United Way East Ontario supports those struggling through COVID-19 with multiple supports
Submitted by United Way East Ontario
This week, United Way will strengthen the capacity of local frontline services to deliver vital programs during the COVID-19 pandemic with investments in 18 programs across Eastern Ontario.
These 18 programs will provide basic needs like food and personal protective equipment; wellness checks; summer cooling; social programming in a range of different languages; resources and technology to enhance connectedness and communication; mental health supports; and capacity building to encourage collaboration between agencies, reducing the chances that people fall through the cracks.
“Our clients feel an immense sense of relief at being able to access a free phone or video counselling session with the click of a button during COVID-19,” says Simone Thibault, Executive Director at Centretown Community Health Centre, one of the agencies involved in leading the Counselling Connect program through the Ottawa Health Team-Équipe Santé Ottawa. “Seamless access to mental health supports is vital during this time of increased anxiety, financial stress, and family challenges. The Government of Canada joining United Way to support our community means we can continue and strengthen these online programs.”
The strategy to provide this support was a direct result of the input from the more than 70 partners that participate in the United Way-led COVID-19 Community Response Table. After ongoing conversations with social service agencies, public health authorities, municipalities, and elected officials, United Way has a strong picture of the different challenges vulnerable populations are facing across East Ontario. By collaborating with other local funders, United Way ensures the impact is targeted, and there is no duplication of efforts during this time of heightened need.
United Way has invested approximately $1.76 million in these 18 programs, in collaboration with the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund. These programs aim to help more than 67,000 people over the course of nine months.
A further $890,000 of the Emergency Community Support Fund will be invested by the end of July, totalling $2.65 million in new investments to support our communities during this ongoing time of crisis. This adds to the 17 programs United Way-supported in the first few months of the pandemic.
“The social challenges people face on a regular basis have not gone away because of COVID-19,” says Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way East Ontario. “Our collaboration with the COVID-19 Community Response Table has positioned us well to respond to these needs with our investments, but also with advocacy, partnership and creative problem-solving so no one feels invisible during this extended period of uncertainty.”
“Charities and non-profit organizations are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, acting as lifelines for many vulnerable Canadians,” says The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “The Government of Canada is pleased to work with its trusted partners to support these organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund so they can continue to help those most in need during this crisis.”
“I’m proud to be a working member of United Way East Ontario’s table of community partners during COVID-19,” says Marie-France Lalonde, Member of Parliament for Orléans. “I’ve seen and been part of the collaboration at the table that has enabled United Way to act quickly in investing the federal funds into the community, making sure vulnerable people are supported during this difficult time. Across levels of government and party lines, we are all engaged in this work to help those most in need through COVID-19.”
In early March, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health, regional public health authorities and dozens of organizations across the community sector, United Way launched an initiative to help support the most vulnerable in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting our region. This collaboration has enabled local problem solving, prioritization of needs, and collaboration. To learn more about United Way’s work, or if you require community service assistance, please visit unitedwayeo.ca/covid19.