There are dozens of assistance programs administered by TrueNorth. Some of the main ones are listed below, but there are others. The non-profit is a regional agency that operates across over 50 counties in northern Michigan. Even if they do not provide help in your area, referrals may be given.
Examples of what are provided includes free, emergency groceries from a pantry as well as job programs from TEAM - Employment Access and Mentoring. They help students access loan interest loans, offer medical equipment to seniors and the disabled in Michigan, and also tackle the lack of affordable housing in Michigan.
People facing hunger or looking to save a few dollars can turn to the self-selection Food Pantry to complete an application. It will be reviewed, and once determined to have met income and other requirements, applicants receive a once-per-month, up to five-day supply of free healthy food.
Also available through the TrueNorth Pantry, the Food Staples Service also battles hunger in Michigan. This program furnishes basic groceries and other goods, such as fruits, oatmeal, sugar, vegetables, flour and rice, which serve to stretch a household's monthly budget.
TrueNorth offers financial aid, or referrals to it, to assist working poor Michigan residents with housing, rent and home-heating issues.
Shelter is available by their partners on a limited basis. There is help for individuals and families while a permanent housing plan is developed and carried out. The next step is financial help for low-income households with rent payments or security deposits.
The assistance will help people obtain more affordable housing for those in crisis, for the purpose of preventing homelessness. Landlord and Tenant Education workshops along with counseling will help ensure successful relations between landlords and tenants.
Other financial aid includes applications to the emPower Program. This TrueNorth service assists low-income families, the disabled, and seniors with paying heating and utility bills. The agency also administers energy conservation initiatives. Emergency Fire Assistance helps pay for rent assistance, shelter, and food to assist struggling residents in crisis due to house fires.
TrueNorth Financial literacy classes help individuals work toward the goal of becoming successful homeowners. The agency will shop people how to develop financial skills, budget and positive banking relationships. There is also information on obtaining a mortgage. The Home Maintenance Education Program provides information on keeping a property in good repair, which helps tenants and homeowners maintain balanced household budgets.
TEAM is a the TrueNorth Employment Access and Mentoring Program. This service bridges gaps that exist between Michigan based employers looking for staff and those who are looking for work. TEAM works by providing greater access to educational opportunities, support, employment services, and mentoring. Program services are personalized, individualized and flexible to fit the needs of all participants who are looking for jobs.
There is also support from the agency for clients seeking more stable careers, or working to eliminate barriers as well as other educational obstacles to securing sustainable employment. Available TEAM services include linking participants to resources throughout the area, setting goals in relation to work and finances, and counselors help the client determine a career path.
VITA, or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, provides low to moderate-income residents with free e-filing as well as state of Michigan and federal income tax return preparation. It is done in partnership with Goodwill Industries of West Michigan. The client will also get access to any state and federal tax credits for which they may qualify. TrueNorth offers this service in partnership with, Inc.
Too many low to moderate income adults are unable to read at a ninth grade level. So TrueNorth Project Literacy's will help eliminate illiteracy barriers in the northern Michigan service area, making both individual families and the greater community stronger and more vital.
Educational needs are met by free, flexible, and confidential one-on-one tutoring and English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. Teachers will help participants in achieving goals that may include finding employment, earning GED certificates or simply being able to read to their children.
The Youth Transitions Program is offered in partnership with local courts. It assists the most at-risk adolescents, utilizing a approach that focuses on addressing the unique challenges faced by each individual. Services include intense case management, often in combination with counseling in family, group, or individual settings. The transition service has the goal of giving guidance and support as participants move toward becoming valued as well as successful members of the community.
The state of Michigan Family Court includes a referral to the program in the juvenile’s probation orders. When someone has this done, TrueNorth staff members work closely with participants to resolve issues related to education, family, social interaction, relationships, employment, judicial issues, psychological services, and so on.
Lastly, the Student Loan Program from TrueNorth focuses on paying for education. The service provides low-interest loans for eligible residents who desire to improve their lives through higher education at any accredited university, college or trade school. The program requires that the applicant has explored all other financial aid options from their school and the government before seeking funds.
Since northern Michigan winters are extremely cold, the TrueNorth Coats for Kids and Adults Program works to ensure that working poor residents are provided with warm winter outerwear. This may be a coat, boots, hat, and more. There is an annual fall community coat drive that takes place at local schools, churches and libraries. The coats and other items will be gently used and/or newly purchased, and all of the winter apparel is given to those in need.
The Tools for School Program provides area students identified as being in need with all of the supplies necessary for a successful school year. Due to in-kind gift donors as well as money from the community, this will make it possible for the agency to furnish new backpacks loaded with supplies specific to classroom needs and requirements.
CCP - Children’s Christmas Programs offer an opportunity for low-income families to choose from a variety of age-appropriate books, puzzles, toys, games, clothes, art supplies, hats, mittens, gloves, electronics, and socks. TrueNorth will allow parents to give their children these goods for the holiday. The Christmas program operated in conjunction with the Toys for Tots Program, which enables the agency to make even more donated items available.
TrueNorth also will help the truly vulnerable. This will focus on medically at-risk, senior citizens, frail, and the homebound.
MedReady is a device that helps people stay independent. The focus is on seniors as well as the disabled. The program will help them remain independent in their own homes rather than in care facilities. TrueNorth will set up MedReady, which is an automated medication management device that ensures that doses are not missed.
It is often combined with LifeLink. This service is available through TrueNorth, and it is an easy-to-use, subscription-based system that summons emergency medical help. It is most beneficial for people who are prone to suffering sudden, life-threatening changes in their well-being and health. It's also capable of being programmed to remind the subscriber that it's time to take medications or about an upcoming appointment.
The Medical Equipment Loan Program provides needed items for all that need it for health reasons. It is an option for clients regardless of income level. Located at the main TrueNorth service center in Fremont, available heath care items issued vary from day to day. Typically, the program will have commodes, walkers, wheelchairs, car seats, crutches, and shower chairs to lend for personal use. Medical equipment donations from doctors and hospitals to help stock our inventory are always welcome.
It's essential to have safe, secure car seats for young children, but many low-income families (especially single moms) are unable to afford them. In an effort to help residents facing poverty, TrueNorth makes infant and affordable toddler car seats available at minimal cost to qualifying families.
For more information on the programs, TrueNorth is based at 6308 S. Warner Ave., Fremont, MI 49412. As noted, about 50 counties in northern Michigan are supported, and dial 231-924-0641.
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