York, PA — Launched jointly by the York County Community Foundation (YCCF) and United Way of York County, the York County COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded $56,000 in grants to ensure that families can stay in their homes as they experience hardship due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. To date, the fund has raised over $975,000 and awarded $242,000 in grants.
York County landlords and housing service agencies are bracing for the wave of economic impacts on individuals and families because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While a moratorium on eviction is currently in place at the federal, state and local level, people still need to pay their rent, while skyrocketing unemployment will make it increasingly difficult for people to manage their financial commitments.
We are proud to partner with the following nonprofit organizations in our community to help with our housing response:
- Community Progress Council, to provide budget counseling and rental assistance for those whose housing security is impacted by COVID-19. The grant will also support the creation and management of a communications plan to encourage individuals and families to seek assistance with managing their finances during these challenging times.
- New Hope Ministries, to provide budget counseling and rental assistance for those whose housing security is impacted by COVID-19.
- PA 211, to implement a focused procedure for connecting York County residents to appropriate resources for housing, utilities and food security, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the flow of information has been increasingly difficult to navigate. By providing clear and accurate information to members of our community around the eviction moratorium and other housing issues, these grants will help to educate people about actions to take now that can prevent future financial struggles. Materials will be available in both English and Spanish. For more information, visit https://www.yorkcpc.org/take-action/.
A second component of these grants is crisis budgeting assistance. The programs will include an overview of income and expenses; financial stability steps to take during the crisis and during recovery; guidance for contacting landlords, creditors and utilities; and assistance with connections to public benefits. Households that complete the budgeting courses and meet the eligible criteria may be eligible for rental assistance.
“During a time of crisis, it’s critical that we offer individuals the tools to increase their financial stability. Many people currently experiencing hardship have never faced this challenge before,” said Jane M. Conover, MSW, President & CEO of the York County Community Foundation. “The organizations receiving these grants have expertise in helping individuals with limited resources navigate these choppy waters to achieve financial stability.”
“In York County, 32% of households are ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed): People who are working hard, but living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet,” said Anne Druck, President of United Way of York County. “Our goal is not to duplicate available public housing dollars, but to add support for these working families whose household incomes are up to 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, who have no safety net in times of crisis, and are facing the impossible decisions of how to cover their bills in light of challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In March, PA 211 saw a 32% increase in the number of calls requesting housing assistance, compared to March 2019. This was higher than the increase in calls requesting food and utility assistance, which also increased by 25% and 27% respectively year over year.
The COVID-19 Response Fund was seeded by a $100,000 lead gift from YCCF’s Fund for York County, the foundation’s most flexible fund designed to address the county’s greatest needs. Additional major contributions have come from the W. Dale Brougher Foundation, Arthur J. & Lee R. Glatfelter Foundation, Powder Mill Foundation, J William Warehime Foundation, Kinsley Foundation, Memorial Health Fund, Women’s Giving Circle, Harley-Davidson Foundation, and Carol D. Wagman. Recognizing that community needs are growing and changing, this Fund will welcome additional contributions. 100% of the proceeds will to directly toward grants to local nonprofit organizations.
There are many ways to support our community in this time of need. In addition to considering a gift to the York County COVID-19 Response Fund, residents are encouraged to continue to support the charities they care about that are struggling with diminished revenue.
Although many nonprofit organizations have paused their volunteer opportunities due to recommendations on social distancing, you can still help support urgent community needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are healthy and able, please visit United Way’s COVID-19 Resource page at https://www.unitedway-york.org/covid-19, which is updated regularly with volunteer opportunities. Know of a volunteer opportunity that should be added? Reach out to Volunteer Engagement Coordinator Bryce Kruger at email@example.com.
The health and human services helpline 211 is also a powerful resource to be shared with individuals who may need additional resources for childcare, food, housing and other needs in this challenging time. Anyone can dial 211 or text your zip code to #898-211 to talk with a resource specialist for free.
For more information about the fund and other grants awarded thus far, please visit https://yccf.org/covid-19responsefund/.
About York County Community Foundation
York County Community Foundation creates a vibrant York County by engaging donors, providing community leadership, and investing in high-impact initiatives while building endowment for future generations. York County Community Foundation holds more than 575 endowed funds and assists donors and nonprofits in reaching their charitable goals. The Community Foundation granted $6.7 million in 2019 throughout York County and beyond, and stewards approximately $165 million in assets.
About United Way of York County
For over 99 years, United Way of York County has worked in the York County community to improve people’s lives. It began as The York Welfare Federation, an organization that raised funds on behalf of 17 member agencies. Today, as the United Way of York County, the mission of raising community funds remains the same, but the strategies have broadened in order to meet the growing and changing needs of people living in York County.
United Way has adapted over the years and now collaborates with other public and private organizations to engage the community in addressing the complex issues facing York County. By developing initiatives that get at the root causes of these issues, United Way and its partners find solutions and fund programs that improve the lives of one in four people in York County. Through gifts to the Community Fund, United Way is able to invest those dollars into 66 programs supported by 35 Partner Agencies. These programs address human services needs across three Focus Areas: Education, Health, and Financial Stability. This enables United Way to tackle the immediate and continuing needs of York County families and individuals and to create real, lasting change that matters to you and our community.