COLUMBIA, SC – United Way of the Midlands (UWM) announces the release of $1,280,000 in grant funding to support financial stability services and affordable housing in the community. These awards are part of a $4,000,000 total investment that also addresses access to health care and education and early literacy programs.
The financial stability investments support UWM’s strategies for reducing homelessness in the Midlands. More than a quarter million dollars will be invested in homeless prevention among families identified as struggling with housing, something that Anita Floyd, Senior Vice President of Community Impact and Strategic Implementation for United Way of the Midlands, says is a crucial part of the strategy.
“We are seeing more and more examples of families that are struggling to afford their current housing,” said Floyd. “If we can identify and address their needs early on, we can prevent them from having to seek emergency shelter for themselves and their children. It’s important to our partners and the school districts to keep students and their families in stable housing. It helps the students, who benefit from a safe and stable environment, and it keeps space available in shelters for others who need it.”
In additional to prevention services, an additional $100,000 will support homeless outreach or strategies for engaging people who are on the street into care. Another $135,000 will support families and youth in emergency shelters and a quarter million will be used to provide necessary services and temporary housing to homeless adults.
UWM is also focused on long-term solutions, specifically housing, increased income and employment. Additional grants will support the creation and maintenance of more affordable housing, assist people with disabilities secure benefits, provide job training and employment and increase people’s income through free income tax returns by expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“Homelessness is a complex issue and different populations have different needs,” said Mac Bennett, President and CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “We use our donors’ resources to reach as many people as we can with quality services, as well as to plan for more comprehensive strategies that work towards a larger goal. We are fortunate to have generous donors and strong partners, which are needed to help solve this problem. We’ve been a leader on homeless issues in this community, and we know that to get ahead our work must focus on prevention and long-term solutions, as well as helping the people who need it now.”
UWM’s leadership on the issue of homelessness includes management of the local homeless client information system, managing the local coalition’s $2.7M US Department of Housing and Urban Development housing and services grant application, and leading the effort to develop a statewide coordinated assessment system which will provide a single access point for homeless services and housing anywhere in the state.
“We are proud to share that last year, UWM partners moved over 1,100 people from homelessness to housing,” said Jeremiah Davis, volunteer Chair of the UWM Financial Stability Council. “Only by bringing together the organizations with resources, expertise and passion for solving homelessness will we accomplish our goals.”
About United Way of the Midlands
United Way of the Midlands is the most organized, efficient and accountable system for investing in the community. With more than 85 certified partner agencies, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations. For more information, please visit www.uway.org.