Tag Archives: housing

Need help meeting a basic need? Call 2-1-1!

By ACSET Community Action Agency

Sometimes life can bring unexpected challenges. The loss of a job, unexpected medical bills or a house fire can make a financially stable family face homelessness. Unfortunately, unexpected emergencies can happen at any time. There are many organizations in Kent County that provide assistance in these situations. But how do you know whom to contact? What if you need help with food and paying utilities and rent all at the same time?

There is one resource that connects residents to more than 2,900 services in Kent County. The Heart of West Michigan United Way’s 2-1-1 database is the first place families should go in their time of need. Information can be easily accessed by calling 2-1-1 anywhere in Kent County, emailing HWReferral@incontactemail.com or online at: http://www.referweb.net/hwmi/. They even have their own app available for androids and iPhones — just search Kent 2-1-1 to download.

Whatever your situation, you are not alone. In Kent County, it is estimated that 39% of households are struggling to afford basic needs. Last year our local 2-1-1 answered 65,000 calls for help. Most calls are for assistance with:

  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

The database also offers resources specifically for Veterans and information on employment services, education and arts & recreation.

Your Community in Action! is provided by ASCET Community Action Agency. To learn more about how they help meet emergency needs and assist with areas of self-sufficiency, visit www.communityactionkent.org

Guiding Light’s ‘Back to Work’ program a smart, strong solution for financial independence



Finding work can be hard enough, but just imagine how difficult it would be if you had an addiction. This is a fact of life for many folks.


Guiding Light’s Back to Work program provides a short-term stay for men who are employed or seeking full-time employment, allowing them to save money while they look for permanent housing. Other programs assist in addiction recovery, finding full-time employment and affordable housing.


Men in the program sleep in a men’s dorm and eat meals at Guiding Light. They receive job coaching, training in techniques for searches, and daily encouragement and advice. They have use of a computer lab for online job searching, email and résumé preparation. Phones are also available for local calls. As needed, they are provided with transportation and prerequisite necessities to accept a job offer.


The Back to Work program is a smart and strong solution for promoting financial independence through work. Each year, millions of dollars are funneled back into the local economy because of the emphasis Guiding Light has on helping men find and hold steady employment.


Guiding Light receives no government funding or insurance. All programs are funded by individual donors.


Each donation provides a man with the tools and resources to rebuild his life and re-engage with community.


Guiding Light is located at 255 Division Ave. S in Grand Rapids. For more information, call 616.451.0236 or email info@lifeonthestreet.org.