Assistance Programs in Michigan – Get Help with Rent, Health, Bills and More

Michigan unemployment benefits are set by the legislature each year and at $362 per week, many people find it difficult to cover basic necessities, especially if it takes more than a couple weeks to find a new job.

Fortunately, there are public and private organizations and nonprofit agencies that can help if you are in a difficult financial spot. Whether you need help with your mortgage, utilities, food, health care or even childcare and other supplies, you will usually be able to find an organization near you to give you a helping hand.

Help with Healthcare and Medical Expenses in MI

Medicaid

The Michigan Medicaid program is administered through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and is available to low income individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements. In general, individuals with income at or below 133% of federal poverty levels may qualify, while children 18 and under qualify at 160% of FPL.

There are several different Medicaid programs in Michigan, including MIChild, three plans for pregnant women, an individual plan, and several family plans. Depending on your income and family situation, you could qualify for coverage under the program.

You can apply online through the MI Bridges portal or over the phone by calling the Michigan Health Care Helpline at 1-855-789-5610. You can also apply in person at your local Department of Health and Human Services.

Help with Prescription Drugs in Michigan

If you do not have prescription drug coverage and live in the state of Michigan, you may be eligible for the miRx prescription drug card. The program is free to residents, but you must meet income guidelines to be eligible:

Size of

Family Unit

MI Median Income
1 $31,200
2 $42,000
3 $52,800
4 $63,600
Size of

Family Unit

MI Median Income
6 $74,400
7 $85,200
8 $96,000
9 $106,800

To apply, download this brochure and complete the application. Return it by mail to the address provided on the application.

If your income exceeds the guidelines, you may also apply for the Michigan Rx Card. The card is free and anyone may apply; there are no income requirements. The card provides discounts on many prescription medications at participating pharmacies all across the state. To apply, visit the website and complete the online application.   

In addition, many of the free and low cost health and dental clinics detailed in the section below offer free or deeply discounted prescription medications to their patients. If you need help paying for prescription drugs, be sure to ask your provider if there is any medication assistance available.

Free and Low-Cost Health and Dental Clinics in MI

If you make too much money to qualify for the Michigan Medicaid program and no longer have health insurance through your employer, you can still get health care, dental care, and prescription drugs for free or on a sliding-scale basis at one of the many nonprofit facilities and community health clinics throughout the state.

Most clinics serve individuals regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status. In some cases, you may have to bring documentation proving your identity, income, and residence in order to receive care. It’s a good idea to call before you show up to find out what’s required, even if the clinic accepts walk-in patients. You may be asked to pay a co-pay or fee based on your income for your care.

Here are some places to get care in the largest counties and cities in Michigan.

INGHAM COUNTY – LANSING

Care Free Medical and Dental

The Care Free clinics offer free and low-cost health care services to the uninsured and underinsured in the Lansing area; they also accept Medicaid and Medicare. In addition to health and dental clinics, they also offer vision and behavioral health services. It is not an urgent care center, however, and appointments are required.

5135 S. Pennsylvania Avenue

Lansing, MI 48911

Phone: 517.887.5922

KENT COUNTY – GRAND RAPIDS

Baxter Community Center

Baxter Medical Clinic offers pediatrics and adult health care services to the uninsured and those on Medicaid. They also offer eye exams for a $5 copay. Services are by appointment only, although if you are a current patient, pediatrics walk-ins are accepted from 1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

935 Baxter Street SE

Grand Rapids, MI

Phone: 616-456-8593

MACOMB COUNTY

Community First Health Centers

There are three locations that provide sliding-scale health care services including family medicine, primary care, women’s health, behavioral health services, and maternal and infant health.

Algonac Health Center

555 St. Clair River Drive

Algonac, MI 48001

Phone: (810) 794-4917

New Haven Health Center

58144 Gratiot Avenue,

PO Box 480430

New Haven, MI 48048

Phone: (586) 749-5197

Port Huron Health Center

1011 Military Street

Port Huron, MI 48060

Phone: (810) 488-8000

OAKLAND COUNTY – PONTIAC

Ferncare Free Clinic

This is a limited services health clinic that offers free non-emergency care to individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Patients must be between the ages of 19 through 64.
  • Patients must provide a photo ID for age verification.
  • Patients have NO insurance of any kind and no primary care provider.
  • Patients are required to sign a Patient Contract as well as fill out a Health History and Information forms.

