United Way receives relief grant for nonprofits to help community


Everyone needs food, shelter and health care, but not everyone has access to these resources. For some, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to obtain these essentials.

In the post-pandemic world, we have the opportunity to rebuild with the resilience of individuals and families in mind, said Efrat Feferman, executive director of United Way of Monroe County.

“The theme of United Way is ‘Reimagining Our Future’ because we’ve made all of these adaptations, launched new programs and done things in new ways and we need to reimagine a better future for everyone,” said Feferman.

United Way of Monroe County recently received a grant of $ 615,960 to wrap up the response phase and support the community going forward, she said. The funding, the second grant from the Indiana United Ways COVID-19 Economic Relief Initiative, will be shared with Owen and Greene counties and half of Brown County to help their nonprofits to serve the general public.

“These funds are intended to help these non-profit organizations and meet the basic needs of our community. Make sure everyone has adequate shelter and shelter, food, health care and mental health care, ”said Feferman. “Making sure everyone is safe so that there are opportunities for child care and employment. It also supports people with disabilities and our elderly.

She said people in need of these services are often not eligible for government assistance. Poverty is defined by the number of family members and income – for example, if there is a four-member household with less than $ 20,000 in annual income, it is considered poverty, said Feferman.

“The numbers talk about the level of people in this region living in poverty and then the number of people who are just above what the government defines as poverty,” Feferman said. Plus, one in three households is right above government poverty, which means they can’t access many government programs, so nonprofits step in and help them.

One of the many services offered by nonprofit organizations is mental health. Counselors used to insist clients come in person for treatment, but the pandemic has proven virtual and unnecessary visits are easier for those who need them.

“It was about how they were going to get there, and if they have children, who is going to watch them? They actually saw with virtual change the demand increased and people were able to access it more where they previously couldn’t, ”said Feferman.

Changes such as the provision of virtual mental health support have led to an increase in demand, but money is needed to expand services. Recipients receiving grants may participate in a competitive process. The funds will be available to nonprofit applicants, and the United Way committee reviews them and decides how to best allocate the dollars to best meet the needs of a community.

“During the pandemic, these needs were exacerbated and we had to make sure that our systems in the community were strengthened. We had to adapt, ”said Feferman.

United Way’s grant money comes from the Lilly Endowment, a private Indianapolis foundation that supports organizations in Indiana. The needs served in the Monroe County community are access to food, mental health assistance, health care and shelter.

The needs fueled by the pandemic have been at the forefront of the concerns of the Lilly Foundation and Centraide. Efforts to provide food and shelter have received support from the start.

“We had to find an isolation shelter because if someone had COVID or was in contact there was nowhere to do it because the shelters are bunk beds. We needed grants, ”said Feferman. “The Lilly Endowment has also helped our food bank, which serves the entire region by donating directly to pantries.

A potential increase in evictions, another possible effect of the pandemic, is also taken seriously. Feferman said service providers are aware and once the national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures is lifted, they may see a great need for shelter and need to be prepared. Nonprofits have already started investing in rent assistance and mortgage loans.

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