News & Updates
BLOOMINGTON, IL (Friday, May 19, 2020) – The United Way of McLean County (UWMC) has identified a coalition of local non-profit service providers, government bodies, and other stakeholders to respond to housing assistance needs of local residents economically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A loss of employment can create significant challenges for households to cover rent, mortgage, and utility costs, especially if they are housing-cost burdened to begin with. Since the declaration of a statewide stay-at-home order on March 20, unprecedented numbers of McLean County residents have lost their jobs. For example, in April 2020, there were 4,923 initial unemployment claims, compared to only 364 such claims in April 2019.
UWMC President & CEO David Taylor explains, “It’s clear that responding to Covid-19 is going to involve consecutive waves of need for assistance. Food assistance efforts across the community have stabilized that need for now, and the next priority is providing assistance for housing expenses. We convened the Housing Assistance Coalition to address that priority.”
After a rigorous analysis to identify the impending need, the Coalition established these priorities:
1. A coordinated entry process for assistance requests with a uniform application
2. Maximizing existing funding and communicating the magnitude of the need for additional funding
3. Educating families in need about the process for receiving housing assistance through a comprehensive communications plan.
Five scenarios developed from reputable demographic and housing sources determined the need for housing assistance in McLean County over the next three months to be in the range of $1.6 to $2.7 million. More than 30 percent of this need can potentially be addressed with already-identified local, state, federal, and philanthropic funding, however a significant further public/private partnership is needed to bridge the gap to the required funding to meet this emergency.
Coalition members worked diligently to formalize a coordinated entry process designed to maximize available resources and eliminate duplication of benefits. A defining part of the process was the identification of funding restrictions for each source of funding, and the required supporting documentation for each agency. Written resource documents outlining all funding resources and processes, as well as a single, uniform application have been produced. Using this application and process, service providers include:
● Bloomington City Township
● City of Bloomington
● Mid Central Community Action
● Normal Township
● The Salvation Army of McLean County
● Town of Normal
The following organizations were part of the coalition, including the above service providers:
● The McLean County Regional Planning Commission
● St. Vincent De Paul Society
● Prairie State Legal Services
● St. John’s Lutheran Church
● B/N Welcoming
● The Immigration Project
● Eastview Christian Church
● Illinois Prairie Community Foundation
● United Way of McLean County
Communication of housing assistance resources available to families in need will remain a critical necessity. Multilingual efforts will utilize diverse channels including billboards, flyers, email communication to nonprofits, landlords, churches, etc., social media, public service announcements in traditional media, and advertising in traditional media and online.
The COVID-19 Community Care Fund was created to provide direct assistance to families in need. Since its launch in mid-March, the funds have been mobilized through a coordinated effort of more than 20 organizations, including schools, churches, businesses, and nonprofits. Anyone can donate directly to the COVID-19 Community Care Fund at covid19.dsgive.us to support meal distribution, housing assistance, and other future efforts. More information is available at uwmclean.org/covid-19-community-care-fund.
About United Way of McLean County
United Way of McLean County works to meet the most critical needs in McLean County by mobilizing efforts that will create the biggest impact in the community. With a strategic focus on youth and families, they remain dedicated to bettering the lives of neighbors in need by bringing together donors, volunteers, government, non-profits, and businesses to create sustainable solutions. Find out more at uwmclean.org.