Note that they do not provide any of the following services:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases and infections obstetric or gynecological services
  • Emergency care. Patients are referred to a clinic/hospital with that capability.
  • Mental health care that is beyond the scope of a primary care provider. Imaging of any kind,i.e. x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.
  • Dental care.
  • Care requiring a specialty (podiatry, neurology, etc.). These are referred out to specialists who have a specific agreement with FernCare regarding treatment of FernCare patients.
  • Opiate or any controlled substance prescriptions of any kind.
  • Surgery, including incisions and drainage
  • Transgender transition medications.

The clinic is only open on alternating Saturdays and Thursday during limited hours.

751 Suite 2 E. Nine Mile Road

Ferndale, MI 48220

Call 248-677-CARE

WASHTENAW COUNTY – ANN ARBOR

Hope Clinics

Hope Clinic offers free health and dental care services as well as free prescription medications.

Ypsilanti Clinic (including dental clinic)

518 Harriet St

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

734-484-2989

Wayne Clinic

33608 Palmer Rd

Westland, MI 48185

734-710-6688

WAYNE COUNTY – DETROIT

Detroit Community Health Connection

DCHC operates six clinics in the greater Detroit area that offer a full spectrum of health care services to adults and children, including women’s health and family planning, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. Financial assistance is available. They also offer dental care at certain locations.

East Riverside Health Center

13901 East Jefferson

Detroit, MI 48215

313.822.0900 (phone)

Hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30am-5pm Tuesday 10am-6pm

Dr. Feleta Wilson Health Center

6550 West Warren

Detroit, MI 48210

313.897.7700 (medical phone)

313.361.3242 (dental phone)

Hours:

Medical: Monday 10am-6pm Tuesday through Friday 8:30am-5pm

Dental: Tuesday through Friday 8:30am-5pm

Dr. Sophie Womack Health Center

7900 Kercheval

Detroit, MI 48214

313.921.5500 (medical phone)

313.579.3242 (dental phone)

Hours:

Medical: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30am-5pm Tuesday 10am-6pm

Dental: Monday, Tuesday, Friday 8:30am-5pm Wednesday 9:30am-6pm

Nolan Family Health Center

111 West 7 Mile Rd.

Highland Park, MI 48203

313.369.2600 (medical phone)

313.366.5200 (dental phone)

Hours:

Medical: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 8:30am-5pm Thursday 10am-6pm

Dental: Monday, Thursday, Friday 8:30am-5pm

Woodward Corridor Family Health Center

611 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Detroit, MI 48201

313.832.6300 (phone)

Hours:

Monday through Friday 8:30am-5pm

Cash Assistance in MI

Temporary assistance is available to pregnant women and low-income families with dependent children. You must meet both income and asset requirements in order to qualify.

The cash assistance program in Michigan is called the Family Independence Program (FIP). Families who are eligible for FIP benefits must participate in a 21-day “PATH” program (Partnership Accountability Training Hope) that helps participants remove barriers to employment and financial independence.

The fastest and preferred way to apply is through the MI Bridge portal online. You can also download a paper application and mail it to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Applications are also accepted in person at your local DHHS office. You will need to provide proof of the information on your application and submit it when you apply. Here’s a list of the documents you may be asked to provide:

Source: Michigan.gov website

Once your application is accepted, you will be contacted for an interview with a DHHS caseworker. You will complete a Family Self Sufficiency Plan with your caseworker and be enrolled in the PATH program before you can begin to receive benefits. Benefits are managed through the Michigan Bridge Card, which you can use just as you would a debit card to make purchases or withdraw cash where applicable. If you have questions, contact a customer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914.

Rent and Mortgage Assistance in MI

It can be difficult to pay your housing costs when you are unemployed in Michigan. The following resources are available to help you avoid foreclosure or eviction while you are looking for work.

MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE

Step Forward Michigan is the program administering the federal Hardest Hit funds to help homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to unemployment or underemployment. The program can help you make up arrears on your existing mortgage and assist you with mortgage, property tax payments, or homeowner’s association fees.

The Step Forward Michigan Program was established by the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Non-Profit Housing Corporation (MHA) to help Michigan homeowners stay in their homes. The program provides interest-free loans of up to $30,000 which are forgivable at 20% each year, as long as the property remains the homeowner’s primary residence. This means that if a homeowner remains in their home for 5 years or more after the loan is granted, they do not have to repay the loan.

You must meet the following requirements before you can apply:

  • You have had an involuntary qualifying hardship that caused the delinquency.(Examples: Job loss, medical event, death, divorce, one-time critical housing repair)
  • You have the income necessary to sustain future payments.

You must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a Michigan resident
  • Have an ownership interest in the property and be able to sign a new mortgage lien on property
  • Occupy the property as your primary residence, presently and at the time of the qualifying involuntary hardship event
  • Have limited cash reserves no greater than $10,000.

To see if you qualify, complete this online screening questionnaire. If you qualify, you will be taken to the online application. Please note that your debt must be to one of these partner agencies; if your mortgage company or HOA isn’t listed, you may not be eligible for assistance.

If you have questions about the program or your online application, you can contact Step Forward Michigan at (866) 946-7432.

If you do not qualify, be sure to check the additional resources in this section and at the bottom of the page to see if there are other nonprofit organizations in your area that can help you with your mortgage payment if you become unemployed.

ASSISTANCE WITH RENT/EVICTION

Below is a list of organizations by city and county that may be able to help you with your rent or mortgage payments if you get behind.

INGHAM COUNTY – LANSING

Capital Area Community Services

You may be able to receive cash assistance to help with rent or mortgage payments and/or utility bills if you are in a financial crisis. Aid is limited to once in a 12-month period. You may also need to meet income guidelines to qualify for certain types of assistance.

1301 Rensen Street

Lansing, MI 48910

Phone: 517-393-7077

Email: info@cacs-inc.org

KENT COUNTY – GRAND RAPIDS

Grand Rapids Urban League

If you are facing eviction or foreclosure, the Urban League may be able to assist you with mediation, counseling, and referrals for emergency cash assistance to help you avoid homelessness.

745 Eastern Ave. SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: 616-245-2207

MACOMB COUNTY

Macomb County Community Action Centers

There are three centers in the county that can help low-income and unemployed individuals with emergency assistance for rent or mortgage payments and utilities. They can also help with food, transportation, and other basic needs.

Central Action Center:

196 N. Rose Street

Mount Clemens, MI 48043

586-469-6964

South Action Center:

11370 Hupp

Warren, MI 48089

586-759-9150

North Action Center:

30375 Clark Street

New Haven, MI 48048

586-749-5146

Email: mca@macombgov.org

OAKLAND COUNTY – PONTIAC

Community Housing Network

CHN works with renters and homeowners and their landlords or mortgage holders to prevent homelessness. They administer several different programs to offer emergency aid and also offer referrals to other organizations that may be able to provide crisis cash assistance to help pay for housing and utilities and other basic needs.

Main Office (Troy)

570 Kirts Blvd, Suite 231

Troy, MI 48084

248-928-0111

Macomb Office (Washington School – Family Resource Center)

196 N. Rose Stree, Suite 30

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

586-221-5900

Detroit Office (TechTown)

440 Burroughs St., Suite 208

Detroit, MI 48202

313-263-7903

Wayne Office

35425 W Michigan Ave, Suite 3649

Wayne, MI 48184

734-419-7538

WASHTENAW COUNTY – ANN ARBOR

Washtenaw County Department of Health and Human Services

The department administers funds under the State Emergency Relief (SER) program, which may be able to assist you with rent and other basic needs.

415 W Michigan Ave

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

(734) 544-6747

WAYNE COUNTY – DETROIT

Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency

The agency helps to prevent homelessness by working with low income and at risk families to help pay their rent or mortgage payments and utility bills. They also offer counseling, rapid rehousing, and other programs to meet basic needs.

