We are here to support our customers in these uncertain times. COVID-19 has brought changes to everyone’s life in some way and changed the way many of us do business. Like most of the country, Disability Network Southwest Michigan discontinued “business as usual” in mid-March and transitioned to a remote, work-from-home, operation. Due to the forethought of a strong leadership team, we were well-positioned to make this move. All of our staff were able to quickly and easily shift to a home-office environment and remain completely connected to our network.
Even though in-person connections with our customers have been suspended, we have been able to serve our customers remotely with ease and efficiency. Disability Network continues to provide valuable services such as connecting customers to resources in the community, consulting on ADA compliance issues, pre-employment coaching, benefits planning, providing community education and supporting disability advocacy work.
Following are just a few examples of how we have been able to help our customers during the COVID-19 shut down:
- Several of our customers living in a low-income apartment complex were concerned with the spread of Coronavirus and wanted masks for their personal use. The apartment building staff were no longer present in the building’s office and the residents didn’t know how to safely locate masks in the community. Disability Network staff connected with a local woman who was making masks and distributing them for free to anyone who needed them and arranged for a supply of masks for all of the building’s residents to be delivered to the apartment complex.
- Many of our customers’ situations have shifted due to COVID-19 which require them to update their status in programs they are already in or apply for services for the first time. Disability Network Information & Referral staff have been busy assisting customers with navigating a variety of online application systems for services such as food assistance, unemployment, State Emergency Relief, and more.
- Disability Network benefits planning staff have been answering many questions and helping customers understand how their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be impacted by unemployment, federal stimulus checks and a variety of other changes in their financial situations due to COVID-19.
- Our Nursing Facility Transition staff have been doing outreach to customers living in nursing facilities or who have recently transitioned home. Doris, who spent the winter months in a nursing facility following a medical procedure last fall, was scheduled to return home in April, however, she was now using a wheelchair and she could not return home until the doorway to her bathroom was widened to accommodate her chair. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Doris didn’t know how to go about having the work done. Our NFT staff contacted a contractor and arranged for the renovations to be completed so that Doris can return home in May.
For services during our COVID-19 office closure, contact our offices by phone: 269-345-1516 (or toll free at 1-877-674-5209 ) or email a specific staff member through the Staff page of our website.