CLIENT INFORMATION

 

Call 276-466-8292 and leave a message for any needs. Please only call once to reduce the number of voicemails we have to sort through. This is the fastest way to get our help. The website, email, and texts can be delayed for various reasons, calling is BEST.

 

Our phones are off, and doors are locked to the public during the pandemic due to an extreme shortage of staff. We must protect you and our volunteers so that we can operate at full capacity once it is safe to do so, and safe to invite you back into our building.

 

Every call is kept, every voicemail is written down and kept for at least six months. This is important in case you missed the paperwork deadline, and reached out for help.

 

The paperwork we require helps verify (vet) need, discover any areas where you may be financially exploited (taken advantage of) inadvertently or otherwise, and discover other needs you may have. Paperwork must be submitted within the three days given, or you will have to wait 30 days to make a new request due to the volume of people needing help. Meet that deadline! Email for help if you are struggling with the paperwork.

 

DO NOT WAIT TO BE DISCONNECTED OR NEARLY DISCONNECTED!

 

There are so many people in need, we cannot jump line with their request to prevent an immediate disconnection for someone that did not plan ahead. Once a disconnect notice is given, you still have about two weeks to pay. Call us immediately when you get a utility bill you know you cannot pay, or as soon as you get a disconnect notice, not on the door, but in the mail. We want you to be proactive, and give us as much time as possible to help. You will also need time to get your paperwork in. Waiting until the last minute is the worst plan, it does not get you help faster.

 

Required paperwork and utility bills must be emailed to:

documents@bristolfia.org with your name in the subject line.

 

If there is no name in the subject line, it will not be processed. Many people have bills in other names besides their own. We can usually help under those circumstances as long as it is not in a deceased person’s name. We have to match your email with a name on the call list from voicemails. Do not randomly send a bill, you must call and request help with your name and best phone number to be called.

 

We call twice, please answer your phone. We do not have the staff to make calls day after day trying to reach you. We will call twice. If you have left a message asking us for help, you WILL be called.

 

Requests for rental assistance must be made through your landlord and emailed to:

programs@bristolfia.org

 

The following information must be included:

How much regular monthly rent is

How much they owe at the time of referral

What time period they owe for (how many months)

Late fees due

Eviction notice given or pending

If they owe more than one month, DO NOT refer regardless of how little the amount because our policy clearly states no more than the current month due. (This may be considered during the pandemic)

 

NO appointments will be given after the third week of the month. If people have not paid their rent by the third week, they will soon have another month due making it very difficult to get caught up. (All rent requests are looked at by the director during the pandemic)

 

 

We have admitted more new landlords during the pandemic than during the entire time I (director) have been at BFIA. If your landlord is not approved, have them email me at:

programs@bristolfia.org

 

They will need to fill out a short application that I will provide, and agree to our email process to participate. The email process protects all of us as emails are date and time stamped. We all make mistakes including us, email helps us correct any mistakes that may occur by doing a quick search in case something was looked over or missed.

 

We use a “Whole person” approach with all requests. You are not your bill(s), but a person with many needs. We recognize that anyone asking for help rarely has only one need, especially during the pandemic. Since we are looking into your need(s) and your paperwork is already submitted for an appointment, we will consider all your needs and either help ourselves, or refer you to someone that can help.

 

Food, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene, and diapers are available Tuesday – Friday. You MUST have an appointment though so that we can ensure social distancing and safety practices. Once given an appointment, you must wear a facial covering/mask. Come to the side door, ring the bell (blue button on small box to the right of the door) then step off of the porch and wait for us to answer. We appreciate your patience, it is a large building and takes a while to answer if we are not close by. You will have an appointment, so we will be expecting you.

 

Like us on Facebook to get updates as things change, to learn about new resources, and gain other helpful information. Liking us on social media does not mean you are a client necessarily, for all anyone else knows you could be a donor. We have plenty of connections that are many times both.

 

Common paperwork needed to be vetted/verified for need:

(this is specific to each person’s circumstance though)

ID on person requesting

Social security cards on every person in the household

Proof of income from all sources (if on your bank statement, that will be all)

Paystubs

Food Stamp Award Letter

SSA Award letter - unless direct deposit to your bank/card account

Bank/financial statements for two months – you will be told which time periods. These are full statements (all pages) that are official from the financial institution. These statements can include Direct Express (SSI/SSA), TANF or Families First, Unemployment debit cards, online bank/debit cards, any place (including employment) that deposits money into any kind of account for you. May also include Cash App/Venmo, or PayPal if you have an online business or otherwise have income through those channels.

Check your statements monthly whether you get assistance with us or not! We see quite a bit of fraudulent activity, or mistakes of overdrafts, and other accounting errors especially for folks that are obviously not checking their accounts.  All of the types of accounts mentioned above have been, and can be hacked. Be a good steward of your money. If we discover fraud on your account(s) we will assist if you like. We have at times recouped several hundred within a month period for several individuals. Watch for auto charges/auto drafts as well. I strongly caution you to watch your accounts. For example, if your account is being drained about $275 per month for several months this adds up quickly. This is a real life occurrence we discovered for someone requesting help.

 

We love you. We respect you. We will do our best to help.

If we cannot help with a voucher, it is because we could not verify need. However, we will still help with recommendations on how to make your situation better, and quickly.

 

We pray for each of you! Let us know how we can help!