For the most immediate service and to speak directly to a Wayne Metro representative, contact the Wayne Metro Connect™ Call Center at 313-388-9799 weekdays from 9:00am to 4:30pm.

You can also complete this online assistance form and someone will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.

The corporate office is located at:

7310 Woodward Ave.Suite 800

Detroit, MI 48202

(313) 873-6000

Help with Childcare and Education Expenses in MI

Help with childcare expenses may be available through the state Department of Health and Human Services if you meet certain eligibility requirements. Your children must be age 13 or younger and you must be engaged in approved educational, job-related, or family preservation activities.

To apply, visit the MI Bridges portal and complete the online application. You can also apply through the Michigan Department of Education. If you have problems completing your application or have questions about the program, contact the Michigan Department of Education at 866-990-3227.  

Help Paying Your Utility Bills in MI

The state of Michigan has a Winter Protection Plan that prevents energy providers from turning off utilities for low-income families and seniors between November 1 and March 31 each year. You qualify for the program if you:

  • are age 65 or older
  • receive Michigan Department of Human Services cash assistance
  • receive Food Stamps or Medicaid or
  • have a household income at or below 150% of federal poverty level.

You must make a monthly payment during those months equal to 7% of your average costs to avoid disconnection.

The Michigan THAW (The Heat and Warmth) fund offers emergency assistance with utility bills to low income families. They can also help you arrange an affordable payment plan if you are behind on your utility bills.

You can apply online at the THAW website or call your energy provider or 2-1-1 from anywhere in Michigan for more information about resources that might be available to you.

Your income must be at or below 150% of federal poverty limits (about $3,000 a month for a family of four) in order to apply. Aid is capped at $3,000 per program year and you must have made at least one payment of $225 in the past six months.

If you do not qualify for these programs, be sure to check the list of additional resources at the bottom of this page and inquire about emergency aid for utility bills.

Help with Groceries and Food in MI

Michigan Food Assistance Program (FAP)

If you meet income requirements, you may qualify for Michigan FAP to help pay for your groceries each month. There are work requirements for the program if you are between the ages of 18 and 49; individuals without dependent children can only receive FAP benefits for up to three months in any three-year period if they do not meet the work requirements.

Apply online through MI Bridges or visit your local Department of Health and Human Services. You can call the FAP hotline at 1-855-ASK-MICH or 855-275-6424 if you have any questions about the program or the application process.

Michigan WIC

Michigan WIC is a federally funded program nutrition program for pregnant or nursing mothers and their children up to the age of 5. It provides healthy foods, including milk, fruits and vegetables, cheese, cereal, and proteins, plus infant formula and foods if needed.

Sample Food Package for a child for one month:

  • 3 gallons of milk
  • 1 pound of cheese
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 36 ounces of cereal
  • 18 ounce jar of peanut butter, 16 ounce dry beans/peas or 4 cans beans/peas
  • 2 bottles 64 ounce juice
  • 2 pounds whole grains (breads, tortillas, brown rice or oatmeal)
  • $8.00 fresh fruits and vegetables

In order to be eligible for WIC, you must meet the following income guidelines:                                                                                

Economic Unit Annually Monthly Twice Monthly Biweekly Weekly
1      $21,978         $1,832 $916 $846 $423
2 29,637 2,470 1,235 1,140 570
3 37,296 3,108 1,554 1,435 718
4 44,955 3,747 1,874 1,730 865
5 52,614 4,385 2,193 2,024 1,012
6 60,273 5,023 2,512 2,319 1,160
7 67,951 5,663 2,832 2,614 1,307
8 75,647 6,304 3,152 2,910 1,455

(Revised July, 2016)

You must apply in person at your local WIC clinic. If you have questions about the program or how to apply, contact the WIC coordinator in your area.

Food Banks in Michigan

The Food Bank Council of Michigan coordinates food distribution to the state’s food pantries and shelters. Contact the regional bank nearest you to find agencies near you who can help you with food and groceries. You can also dial 2-1-1 from anywhere in the state to be connected to a resource near you.

