Section 8 housing, but there are two things to remember: first of all, it is the only housing that many people can afford. Secondly, you do not have to take it when your name comes up, as you may have other options at that time. The point is that you want to have a range of choices available to you in as short a time as possible. Single men and women can apply for public and Section 8 housing. However, if you are not disabled, the waiting period for Section 8 will be much longer.

#3 Apply for Transitional Housing: In some communities, transitional housing is an option for people who are homeless. Transitional housing programs vary greatly across the country as far as who they serve and what their requirements are. Again, many transitional houses will tell you they have a waiting list, but remember to tell them that you are calling so that you can get on that list. The sooner you apply, the sooner your name comes to the top of the list. You will have to fill out an application and make an appointment for an interview. Follow through with as many of these programs as possible.

In the Greater Grand Traverse region, the following agencies may be able to assist you with transitional housing:

  • Women’s Resource Center, 231-941-1210
  • Addiction Treatment Center, 231-922-4810
  • Miracle Manor, 231-941-9378

#4 Make sure your ID is current and available: Set up a P.O. Box for delivery of mail if possible. Many shelters and employers have strict ID requirements, and it will make things easier if you have these things ready or in process.

If your driver’s license has expired or been taken for a traffic ticket, etc., reapply or get your State ID processed. Click here for a listing of Michigan State ID-Driver’s License Requirements.

If you only have a print-out of your Social Security Card, get a new card to replace it as soon as possible. Click here for the location and hours of the Social Security office nearest to you.

#5 Make an Emergency Pack: If you have more than two bags for yourself, or one for each child, try to find someone you know who can and will hold your things for you or try to arrange for a storage unit. Almost every shelter has limits on the amount of baggage people can carry with them because they don’t have enough space. Pack the things you can take with you. Try to arrange a ride or some sort of transportation for the day you’ll have to leave. If there is anyone who can lend you some money, now would be the time to borrow it. Try to keep at least $20-$50 with you in a safe place just for emergencies. Make sure your ID is in a safe and accessible place — you will want to take it with you. Most shelters have strict ID requirements.

#6 Other Strategies: Please read General Sources of Help and Things to Do if You May Become Homeless in a Few Weeks, as these pages may contain advice that can help you in the long or short term.

Things to Do if You May Become Homeless in a Few Weeks

*If you may become homeless in a few weeks, one of the first things to do is to see if there are any prevention or assistance programs near you. Reading the sections called General Sources of Help and Things to Do if You May Become Homeless in a Few Days can assist you in finding those programs. Also review the on-line Community Resource Guide – Grand Traverse.

Other suggestions: Try not to panic. There are agencies, churches, and individuals in the community who can and will help you.

Remember that keeping a roof over your head is the most urgent need — pay your rent first or at least pay SOMETHING to your landlord. Stay in contact with your landlord or bank. Do not avoid contact because you are embarrassed or hopeless about being able to pay. Routine conversation with your landlord or mortgage holder can make a big difference in whether or not you are evicted or foreclosed on.

If you have an eviction or a foreclosure notice, contact your social services (FIA) worker and Northwest Michigan Human Services Agency at 231-947-3780 for possible assistance.

Set aside some time to think of people that you can realistically turn to — your children’s school, family, friends, your pastor, or private foundations in your community (See General Sources of Help).

Is there anything that you can sell or any services that you can eliminate that will help prevent you becoming homeless or that can provide emergency funds if homelessness seems inevitable?

When working with social service agencies, you may be told that they do not have the funding right now to help. This does not mean they will not help you, it just means they can’t do it right now. Ask when they expect to get funding and who else you may speak with. Ask if they know of any other agencies. Do not give up.

Money (Employment and Public Assistance): As soon as you see that there may be trouble with your employment (your hours are cut, you have no transportation to work, you are no longer physically able to do your job, you lost your daycare and can’t find another), check with the your local social services agency (in Michigan, this is the Department of Human Services) to find out what benefits you may be eligible for. Some of those benefits may include: Food Stamps, cash assistance for parents or disabled individuals, health care (Medicaid or State Medical), child daycare assistance, or emergency funds. Click here for contact information for Grand Traverse County Department of Human Services (DHS). Families may also be eligible for WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Program). In this emergency situation, do not let preconceived ideas of “welfare” stop you from receiving benefits that may keep you and your family from becoming homeless.

If you are still employed and your car needs repair, get an estimate and contact your FIA caseworker, your church or other local churches and/or other agencies for assistance with the repair cost. Potential assistance other than FIA: the Father Fred Foundation (231-947-2055, 826 Hastings Street, Traverse City, MI — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tue-Fri), Love in Christ (231-941-5683).

If you are employed and your car cannot be repaired, contact your Department of Human Services caseworker or apply for a Workers on Wheels (WOW) car. Contact Goodwill Northern Michigan at 231-995-7718.

If you lose your job, apply for unemployment even if you think that you are not eligible. In Michigan, click here for information on claiming unemployment benefits. If you are eligible, they may have a program to send you to school to learn new skills or to upgrade existing skills. If you become disabled, there are programs to help you. Contact Michigan Rehabilitation Services or the Goodwill Inn for information and assistance.

Food: There are many sources of assistance with food in your community. In the Greater Grand Traverse region, there are food banks, hot meals, Food Stamps, WIC, and Meals on Wheels programs. Look at the Food Sections of the Community Resource Guide – Grand Traverse.

Housing: There are several ways that you can receive help with applying for housing in the Greater Grand Traverse Region. If you are having difficulties with affording housing, you may contact the Goodwill Inn**. A case manager will provide you with a housing resource material and will schedule an appointment to assist you if necessary. Any application fees will be supplied by Goodwill. Similar services are may be available through the Northwest Michigan Human Services Agency (231-947-3780) and the Women’s Resource Center (231-941-1210). You may also contact the Traverse City Housing Commission in Traverse City (231-922-4915) or SEE-CON in Bellaire, MI (231-377-7155) for Section 8 Rental Assistance.

For additional resources click here to visit our Community Resources page

* Adapted from National Coalition for the Homeless Website

Your donation today will provide shelter, food, support and hope to area individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Donate Now!

Contact the Goodwill Inn
Phone 231-922-4890
For directions to the Goodwill Inn, click here.

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