RESOURCES TO SURVIVE THE FIRST MONTH OF UMEMPLOYMENT
Answer a few questions and find out what services are available to you from a broad range of federal, state and local resources. Through a secure personal account on the site, you can even apply online for some benefits such as cash, food and medical assistance, child care, long-term care, and drug and alcohol treatment.
WHO TO CALL FOR EMERGENCY
If it’s a life-threatening emergency, always call 911.
North Sound 2-1-1
2-1-1 is the free, easy-to-remember telephone number that’s your best “first call” to quickly find the right source of help. The central information line is staffed by trained operators who can connect you to a wide range of community services. This United Way supported program is run by the Volunteers of America Western Washington.
Dial 2-1-1 to connect to resources. Trained specialists answer your call and maintain a comprehensive database of health, welfare and recreation resources such as:
The North Sound 2-1-1 line is open
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 425.258.4227 or 800.223.8145
TTY: 425.339.3301 or 1.800.846.8517
CARE Crisis Response Line
24-hour crisis intervention counseling, suicide intervention and access to mental health emergency services for individuals and families in Snohomish, Skagit, San Juan, Island and Whatcom Counties. This program is run by the Volunteers of America Western Washington.
Phone: 425.258.4357 or 800.584.3578
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO FIND HELP
EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS & JOB TRAINING
State Worker Retraining Program
Bellingham Technical College
Whatcom Community College
Contact: Brian J. Davidson
Worker Retraining Coordinator
Statewide Training Opportunities
Matrix of professional-technical programs
Whatcom County Love INC (In the name of Christ)
Whatcom Financial Services
The Simple Dollar
The Opportunity Council
Call 2-1-1 for the closest food bank.
Bellingham Food Bank
Basic Food Benefits
Whatcom County Health Department
MEDICAL & DENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Medical Assistance Benefits
For more information or to apply online, visit
and click on "apply for services."
Community clinic that provides medical, dental, and behavioral health care services.
Phone: 360.734.2983 or 360.676.6177
Sea Mar Community Health Center
Provides low-cost comprehensive medical, dental, substance abuse, and mental health services to underserved and low-income people. Bellingham and Everson Sites
Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement
WAHA provides impartial information and assistance to individuals seeking health insurance and access to healthcare in Whatcom County.
EMERGENCY SHELTER ASSISTANCE
Call 2-1-1 for information on locations and hours.
Interfaith Coalition’s Cold Weather Shelters for this winter will be open when temperatures are below freezing, or a combo of extreme wind or snow:
Women’s Shelter - Garden St Methodist Church on the corner of N. Garden and Magnolia
Men’s Shelter - Faith Lutheran on Northwest Ave and I-5
Both are open at 5pm until 8am the next day
Transportation from certain organizations like The Rainbow Center, the Lighthouse Mission, and others will be provided to these shelters.
Cold weather shelter hotline: 360-788-7983
Interfaith Coalition Office number: 360-734-3983
MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING/SUPPORT
Call 2-1-1 for support groups.
CARE Crisis Response Line
Alcohol & Drug Helpline
Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 360.715.1563 or 877.715.1563
Employment Related Assistance for veterans.
DAV Transportation Network
Transportation to medical care for veterans who have no other form of transportation available
Vietnam Veterans of America #165
Vet Center Claims assistance, mental health counseling for combat veterans.
Veterans Relief Fund and Service Office
VA claims, family benefits, rent, utilities, food, medical
CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE
Child Care Resource and Referral
Phone: 360.734.5121 ext 227
Working Connections Child Care
For more information or to apply online,
and click on "apply for services.
FAMILY CAREGIVER ASSISTANCE
Northwest Regional Council
THANKSGIVING & CHRISTMAS ASSISTANCE
Low Income Food Baskets & Gift Assistance
Applications taken at:
2912 Northwest Avenue
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
For more information, click here.
Due to limited resources, the Salvation Army has a three-year limit. If you have been assisted for three years with the Salvation Army, you will have to find other resources. The Salvation Army would also like clients to have a referral from one of the agencies they are working with.
What you need to bring:
1. Identification and Social Security Card, or medical card.
2. Last three months income verification for the whole household: paycheck stubs, DSHS award letters, SSI award letters or a letter from your employer.
3. Identification for all other members of the household. You will need Social Security Cards, Medical Cards, or Birth Certificates.
4. Two pieces of address verification: Current utility bills, rent receipts or current rental agreement; and a phone number.
5. Salvation Army only provides gifts for children ages 0-14. Please know their interests and sizes of clothing and have the list with you when you come. (Example Kenny, age 6, Book-Power Rangers, Coat size 8, Pants size 6, shirt size Med or 6-8, Shoes size 2). Salvation Army will not take information on items over $25.
Take Charge of Your Finances
1. Prepare a household budget
2. List assets
3. Set priorities
4. Make a list of creditors
5. Notify your creditors
6. Pay what you can
7. Stay in touch with creditors
8. Stop credit purchases
9. Reduce household expenses
10. Sell what you don’t need
11. Check into other financial resources
Important: Don’t Ignore Your Mail!
Ignoring government agency inquiries or creditor requests for information may make things worse. If you don’t understand notices or bills sent to you, call the person who sent the bill.
Get the Help You Need... You’ve Earned It
You help pay for public programs through your taxes and for community services through contributions to United Way and other organizations. Now your money can work for you. Help comes from an array of services ranging from support such as individual or family counseling to practical support like help with finances.
We all need a little help at some time in our lives. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for the help you need. You paid for it. You earned it.
Getting Through It Together
Your spouse and children can feel helpless. Talk to your family and plan together to deal with problems. It helps to give each member of the family some positive steps they can take to help. By sharing the burden and pulling together, families can grow closer.
Things to do
First, explore your unemployment and WorkSource options and benefits. Some may be time sensitive. Then, stay busy.
If you’re temporarily out of work, keep yourself occupied. This is a good time to do all the things you’ve been putting off: fix the faucets, give your car a tune-up, clean out the garage, visit friends and relatives or take a community class.
Check your local newspaper for a list of activities, many of which are free. You can also check with your local recreation department, city or county website, library, community center or college.
Volunteering is a particularly rewarding way to use your time, even for a short period.