Be sure to check the list of additional resources below if you need additional help with food or infant supplies.

Additional Aid and Resources by City and County in MI

If you are unable to find the help you need with the organizations and resources above, try one of these nonprofit organizations in your area. In many cases, they have crisis and emergency relief funds for help with utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, food, clothing, baby needs, health care services, and referrals to other agencies that may be able to assist you.

INGHAM COUNTY – LANSING

St. Vincent Catholic Charities

1020 S. Washington Ave.

Lansing, MI

Call 517-484-5395

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides material and financial assistance to families and individuals in crisis in the Lansing area. In addition to a thrift store and food pantry, they may have funds available for emergency assistance. If funding is not available, they can make referrals to other charities in the area who may be able to assist you.

KENT COUNTY – GRAND RAPIDS

Salvation Army Grand Rapids

Your local Salvation Army can help you with:

  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Emergency assistance
  • Rehabilitation
  • Worship services
  • Youth services
  • Family counseling
  • Mailing list preferences
  • Other services in your community

For emergency assistance, contact them at:

1215 E. Fulton St.

GRAND RAPIDS

Telephone: 616 459-9468

Email: betty_zylstra@usc.salvationarmy.org

MACOMB COUNTY

Samaritan House

Samaritan House provides assistance with food, housing, and utilities, as well as help with infant needs and school supplies for children.

Samaritan House

62324 Van Dyke

Washington, MI 48094

Phone: 586-336-9956

General email: samaritanhouse@sbcglobal.net

OAKLAND COUNTY – PONTIAC

Salvation Army Pontiac

The Salvation Army in Pontiac offers services to adults including food, utilities assistance, emergency aid, addiction recovery, and other social services. They also offer children’s camps and recreation centers.

Contact them at:

469 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. S.

PONTIAC, MI

Telephone: 248 334 2407

Email: john_fetzerIV@usc.salvationarmy.org

Lighthouse Oakland

This is one of the most visible and respected charities in Oakland County, offering assistance with:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Medical
  • Senior Services
  • Utilities

Call (248) 920-6100; ext. 2200 for emergency assistance.

46156 Woodward Avenue

PO Box 430508

Pontiac, MI 48342

PH: 248-920-6000

Email: info@lighthouseoakland.org

Clarkston Office:

6330 Sashabaw Rd

Clarkston, MI, 48346

PH: 248-620-6116

WASHTENAW COUNTY – ANN ARBOR

Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County

CSS offers emergency food and other material aid, as well as health care and pregnancy counseling. They are also able to make referrals to other area organizations who may be able to assist you with emergency aid.

4925 Packard Road

Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1521

Phone: 734.971.9781

Monday-Thursday: 8:30 am-9 pm

Friday: 8:30 am-5 pm

Saturday: 8:30 am-3 pm

Northside Community Center

815 Taylor St

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Phone and fax: 734.662.4462

180 W. Michigan Ave, Suite 403

Jackson, MI 49201

Phone: 517.782.4889

WAYNE COUNTY – DETROIT

Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division

Detroit Salvation Army

The following locations offer emergency assistance with rent, utilities, food, and other basic needs. Contact the agency nearest you for help.

Harbor Lights

3737 Lawton

DETROIT, MI

Telephone: 313 361 6136

Email: Jamie_Winkler@usc.salvationarmy.org

Connor Creek Corps

3000 Conner St.

DETROIT, MI

Telephone: 313 822 2800

Email: Javier_Moreno@usc.salvationarmy.org

Temple Center

3729 W. Chicago Rd.

DETROIT, MI

Telephone: 313 897 2914

Email: Artee_Lewis@usc.salvationarmy.org

Grandale Corps

11311-25 Montrose Ave.

DETROIT, MI

Telephone: 313 835 3736

Email: Lennard_Cossey@usc.salvationarmy.org

Wyandotte Corps

1258 Biddle Ave.

WYANDOTTE, MI

Telephone: 734 282 0930

Email: Brian_Reed@usc.salvationarmy.org