Down But Not Out - Black Enterprise

Down But Not Out

PocketsBrokeMoneyNavigating a financial rough patch?

If you find yourself in need, or someone you know is in need of home, career, or health assistance, check out this roundup of low-cost and free programs that could be your lifeline.


For men on the job hunt and in need of a little assistance, Career Gear may be just the resource you need. The nonprofit organization provides mentorship and proper professional attire to men heading out on job interviews. Each participant receives one suit for an interview. Once employed he is encouraged to become a member of the alumni program, which is designed to provide relevant information, peer support and networking opportunities that focus on promoting job-retention and career advancement in a supportive environment for men working at least 30 days.

For women navigating their way through the job market, Dress for Success provides similar assistance as Career Gear. The organization provides professional clothing, employment retention programs, and ongoing support. Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and additional apparel–up to a week’s worth of clothing–when she becomes employed.

Retraining programs are also aplenty. Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, those out of work may qualify for funding for college courses, workshops or professional development classes. For more information on these retraining programs visit One-Stop Career Centers.


With Old Man Winter brusquely knocking on the door, making sure there’s adequate heating throughout the season can top the priority list. For families in danger of a heatless winter, check out the government-sponsored Low-Income Home Energy Program. The program assists households with electricity, gas, and oil expenses, even if they are included in rent. To be eligible, applicants cannot exceed 60% of the state median income. For more information or to apply click here.

Auto maintenance costs can mount to thousands of dollars, leaving those heavily reliant on their cars stranded. If you’re in need, check out a local vocational school, high school, or auto repair school. Scout out institutions in your area and call to check out costs for prices and services. Check out this list of automotive schools.


Aside from costly doctors visits, medication can have some choosing between dinner and their health. But pharmaceutical companies offer low cost or free medications for those who are financially disadvantaged. To find out if you are eligible or what medications are available under these programs check out RxAssist’s Patience Assistance Program Center.

For parents with who have uninsured children, Insure Kids Now is a national campaign to link the nation’s uninsured children — from birth to age 18 — to free and low-cost health insurance. The program puts families in direct contact with their own state’s children’s health insurance program or via its toll-free hotline 1-877-KIDS-NOW.

Renita Burns is the Editorial Assistant at