Has Covid left you struggling financially? Have you been overeating because you’ve lost a chunk of income and you’re worried about finances? You’re so not alone.
My story of how I got free money and rent assistance from the government and more!
When Covid first hit, my business suffered a huge loss of income. I fell behind in my rent and couldn’t pay many of my expenses. My knee jerk reaction was to hide and avoid the problem by running back to the comfort of food.
After 4 months of feeling sorry for myself, re-gaining weight and watching helplessly as my rent and bills piled up, I knew I had to start finding real solutions.
In July a friend suggested that I check out grants online. That search led me to YouTube where I rediscovered free money expert, Matthew Lesko and his work. Matthew is a NYT best selling author and expert on grants with 30+ years experience.
In my 30’s, I had known about Matthew Lesko’s work helping people get grants and had even purchased several of his books, but never read them.
I began binge watching his free YouTube videos and made the decision to invest $39 to join his paid Facebook group for 3 months. As a member of his group you’re entitled to ask him to create a free report on anything you need. His free reports come with many videos, giving very specific information on what to do and how to do it in your state. You don’t have to be a member of Matthew’s group to get the benefit of his wisdom. All you have to do is watch his videos on YouTube. He puts a new one out every day.
Since July I’ve been taking steps to get relief and assistance for my family by following his advice filling out applications and calling state and local government agencies and non-profits.
I’m receiving free business counseling advice from SBDC
In addition to applying for rent relief and other necessary services like health care, I’ve also been working to grow my business. By watching Matthew’s videos, I learned how I could get free business counseling advice from Americas’ SBDC.
SBDC stands for Small Business Development Center. There are over 1000 of these offices all throughout the United States. The office locations are found in leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners. The providers are paid by the government to counsel small businesses for free and provide low cost training. Everybody wins because your profitable business brings in more cash and that equates to a bigger chunk for the government when it’s tax time.
To get help and relief for your business, check out their website and find your local providers: https://americassbdc.org/
Getting a Month of My Rent Paid and More!
In pursuit of the goal of getting rent relief and additional services, I had to fill out applications, call government agencies, and watch a lot of videos. That required me to get fiercely organized. It was essential for me to gather all my documentation together; tax returns, birth certificates, and every other document had to be sorted, labeled and saved. I made photo copies, scanned documents, created files and folders online and saved them to the cloud.
Two weeks ago a local charity approved my application for rent assistance. They have already paid 1 month of back rent to my landlord. I actually got my first response from them approving my application only 2 days after I applied and first spoke with the representative.
Since everything is audited by the government, when you deal with these private offices, foundations and charities you must be patient because it takes time to finalize all the papers and complete all the requirements.
The charity also provided a debit card for $250 which enabled me to purchase a 139 gallon delivery of fuel oil for the house. And recently I heard from another organization and they have agreed to paying $500 toward my rent. I have gotten $2550 as a result of making a few phone calls and getting myself fiercely focused. The grants just keep pouring in because I created a system of organization that makes it easier to apply for assistance. That’s my story of how I’ve been getting help by the government and why I wanted to share this opportunity with you.
I can’t begin to tell you how much more relieved I feel knowing that I can get help with this burden without going deeper into debt. You can get help too. All you have to do is be patient, organized and willing to be vulnerable.
Here are some of my best tips to get financial assistance for you and your family.
Patience: Know that this is a process that will take time. Settle in and get ready. Prepare yourself by having the right mindset. You can do this.
Be Courteous and Respectful: After you do initial internet searches, you are going to be directed to local and state agencies where you can call people directly. For best results, you are going to have to reach out and speak with government employees.
They are eager to help you. Be polite. Treat them kindly and respectfully. They are hard-working people who are getting paid by the government to help you. They are on your side. Many of them are deeply dedicated to provide outstanding service. They are non-partisan and want to do whatever they can to give you the assistance you need. The more personal and real you can be, the better chance you will have to get their help. Your biggest goal is to build relationships with these representatives. A little bit of kindness and respect goes a long way. In many cases your initial phone call or email will lead to you getting assistance by the representative in the form of helping you fill out their organization’s application. This will require some patience and focus. In the beginning this task can feel a little overwhelming but take your time and do it at your own pace.
Focus: I think my best advice to anyone applying for financial relief or a loan is to get super-focused and have their papers organized. It’s also really important to get clear about what you want to say. This is useful to send emails, request appointments online, as well as preparing what you want to say in your cold calls.
A Script for cold calling: To be sure that I get to say everything I want to say without wasting the representative’s time, I’ll write a short script.
