Financial hardship can sometimes occur almost in the blink of an eye. That’s often the case when people find themselves the victims of natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, which destroy their homes and personal belongings. In such instances, finding emergency grant money quickly can make the difference between having a place to stay or food to eat, and having to turn to a homeless shelter. Fortunately, such grants are available, if you know where to look.
The U.S. government has various grant programs that can provide money fast in the event of an unexpected hardship. For instance, the Federal Emergency Management Administration provides checks to individuals who have fallen victim to natural disasters. The money is aimed at helping individuals secure the basic necessities of shelter, food and clothing. Food stamps and grants for emergency shelter are also made available for families facing financial hardship for any reason. Applications can be obtained through the agency in your state government responsible for administering welfare programs.
A variety of nonprofits offer hardship grants to families in need. For instance, the American Red Cross’ mission is to be there to help people when the unimaginable happens. Whether your home has been swept away in a flood or gone up in flames, your local Red Cross chapter may be able to help. While typically, a grant application must be filled out, explaining the need for immediate help can result in a fast decision and disbursement of grant money. Other nonprofits that may be able to help include the Salvation Army, United Way and Goodwill.
Help may be as near as your neighborhood church. Local churches often have grant programs designed to help their own in times of need. While these grants may be small, they can help pay for groceries, keep the heat on until warmer weather sets in or repair a vehicle so you can get to work each day. Call your local church to inquire.
When natural disasters strike, employers often take up collections to help those workers who have been hit worst. Ask your employer if any grant money is available, or can be made available, to help with your particular situation. Explain the nature of your hardship, whether it’s a spouse’s cancer or a fire that ravaged your home. Be sure to let the company know whether it’s OK for other employees to know that the grant is for you.
Cynthia Gomez has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade. She is currently an editor at a major publishing company, where she works on various trade journals. Gomez also spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.