United Way of Santa Barbara County recently announced that it has secured more than $1.2 million for its "COVID-19 Joint Response Effort" responsible for providing individuals and families in Santa Barbara County with assistance grants. To date, more than 800 households – representing 2,600 individuals – have received assistance for the payment of rent and basic needs due to loss of employment.
Steve Ortiz, president and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County, said that due to the longer-term effects of the pandemic, additional financial needs have increased among the most vulnerable populations.
“As unemployment rates climb, many are at risk of losing their housing. Top concerns for families are paying rent and purchasing food and medicine," said Ortiz. "We continue to actively raise funds to provide additional support to those in need, particularly individuals who may not have qualified for federal stimulus checks.”
In addition to grants for residents, United Way reports that in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Hutton Parker Foundation, more than $3 million has been raised with $1.3 million in grants provided to 94 local nonprofit organizations to help them meet the immediate and near-term needs of the community.
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will launch its children’s free summer lunch program next week, but due to COVID-19 safety recommendations, lunches will be offered in a “grab-and-go” style for pickup and eating off-site, an organization spokeswoman said.
The distribution of assistance grants to individuals and families are being handled in partnership with Family Service Agency, and are being done so on a rolling basis for as long as funds are available, United Way stated.
Applications are currently being reviewed and remote interviews are being conducted with applicants to verify information and needs.
United Way is encouraging Santa Barbara County residents in need, to apply for funding as soon as possible. Undocumented individuals are eligible to apply for funding.
The food program ensures youth countywide have access to free, healthy lunch throughout the summer months.
Funding priority goes as follows:
- Basic Needs for individuals/families experiencing hardship securing or maintaining basic needs (e.g. food insecurity, need for medical care/equipment, medications, access to mental health services etc.)
- Santa Barbara County individuals/families experiencing loss of wages or employment due to business closures, social distancing ordinances etc.
- Individuals/families who have experienced hardship due to unexpected childcare/education needs and expenses
To apply for assistance, visit unitedwaysb.org/covid19
Donations to United Way of Santa Barbara County which go to support individuals and families, can be made online at unitedwaysb.org/covid19 or to the Santa Barbara Foundation at SBFoundation.org/covid-19responseeffort.
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