It can be difficult to ask for help. When unexpected circumstances happen, it’s comforting to know that there is a place to turn to, and that you are not alone.
That is the reason John* picked up the phone and called Mile High United Way’s 2-1-1 Help Center when he needed a place to turn. One unexpected expense of $400 can move a family from self-sufficiency to financial emergency, * and this Vietnam War veteran was $600 away from being on the street.
“I’m not someone who asks for help,” he said as he spoke with a 2-1-1 navigator. “When I was in the war, I knew I was fighting for our home. I was doing it for the ones back home. Now, all I want to be is at home – to have a home.”
John found himself in a situation where he needed $600 to stay in his apartment until his pension kicked in. And that’s when he called 2-1-1.
“Everything feels like it’s falling out from under me. At one point I was really down – I spoke to a suicide prevention hotline, and they referred me to you,” he tells his 2-1-1 navigator. I just need help for the next 3 weeks or I will be kicked out. I’m a fighter, I don’t want to give up. I want to be self-sufficient again, and today I’m asking you for help.”
To which the navigator responded and let him know that, “We’re going to work together to connect you with the right resources that will assist you with rent and transportation. We’ll get this done.”
Twenty minutes into the call, John had resources connecting him to rent, utility, financial, transportation, and health assistance.
Financial services were found specifically for veterans, those 65 and older, and those who are disabled. A transportation service was located that provides door-to-door service for those who are elderly and/or disabled. Even though he didn’t ask for it, the navigator provided him with a home health care service that he could benefit from. He was even connected with the Salvation Army which could provide help specifically with rent and utilities.
John told the 2-1-1 navigator, “You’ve given me support when I didn’t know where else to turn. You’ve given me hope that I will have a place to call home. You’re worth it. Everything you’re doing is so worth it. Thank you.”
The Mile High United Way 2-1-1 Help Center is a statewide community resource connecting individuals and families to critical resources including food, shelter, rental assistance, childcare, and more. Learn more about 2-1-1.
*client’s name and photo have been changed for privacy
*Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Report on Economic Well-being of U.S. Households in 2015