Neighbor-to-Neighbor Response to the rescue
There is no quick fix for the current financial situation, but with baby steps on a local level, community members can do their part to prevent friends and neighbors from falling through the cracks.
A community assessment conducted by United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) reveals that despite Summit County’s upscale reputation, serious concerns plague the community. Issues such as lack of affordable health care, lack of affordable housing, substance abuse issues and insufficient income are exacerbated by economic instability.
The rising anxiety level and impending sense of economic doom are no longer confined to low-wage workers and the unemployed. Middle class families are fighting foreclosures, evading bankruptcy and struggling to make ends meet. What was once considered necessary – Saturday night’s babysitter or a weekly salmon dish, for instance – has been branded frivolous and excessive.
The local community agencies and nonprofits that people turn to in times of hardship are not immune to the economic pinch. Fewer donations and volunteers and longer wait lists mean that families are not getting the help they desperately need.
In response to the growing demand for services and decreased availability of resources, UWSL is launching the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Response program this week. The 45-day public campaign seeks to help both families and nonprofit agencies that have fallen prey to economic perils. The program is fueled by individual and corporate donations, which are rapidly turned around to fund grants for nonprofit entities. "There is very fast turnaround, and whatever comes in, goes out," explains Judy Sobin, regional director for the Summit County United Way office.
Every Friday between Nov. 7 and Dec. 19, agencies may submit grant request submission forms. Grant requests must be between $10,000 and $50,000, and if approved, organizations will receive the funding within two weeks of their request. The two types of grants available are emergency/crisis assistance and long-term financial stability and system advocacy grants.
The program’s goal is to raise $5 million in financial and product contributions in order to provide additional grant funding and resource development to community providers. "We also want to remind people that this is above and beyond whatever funding any organization receives – it does not replace current contributions," says Sobin. For more information, see http://www.uw.org.
How to help:
Make a financial contribution to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Response campaign at any Wells Fargo or Zions Bank branch or at http://www.uw.org.
Organize or contribute to a product drive. Most-requested items include baby items, food, clothing, blankets and toilet paper. Current drop-off locations in Summit County are the People’s Health Clinic at The Yard and St. Mary’s Churches at the S.R. 224 and Old Town locations. Those interested in conducting a drive may contact Karen Wright, Community Engagement Specialist, at (801) 736-7753 or email@example.com .
Advocate the importance of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Response program. Talk to people and nonprofit agencies around the community to spread the word about the opportunity for individual contributions as well as grant requests.
Volunteer to take calls at the 211 Info Bank or donate time to United Way’s outreach programs.
How to get help:
Dial 2-1-1, an initiative that provides callers with information about and referrals to human services for everyday needs and in times of crisis. The 211 Info Bank offers access to basic human needs resources, physical and mental health programs, employment support, family programs and resource centers, support for the elderly and disabled persons, and volunteer opportunities.
Find out if you are eligible for food stamps, financial or medical assistance, and child care assistance through the state’s online application for public service programs at http://www.utahhelps.utah.gov .
Check out programs that can help with affordable housing in the Utah Bankers Association’s "Home Sweet Affordable Home" consumer guide, available at http://www.HomeSweetHomeUtah.org .
If you are struggling with mortgage payments, visit the Housing Education Coalition at http://www.hecutah.org for homebuyer education information, early delinquency intervention and foreclosure prevention. For those facing foreclosure, call the Hope Now hotline at 1-888-955-HOPE or visit http://www.995hope.org.
Enroll at http://www.utahsaves.org to set savings goals and develop strategies to meet them. Sign up for personal finance classes, stock up on saving tips and connect with a support network.
To obtain information on legal rights for immigrants, contact the Holy Cross Ministries at (801) 261-3440 and ask to speak to an immigration attorney.
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