Times are Tough, Paying Your Bill Doesn’t Have to be – Money Available to Pay Winter Bills

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By: Jodie Solari

March 2020 – The pandemic begins – people get sick, schools and businesses shut down, jobs are lost.

May 2020 – The Edenville and Sanford dams fail – causing flooding, evacuations and devastation across mid-Michigan.

February 2021 – Bitterly cold weather causes high utility bills for home and business owners.

Times have been tough. But paying your utility bill doesn’t have to be. Whether you have been impacted by a job loss due to COVID-19, rebuilding from the mid-Michigan flooding or your monthly budget doesn’t quite cover your utility bill due to the recent cold temperatures – assistance is only a phone call away through 2-1-1.

You can call 2-1-1, a free service that connects people with nonprofit agencies in communities across the state, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 a year. If calling isn’t your thing, many of the 2-1-1 centers have chat and text options.

As a result of the pandemic, neighbors across Michigan are finding themselves in a tough spot and could use a hand – and yet many people are not seeking assistance.

Maybe they aren’t aware of the help that is available.

Maybe they think they won’t qualify.

Maybe they have never had to seek assistance before, and it feels uncomfortable.

Maybe they feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

Do you find yourself or know someone who fits into one of the above scenarios? Whatever your situation, it is important to know help is available. Tens of millions of dollars are available through federal stimulus and other sources. And one simple call to 2-1-1 will get you connected to the appropriate resources for your specific situation.

If you’re not ready to talk to someone about your situation you can visit mi211.org to search their resource database.

It’s also important to note that 2-1-1 can help with more than just utility bills. Maybe you’re struggling to pay your rent, put food on the table or make your car payment. 2-1-1 has contacts for all of these and many more situations.

Other help is available:

  • Apply for Sate Emergency Relief (SER) directly for bill payment assistance at Michigan.gov/mibridges.
  • Contact us at 1-800-477-5050 for flexible payment options.
  • Apply for a Home Heating Credit. Visit Michigan.gov/treasury to see if you qualify.

2-1-1 is a free and confidential service. When you call, a trained representative will use your county to connect you with the assistance you need. Last year Michigan 2-1-1 helped more than 500,000 people find the help they needed. Contact them today so you don’t have to worry about your utility bill tomorrow.   

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