Barrier Busters


Barrier Busters is a group of 90+ social service agencies committed to improving services for Washtenaw County residents in need. Each member agency identifies a “Barrier Buster” who is an agency's point of contact and facilitates collaborative case management between member agencies.

To serve residents in need, member agencies have access to the "Barrier Busters Emergency Unmet Needs" Fund - public and private funds that provides social workers, case managers, and other direct service providers access to emergency assistance funds for clients. 

This fund provides agencies an efficient way to prevent evictions and utility shut-offs; and assist with other emergency costs that threaten residents’ housing and financial stability. Residents in need work with their existing provider to access financial assistance.

For every dollar the County invests in Barrier Busters, we leverage three additional dollars in emergency funding. These funds prevent costly evictions, health emergencies and save local governments and taxpayers money.


Barrier Busters meet monthly:

  • share program & agency information
  • consult peers on shared and/or difficult cases
  • educate peers about best practices and new strategies for addressing barriers to service 


Barrier Busters works with residents requesting financial assistance to ensure they will be able to sustain their housing and utilities after assistance is provided.

We institute a six-month evaluation of approved financial requests; and have consistently seen positive outcomes for households we assist since beginning this evaluation in November 2009.

Activity Summary (January 2018 - December 2018)

  • Funding Distributed: $447,549.98
  • Number of Requests: 584
    • Move-in Costs: 38
    • Eviction Prevention: 92
    • Utilities: 383
  • Location of Requests:
    • Ann Arbor: 135
    • Other Community: 24
    • Ypsilanti: 425

Outcomes Summary  (January 2018 - December 2018)

  • Residents Current on Rent 6-Months Post Assistance: 87%
  • Residents Current on Utilities 6-Months Post Assistance: 70%
  • Residents at Same Location 6-Months Post Assistance: 80%


If you have an immediate need, call the 2-1-1 Helpline.

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