As 2021 draws to a close, the holidays and the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 mean some people are struggling with depression, financial strain and mental health issues, all made worse by the stress that the end of the year ushers in.
Metro Detroiter Julie Kennedy Carpenter, a former social worker who is now working on a degree in education, offers a helping hand through her resource website, Julie’s List. Carpenter said, “The website started during the late 2000s, due to the recession at that time. It became more and more apparent to me that middle-income and higher-income Michigan residents had absolutely no idea of where to get help as they were losing their jobs, homes, et cetera.”
Fast forward 12 years and her website now serves the entire Southeast Michigan community. It lists resources throughout the area, including those providing clothing, emergency housing and financial assistance.
Carpenter said the website makes a big impact on users, often helping people from the comfort of their own homes. She says users find the privacy of the website comforting because it avoids third parties and helps them quickly find the resources they need.
The site has been featured in USA Today and Discover Downriver, and has inspired others to create their own localized resource websites as well.
The Wayne County Resource Champions, a group of individuals that provides help, has partnered with Carpenter to help others access available resources. These champions include nurses, librarians, social workers and they say they are an “outcome oriented & responsive network” that includes collaborative barrier-busters, social justice activists, system-navigator customer service advocates and change agents.
Shaun Taft is a champion in this “network of front-line, human service colleagues,” who has worked closely with Carpenter to get resources to people within the community and help to ensure people are getting the help they need.
“Julie’s List came out of some work she was doing in college for an assignment and she has just kept it up,” said Taft. “This has been her calling and she believes in it. She follows up and she’s supportive. She doesn’t have a lot of funding or a big name behind her, but she’s got a really solid reputation.”
Carpenter says, “I really have connected with others like myself working in a very wide variety of social work fields. I understand their struggles and they understand what I am doing to help them.”
To access this list of resources, go to the Julie’s List website at www.julieslist.homestead.com or Julie’s List Website on Facebook. Wayne County Resource Champions can be reached by contacting Shaun Taft at firstname.lastname@example.org.