When asked to write this blog about COMPASS, what we do, how we do it, etc., I kept coming up blank. After much deliberation, I decided to share a little message that could help the community we serve – well, it could be helpful to all. The following is my short message to help everyone BEFORE they need financial assistance, hopefully.
Years ago, I worked with a family coach, Tonya Jones, and she mainly helped families get through financial crises and prepare for future unpleasant events.
Her instruction to families is my message to us all – “Get Your Life.” Hmmm, what does that mean? “Get Your Life.”
Getting your life together is simply gathering essential documents and placing them in an envelope-style file folder. You know, the kind that has a snap fasten or the type that you tie a thin rope around the folder. Sometimes they come with elastic bands to secure the envelope remains closed and nothing slips out. It is the type of folder that you can keep all those crucial documents neatly tucked inside
How do you put your life in a folder or binder? Gather your birth certificates, social security cards, pictures of your driver’s license, up-to-date copies of your rental lease, and monthly copies of your ledger. Other items include employment information, copies of your tax returns, and W2s. Copies of utilities do not need to be current, but something with the correct account number, address, and name. Make a list of influential people to contact in case of an emergency. If you are renting, write down information about your landlord. Gather your vaccination records, marriage license, court documents, custody papers, etc. Get your life and tuck it neatly in a folder. The second best type of “Get Your Life” folder is a fireproof type. The first best type is anything you can find, as long as your life is enclosed.
In an emergency or if you need to leave your home abruptly, get your life folder (if you can do so without taking any life or death risks). Or better yet, give your life folder to a trustworthy person (family, friend, etc.) to keep for you, and tell others where to locate your folder in your absence. You never know when you will need all those documents that verify who you are and show the world that you are who you say you are.
Individuals not having vital information right at the tips of their fingers are at a higher risk of being displaced. Often there are funds available to assist those in need, but we have a backlog of applications because tenants have tremendous difficulty locating those life documents we need.
Recently I experienced the unexpected and found myself getting my life folder. This short message is for all of us, not only for those seeking financial help.
-Written by Robin Green, Director of COMPASS
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