By issuing modest, one-time grants to individuals, the Urgent Needs Fund helped when no existing services could meet the needs of Simcoe Muskoka residents. Whether that be access to transportation, clothes for a job interview, groceries for a family relying on a food bank, covering medical expenses for a senior on a fixed income or any number of the many unique needs the Urgent Needs Fund has been used for, we have been there for our most vulnerable when we have been needed most.
After extending the UNF beyond its initial pilot phase, the program is now under review so we can ensure that it is delivering assistance to those who need it most in the most effective way possible.
*Since October 2019. Updated bi-weekly.
“I am a widow and I have zero food in the house. My husband was ill and passed away leaving not much money. These funds were given to me in the most gracious manner. I felt treated like a real person which was better than receiving the actual funds themselves.”
“The funds did help me out so much. It relieved my stress so much. You guys have been so welcoming and don’t make us feel like we are getting a handout – so we are not embarrassed to ask for help.”
“It was difficult to make the call and you made it comfortable and easy.”
“I am a single mom with two kids. We were desperate for winter clothing for my kids and myself. I don’t have a vehicle, so we do a lot of walking and the kids take a school bus. We need to stay warm and dry… The funds came at a perfect time for us. We are now warm for the winter.”
“We would not have eaten if we hadn’t received these funds.”
The Urgent Needs Fund is currently under program review.
This review was set to happen after the initial six-month pilot from October 2019 – March 2020. Given the sudden increase in needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, UWSM extended the UNF to include Simcoe Muskoka residents economically impacted by the global crisis. By extending the program another year, UWSM has been able to help hundreds of our most vulnerable residents.
Between October 2019 and March 2020, UWSM piloted the Urgent Needs Fund. After hosting our community consultations, we realized there was a gap in existing services for people living under the poverty line. The Urgent Needs Fund was designed to help fill that gap by providing timely, modest grants once community resources had been exhausted.
The Urgent Needs Fund offered emergency financial assistance with prompt, one-time grants to address basic need like groceries, clothing, transportation, health and wellness expenses and more, and has been expanded to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UNF could not address housing payments or arrears. Please visit our Get Help Now page for more information on how to access services for housing or utility expenses.
211 Central East Ontario handled the intake, assessment, client impact and data collection of the Urgent Needs Fund, which has been useful to help better understand the needs of Simcoe Muskoka communities. In addition, seven Regional Agency Leads helped to distribute funds to local recipients.
While the UNF is currently being reviewed, if you or someone you know is experiencing financial hardship, we encourage you to contact 211 (dial 2-1-1) if you live in Simcoe County or the District of Muskoka (705-645-2412) if you live in Muskoka.
Barrie and Area
Orillia and Area
South Simcoe: Township of Adjala-Tosorontio Township, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, Township of Essa, Town of New Tecumseth
Barrie + Area: City of Barrie, Town of Innisfil, Township of Springwater
South Georgian Bay: Town of Collingwood, Township of Clearview, Town of Wasaga Beach, Town of Blue Mountains
North Simcoe: Town of Midland, Town of Penetanguishene, Township of Tay, Township of Tiny
Orillia + Area: City of Orillia, Township of Oro-Medonte, Township of Ramara, Township of Severn
Muskoka: Town of Bracebridge, Township of Georgian Bay, Town of Gravenhurst, Town of Huntsville, Lake of Bays, Township of Muskoka Lakes