This is sufficient to start the conversation:
Hello, I’d like to speak with someone who can give me some assistance. I am having trouble paying my bills and can’t pay my rent. I need some guidance. Can you tell me if there are any programs available to help me?
Many times you can also find an email address from a website. Use that email and make your initial contact.
Here’s an email that I sent to my local Senator’s office:
First I want to thank you for your service in the Senate. I appreciate
having you as my local representative.
I am contacting you to seek out information on Covid Rent Relief
Grants or assistance programs for residents.
In March my income was significantly reduced due to Covid. My husband
and I are currently 4 months in arrears. I am worried about being
evicted. What programs are available to offer rent grants or
assistance here in the area?
People care: The people who you will be contacting are dedicated, caring individuals. When you contact your local government offices, keep in mind the people working there are completely non-partisan bureaucrats. You will also be contacting non-profits, foundations, charities and state-run agencies. They are all paid by the government to work with people and businesses at no cost.
You may expect that your request would get bogged down with a lot of red tape and lost in the shuffle of bureaucracy. I worried about that too. That’s why I was stunned when I began to get rapid responses. The following day I received an email message and my phone’s voicemail was filled with response messages replying to my initial requests.
Get Organized: You must get all your financial papers and important documentation in order. When you speak with people requesting funding or relief you will be asked to provide an accounting of your expenses. I recommend putting this together in a list or on a spreadsheet.
You can move things along by running all your documentation through a scanner, saving it to a file on your computer and creating a separate folder for each item. For example – Tax Return, IDs, Lease, etc.
Make sure that you re-name each file to make it easy for the person looking at the documents. And set expectations by letting them know what you are sending them. For example: Enclosed you will find a copy of my lease, labelled as – Lease page 1 – Lease page 12, etc.
Maximize Google: If you look on Google under grants, you’ll probably find over 100 M links. You would surely go insane and never have the patience to find the places that can really help you. The biggest reason why is because Google gets paid by private business to bring in clients for the business.
Since the government works directly with the non-profits, city agencies and state offices, there is no middle man which means that you won’t find the relief you need by just looking on Google. These agencies don’t advertise their services because they are paid by the government. They don’t need to look for clients. Clients find them.
As Matthew’s video instructs, I set up Google Alerts to seek out grant and relief opportunities in my local area. I read the alerts that came into my email inbox and followed up with phone calls. Doing this helped me find opportunities in my area and it also helped me to stay abreast of changes in the law relative to tenant’s rights. Thanks to Matthew I feel ready to handle any situation. I now know that no matter what I’ll never be alone and that there is always help out there, I just need to put on my big girl pants and find it.
Check out Matthew Lesko’s YouTube Channel: In addition to being an expert at finding grants and free money dedicated to helping people, Matthew Lesko is probably one of the kindest and most genuine people you will ever meet. You will be amazed when you see the sheer volume of free content Matthew provides on his YouTube channel. I can’t say this enough. Thank Heaven for Matthew Lesko! Who would have ever thought that help can come from contacting government agencies and local charities that are filled with people who are actually ready, willing and able to offer us grants. If you think about it, it’s incredible! Amazing!
Lesko Help: If you love Matthew’s videos and need more personal assistance, you’ll want to join his paid FB membership group called Lesko Help. As a member of Lesko Help, you’ll get invitations to all of Matthew’s FB Lives. By starting a new thread in the discussion board, you’ll get all your questions answered. You’ll have the privilege of getting free reports from Matthew to address your specific needs. His free reports are chock full of instructional videos giving you specific guidance on how to achieve your goals.
Assistance is available: Because of Covid the government has increased the programs available to individuals and businesses to double the annual amount allocated. There are over $3 Trillion dollars available through non-profits and government agencies eager to assist you. Whether your need is to get help building your business, paying your rent, finding affordable healthcare or getting out of debt, there is a government program that is right for you. This year the eligibility earning income limit for public assistance is $100K or less for an individual or any couple who earns under $198K.
Here is a small sampling of the help available:
free debt counseling assistance
free legal assistance
rent or mortgage relief
free job training
free or low-cost medical care
free business counseling
And there’s so much more.
I’m planning to interview Matthew soon. What would you like me to ask him? Please post your question in the comments and feel free to share this post with someone who could also use some financial assistance paying their bills.
And if you’re beating up on yourself for overeating and gaining weight, take a deep breath and pause. Click the image below to join my new Facebook group and learn how to take baby steps to better health.