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Michigan emergency assistance program - SER.

The state of Michigan has created a program known as State Emergency Relief to help qualified low income families who are faced with a crisis. The program is limited in nature, and qualifications need to be met by applicants, however it is an option for individuals and families in Michigan. Find how to get help (and phone number below) with heating and utility bills, home repairs, rent and mortgage payments, burial expenses, and relocation. In addition to that, SER may even help with other bills at the discretion of the state’s Human Service Department, ranging from property taxes to prevent foreclosures, food, and more.

The assistance program can provide help to residents who are facing a situation that threatens their safety and health, or that causes a terrible hardship. Some of the assistance provided by the Michigan State Emergency Relief (SER) is direct financial aid, and other resources are offered in partnership with charities and non-profits, like your local Community Action Organization, Catholic Charities, or the Salvation Army. It is intended to provide short term financial assistance in a crisis situation, and is not intended to addresses long term financial challenges.

Michigan Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) - This resource is mostly funded by the federal government. It is a free energy conservation program for low income, elderly, and disabled families across the state. Weatherization can help people save money on and reduce their home energy and heating bills, and the program is run by your local community action agency. Some of the conservation measures can include attic and wall insulation and ventilation, air leakage reduction, caulking, and more.

Heating bill and utility assistance - Cash grants and financial assistance can be paid out to qualified low-income households from SER. The program is targeted at those people who are faced with a disconnection of their service, or who may already have their utilities shut off.  Some of the services provided by State Emergency Relief include cash payments or grants to keep your service on for 30 days. Or funds can be used to turn back on your utilities and pay a deposit fee. Additional services provided may include payment for up to 30 days of heating oil or fuel.




Home Heating Credit - The Michigan Department of Treasury will review applications and they determine eligibility for this particular resource. The Home Heating Credit is available to all low-income households, and filing a tax return is not required. With all programs in place for any type of heating assistance, certain conditions need to be met, including household size, income, and more.

Mortgage, rent help, homeowner services - This is intended to ensure people keep their home, apartments, and do not go homeless. Resources offered can help pay property taxes and fees, home insurance, mobile home rent, and more. One of the services in high demand from State Emergency Relief is for house payments. This can include money to pay mortgage, including interest, principal, legal fees and escrow for property taxes and homeowner insurance. The program is capped at $2,000 by Human Services.

Payments for heating oil and fuel - Another option is focused on paying for heating expenses, no matter the fuel type that is used. A maximum of $850 can be paid out for heating oil or fuel during the winter. Of course all aid depends on state budgets and funding of the program.

Relocation Assistance - If you need to move into a new home or apartment, or are homeless, the state of Michigan Human Services can help for some or all of the following. Funds can pay for security deposits, rent, moving expenses, and arrearage.

Burial Services - If you can’t pay for a burial or funeral arrangement, the SER program can help. This is for the indigent and very low income, and there may be help with burial expenses on a family member. Get funds for cremation, burial costs, or other arrangements.





Home Repairs - Aid is used to fix and improve unsafe conditions. Some of the repairs that can be paid for include repair or replacement of a septic systems, non-functioning furnace, or hot water heaters.

Applying to SER in Michigan

To learn more or to apply for assistance from SER, contact the State of Michigan Department of Human Services or your local community action agency.

By Jon McNamara

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