United in Recovery

Logo for United in Recovery provided by the United Way of Frederick County.

The United Way of Frederick County announced its United in Recovery campaign to assist those with financial hardships as a result of the pandemic but who may not fall below the federal poverty line.

Ken Oldham, president and CEO of the local United Way, said the program has been brought back for its second year as the pandemic continues to stretch on.

“We hoped we’d be through recovery at this time,” he said on Tuesday. “This is really a rejuvenation of that campaign.”

The campaign is specifically geared to help those individuals and families who are “asset limited, income constrained, employed,” known as ALICE.

According to a COVID-19 Impact Survey published by the United Way of Frederick County and available on its website, ALICE individuals or households are those who “earn too much to qualify for most public assistance programs but are still unable to cover the basics of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology in the counties where they live.”

Oldham said the United in Recovery program hopes to alleviate some of the issues facing ALICE individuals and households in three ways.

First, he said the program directly helps ALICE individuals through a number of the organization’s financial security programs, offering financial counseling, access to transportation and assisting qualified households to save up for purchasing a home. Participants in the United Way’s Pathway to Homeownership program can open a Homebuyers Saving Account, earning $4 for every $1 they save, helping them save a maximum of $15,000 for buying a home.

Second, Oldham says the United Way will continue to assist a number of non-profit organizations who themselves assist ALICE homes. The United Way will help with fundraising and training opportunities for these organizations.

Finally, the United Way says it will continue to provide research, such as the COVID-19 Impact Survey, in an attempt to provide useful information for governments and businesses.

Oldham said the ongoing pandemic has largely broken much of society up into two groups: those who have felt relatively few economic impacts as a result of the pandemic (or even profited from it), and those who have suffered economic hardships.

“They have not seen the upside of this crisis and have taken the brunt,” he said of this latter group.

The United Way’s COVID-19 Impact Survey, which received responses from 584 individuals in Frederick County, illustrates some of the disparities between the two groups Oldham mentioned. The survey highlights a number of ways in which respondents who qualified as ALICE individuals struggled more than those who had fewer economic concerns.

Respondents of the survey who qualified as ALICE individuals were significantly more likely to have had to quit a job in order to continue caring for a child during the pandemic, have to dip into savings to make ends meet or struggled to meet health care needs, when compared to respondents who were not ALICE individuals.

Oldham said last year’s United in Recovery campaign raised in excess of $100,000. While he said a specific goal has not been set for this year’s campaign, he hopes this amount could be exceeded. He asked those interested and with the financial means to contribute directly to the campaign through the United Way’s website at unitedwayfrederick.org.

Follow Patrick Kernan on Twitter:

@PatKernan

(1) comment

MD1756

I would encourage everyone to donate to their favorite charity(ies) directly and cut out the middle man. More of your donation(s) will go to the actual task at hand.

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