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Basic Needs

Why it matters

Across the region, families must decide whether to pay for rent or food. Parents are weighing the cost of child care against the income they can make at a job. Seniors have to choose between paying for their heat or purchasing their needed medications.

Being able to meet basic needs including access to safe housing, adequate food and medical care, enables individuals and families to build a stable life, thus providing greater stability in our community.

What we're doing

Crisis to self-sufficiency: We are assisting individuals and families by providing them with a simple, effective ways to get connected to available resources in their area. Partner programs empower individuals with the mindset that they can make the future be better than the past. At the same time, partners track the progress these individuals make using a self-sufficiency matrix to show measurable changes to overall well-being.

Hunger Initiative: We are helping individuals and families access emergency food near their homes, while also looking at long-term food security solutions that will promote a healthy lifestyle.


Learn More

Brandy Smiles Greater Detroit Resident

Brandy Smiles had tried everything.

Pregnant, homeless, and with four children to care for after fleeing an abusive relationship, she made “thousands of calls” to shelters and agencies across Michigan, looking for a place for her family to stay.

Finally she called United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline and reached Luke, a 2-1-1 On the Go! Community Care Advocate. Serving as Brandy’s personal advocate, Luke connected her with social service agencies specializing in financial assistance and affordable housing.

This work is funded, in part, by the following partners:

Ford Foundation
Hudson Webber Foundation
Kresge Foundation
Open Society Institute
Share our Strengths
Matilda Wilson Foundation