02 Mar How the Urgent Needs Fund Fills a Gap
The Urgent Needs Fund was created in order to fill a needs-service gap in social services for those living in poverty. This new fund has changed hundreds of lives across our communities since its launch in October of 2019 and continues to do so alongside other UWSM initiatives.
For anyone not living in poverty, it can be tough to understand what a needs-service gap is or how devastating it can be on someone’s life. Before we explain how the Urgent Needs Fund fills a gap and helps give people a chance to break the cycle of poverty, let’s first define what a needs-service gap is.
What is a Needs-Service Gap?
There are a lot of incredible charities and organizations providing life-changing work throughout Simcoe Muskoka. With all the good being done, it’s easy to think that there is a solution or service for every issue.
In reality, there are so many issues created by poverty that current social services don’t meet all the needs of our residents.
That’s what is known as a needs-service gap. Check out the video below for a great visualization of what this kind of gap does.
What is the Impact of the Gap?
The most obvious impact of the gap is that there is a discrepancy in services available for the needs of people accessing those services. It means that the resources are not there for you to accomplish what you need to either meet your basic necessities or further your journey out of poverty.
But the gap goes further than that.
By its very nature, a needs-services gap creates a terrible cycle that feeds itself, making the gap bigger and bigger. This leads to:
- Increased mental, physical and social health problems
- Increased debt loads
- Decreased access to public resources
- Inter-generational poverty
- Decreased access to education
- Unemployment or underemployment
Ultimately, the gap grows more and more, impoverishing whoever is stuck in it further.
How Does the Urgent Needs Fund Fill the Gap?
In early 2019, United Way Simcoe Muskoka hosted a series of community consultations, one in each of our sub-regions, to better understand how poverty impacts us on a local level. What we found is that there is a needs-service gap for the everyday obstacles that people living in poverty or on the verge of poverty face.
That’s where the Urgent Needs Fund has come in.
By providing modest, one-time grants, Urgent Needs Fund recipients can get timely assistance to funds that will help overcome those hurdles. Of the first 90 Urgent Needs Fund recipients, more than 118 unique needs were met.
Many of the Simcoe Muskoka residents who have accessed the Urgent Needs Fund tried to get help through existing services but were unable to do so. This was due to a variety of reasons, including a depletion of resources, lack of transportation, extensive waiting lists, and ineligibility. The worst situations involved not being able to connect with community resources, no resources available to help with an individual’s particular need or a service being too expensive for an individual to afford.
All of these reasons highlight the impact that the needs-services gap has. Help can be out of reach for you if you are trapped in the gap, if help is even there at all.
With the flexibility of the Urgent Needs Fund, United Way Simcoe Muskoka was able to fill the gap and help those who couldn’t get it anywhere else.
Help Fill the Gap
This March is the Month of Hope, and we invite you to give hope to those trapped in the needs-service gap. Thanks to the Orsi Group, an incredible community partner, any online donations made to our Community Fund, which funds initiatives like the Urgent Needs Fund, during the Month of Hope will be doubled, up to $10,000.
That means that your gift has double the value, double the impact and goes twice as far in filling the gap and lifting Simcoe Muskoka residents out of poverty.
If you want to support the Urgent Needs Fund and other UWSM poverty-reduction initiatives, click here: https://www.uwsimcoemuskoka.ca/hope