In a news release issued by the United Way on Tuesday afternoon,
nearly 30 area non-profits, private businesses and governmental units have announced the launch of a fund to support human service needs during the COVID-19 viral pandemic.
Tuesday morning, Indiana’s department of health announced a second death due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus and six additional confirmed cases in the state of Indiana. That brings the total confirmed cases in the state to 30, double the number three days ago, with just 159 people tested statewide.
Area response to the COVID-19 pandemic since late last week has included grass roots efforts to organize resources by local activists, among others a Facebook group called Bloomington Mutual Aid for COVID-19.
The pandemic’s impact is given a natural-disaster type scale in the United Way’s press release, comparing the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to the United Way’s Tornado Relief Fund of 2019, as well as United Way’s Flood Relief Fund of 2008.
The fund is launching with $250,000 of support from its partners, according to the press release. The government partners include Monroe County, the city of Bloomington, Ellettsville, Stinesville, and the townships of Perry, Bloomington and Van Buren.
One of the fund parters is Bloomington Health Foundation, which is offering to double the impact of individual donations with a matching grant up to $25,000.
Individuals can donate via text or online, according to the press release. They can send the message COVIDRELIEF2020 to 44-321 or visit www.monroeunitedway.org/COVIDRelief to make a contribution.
According to the press release, the funds will be used for:
(1) sustaining operations and levels of service of area nonprofits meeting community members’ basic needs;
(2) developing safe, temporary residential programs for at-risk individuals currently unsheltered, or in mass shelters or group homes;
(3) funding temporary staffing or volunteer mobilization efforts in response to loss of volunteer base critical to daily operations; and
(4) increasing capacity of local food security systems and financial assistance programs at area townships and nonprofits
In the release United Way of Monroe County executive Director Efrat Feferman is quoted saying:
In our community, 1 in 3 households teeter above the edge of poverty, financially stretched by ever-rising costs of housing, childcare, transportation and more. Additionally, 1 in 5 live in full-blown poverty with more significant challenges. This means that nearly half of our population cannot easily weather prolonged economic turmoil. Many already turn to our social services and nonprofits for supports which allow them to remain economically stable. It is imperative that programs including affordable childcare and after-school care, food and nutrition, transportation, physical and mental healthcare, shelter and housing, and temporary financial assistance for mortgage, rent, and utilities are sustained and even increased at this time.
In the press release, Julie Thomas, president of Monroe County’s board of commissioners, and Eric Spoonmore, president of the Monroe County council are quoted in a joint statement:
Monroe County Government is unified in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our community. The safety, health, and well-being of Monroe County residents is always the highest priority for the Board of Commissioners and the County Council. This swift action we are taking today will immediately provide urgent resources to affected residents and will further assist our local social service agencies working at ground zero of the corona virus public health emergency. We thank United Way of Monroe County for stepping up, as always, in this critical time of need.