Real Help for Hard Times: Weathering the Economic Storm


Struggling to make ends meet in the economic storm?  United Way of the Mid-South and LINC/2-1-1 can help you find the information you need!

Facing a job loss can be a very scary experience.  It is often hard to know where to turn or what to do first.  All of us need help at one time or another.  Fortunately, there are some agencies and organizations which may be able to help you deal with some common problems.

LINC/2-1-1 and United Way of the Mid-South have information about area agencies and services that may be able to help you weather the economic storm.

Just click on the links below to get information about different types of information and assistance.  In each section you will see information about key area services, and possibly links to the web sites of state or local non-profit or government agencies that provide those services.  This is not a comprehensive list. 

  Call 2-1-1 (or our alternate numbers, 901-415-2790 or toll-free 866-735-7211) during our operating hours or search our LINC/2-1-1 Community Information database at for help in finding resources.

Please be aware that some programs may have waiting lists, have very specific eligibility criteria, or may be at capacity at the time of your call. 

Clothing/Household Goods

  Numerous area thrift stores provide a wide variety of options for finding quality used clothing and household goods for children and adults. Look in the Yellow Pages under thrift shops or call 2-1-1 for contact information for area thrift stores.

Also, many area organizations and faith-based groups provide free clothes closets and/or can sometimes provide household goods.

  Call 2-1-1 or search our online database at  using clothing or household goods as a keyword.

Credit Counseling/Money Management

  Getting a realistic picture of your financial situation is crucial.  Local non-profit budget and credit counseling agencies often provide services that can help you:

You may also want to meet with someone from your employer's Human Resources office and/or union before your job ends to get information about potential pension, severance payments or other benefits to which you may be entitled.

Here are a few agencies which can help:

You may be able to restructure or reduce your student debt from school loans through two federal loan programs.

  Call LINC/2-1-1 for additional referrals for free or low-cost credit counseling and money management assistance.





  There are some handy local resources available for job-seekers, including:



According to the TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 

"Unemployment insurance benefits provide income to individuals who have lost work through no fault of their own.  The benefits are intended to partially offset the loss of wages while an unemployed worker searches for suitable work, or until his employer can recall him to work....

You do not have to be totally unemployed to receive unemployment insurance benefits.  You may have eligibility if you still have a job, but your employer has temporarily reduced your hours of work, or if you have lost your regular job, but you have some work at which you earn less than your weekly benefit amount."

Residents of Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton counties must file in person at their local unemployment office (Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 4:30 pm). 

In other TN counties, you can file online at  or call toll-free 877-813-0950 (Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 4:30 pm).


Volunteering can help build skills, add to your resume and increase job contacts, as well as decrease the isolation that unemployment can bring. 



Financial Assistance

  Direct financial assistance for needs such as rent, mortgage, utility assistance, health care or prescription medication is often limited even in better financial times. Such programs also usually have very specific and limiting eligibility criteria. 

  LINC/2-1-1 works to keep updated on current availability of such resources and eligibility requirements.  Please call 2-1-1 for current information on direct financial assistance.  

Contact area houses of worship to see if they have a Benevolent Fund that can assist.  Be aware that some congregations are only able to assist their own members.

Ask family and friends if they can help with a financial gift or loan, either once or on an ongoing basis.   Consult with a credit counselor about your options; see the resources listed under "Credit Counseling/Money Management" or call 2-1-1 for referrals.

Other possible options include:



  Food assistance can include government programs such as the Food Stamps and Commodity Supplemental Food programs, and local programs such as food pantries or discounted food programs.

  For information about other emergency food options (food pantries, meals), please call 2-1-1 or search our online directory at  using keywords such as emergency food.

Health Care

  Finding affordable health care can be challenging.  However, there are some good local resources.  Listed below find some affordable general health care resources; please call LINC/2-1-1 for more specialized health care needs.

Clinics/Primary Health Care


Prescription Drug Assistance

There are some local and national organizations which provide limited one-time financial assistance for prescription drug medication, but funding is often limited or unavailable and the eligibility criteria may be quite specialized. 

  Please call 2-1-1 for availability of one-time direct financial assistance for prescription medication.  Here are some possible resources for more on-going prescription drug assistance: 

Specialty Care

Other Resources

The Memphis Public Library & Information Center has an extensive library of reference and circulating materials in multiple formats on a wide variety of health and wellness topics in the award-winning Health Information Center in the Business/Sciences Department,  Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue, 3rd floor.   

  For information about the resources in that collection, call 2-1-1 or the Business/Science Department at 901- 415-2734.  The same department also provides an excellent online resource, the Virtual Health Information center with links to local and national health information and a free monthly e-newsletter, at .

For other specialized services, including counseling and mental health services, substance abuse and sobriety resources, and support groups, call 2-1-1 for specific referrals. 


  There are numerous non-profit and government agencies which can provide free housing counseling to help you find affordable housing, find low-cost mortgage refinancing options, or try to avoid mortgage foreclosure.

  Call 2-1-1 for referral to numerous THDA-certified mortgage counseling agencies or HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in our area or for other housing-related referrals.  You can also search the LINC/2-1-1 online database at using keywords such as housing counseling , HUD approved housing counseling agencies or shelters.

Affordable Housing:

Home Ownership, Housing Counseling and Mortgage Foreclosure Counseling:



Legal Issues

Sometimes in challenging situations, people need legal expertise.  Here are some low-cost legal options:


Other Online Resources

  Here are some other online resources which may also be helpful:

AFL-CIO/Working America - Unemployment Lifeline

US Government - Gov Benefits website

No Paws Left Behind - pet resources

State of Tennessee - Help for Tennessee Families

TN Library Association - Helping Patrons through Tough Economic Times
Remember also that your public library can offer many invaluable free resources -- books and information, free programming, access to public computers,  job and career information, and many other services.  Check it out at your local public library!  Librarians are there to help you find the information you need.

US Chamber - Business Civic Leadership Center -Together for Recovery

  Call 2-1-1 or search the LINC/2-1-1 Community Informtion Database online at  for other websites and resources.