Before the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way’s ALICE Report showed that 40 percent of Southeastern Michigan households were just one missed paycheck or unexpected doctors bill away from financial crisis.

The impacts of the pandemic have put these households — and many others — into a catastrophic situation where even the most basic necessities like steady income, housing and food are out of reach. And this impacts families in every city in our community, from Detroit and Pontiac to Birmingham and Plymouth.

If people can’t meet their basic needs, they’ll never be able to create stable households. That’s why United Way works to ensure families in our region have access to programs and services that help them meet their basic needs. With our partners, we help families get out of crisis — and stay out.

Our 2-1-1 helpline is the gateway to resources to help families meet their immediate needs like access to food and shelter, connections to financial coaching and job training, and help to avoid utility shutoff or eviction. It’s also the connection to programs that help families address the factors causing instability, like a lack of stable income or affordable quality child care.


We lead efforts in Southeastern Michigan to fight food insecurity and increase access to food that is nutritious and affordable.

We support Meet Up and Eat Up summer meal sites with grant funding, volunteer support and technical assistance to increase the number of children receiving free meals and the quality of those meals. We work with school districts to introduce new school breakfast models and increase the number of students eating free breakfast through our Better With Breakfast initiative.


We fund efforts to help families access programs that keep their homes safe, lower housing expenses and protect them from eviction and foreclosure.

Through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program, we also provide utility assistance to individuals and families who are struggling to afford their utility bills or facing shutoff.

Health care

We fund and partner with agencies that work to increase access to health care, including mental health, case management and direct medical care.

We work directly with local health departments and other government agencies to track the health needs of people in our region and align our work and funding with those needs.

Financial Empowerment

We empower families to become financially stable through our Learn It, Earn It, Keep it, Grow It strategy. We help individuals gain the skills necessary to get and maintain living-wage jobs and improve their ability to make the most of the money they have, while building their savings and wealth. We also support programs that provide free tax preparation assistance to families, helping them keep more of what they earn.

Our Greater Detroit Centers for Working Families provide one-on-one coaching and support to help people grow their income and prepare for the future.



people connected with utility assistance in fiscal year 2018-19


more children eating free summer meals through Meet Up and Eat Up in 2019


referrals made to services through our 2-1-1 helpline in fiscal year 2018-19

$4.6 million

invested in 39 basic needs partners in fiscal year 2018-19

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