United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, Presented $150,000 of
Neighbors Helping Neighbors Grants to Community Organizations
Funds help provide a safety net to the 38% of Connecticut households in financial hardship.
These grants provide local organizations with critical funding to address the needs of families struggling to make ends meet in Coastal Fairfield County. Between 2007-2014 the cost of basic household necessities increased by 14%. This placed additional burdens on residents who were already struggling to pay rent, buy groceries, pay for basic transportation, medical bills and childcare.
In Connecticut, 1 in 3 families are challenged to maintain a Household Survival Budget. For a family of four that is a total of $70,788 and for an individual an annual salary of $22,658. These households are known as ALICE families (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). For many of our neighbors, this causes them to live month to month and makes them susceptible to financial hardships when faced with unexpected expenses such as a medical emergency or care repair. ALICE households generally have to make tough choices when deciding what bills to pay, which sometimes causes them to go without essential items like healthy food and critical medications.
Families who fall below the federal poverty level in Connecticut, can find assistance through programs such as Husky (Medicaid), Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Food Stamps, Low-Income Housing Assistance and Low-Rent Public Housing. These services are funded by the Federal Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP), of which United Way is the managing agency, ensuring an additional $258,315 in resources reach the most vulnerable families in Coastal Fairfield County.
“For our neighbors who are not eligible for Federal assistance these grants ensure they can pay the rent and avoid homelessness, have heat in the winter and keep the lights on year round, and that they have enough food to reach the end of the month and not be hungry, said Cathy DeCesare, Chief Strategic Officer, Community Impact Lead. “We know that the stress and challenges of financial insecurity can cause long-term health issues especially for children. When children do not have stable housing, nutritious food or enough food, they struggle to learn and achieve in school, and academic achievement is a critical marker in breaking the cycle of poverty.”
Organizations receiving 2018 Neighbors Helping Neighbors grants include: Action for Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. (ABCD), Alpha Community Services YMCA, Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, Inc., Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, Fairfield Department of Human Services, Green Village Initiative, Homes with Hope, LifeBridge Community Services, Monroe Food Pantry, Open Door Shelter, Operation Hope of Fairfield, Park City Initiative Corp., Person-to-Person, Sterling House Community Center, Summerfield United Methodist Church, Thomas Merton Center, Town of Monroe.