What is the Urgent Needs Fund?

What is the Urgent Needs Fund?

Launched in October of 2019, United Way Simcoe Muskoka’s new Urgent Needs Fund has been assisting residents across Simcoe Muskoka with modest, one-time grants to overcome the everyday obstacles that poverty makes more difficult.

In its first five months, the Urgent Needs Fund has already helped hundreds of individuals who are either living in poverty or on the verge of doing so.

Why do we need the Urgent Needs Fund?

There is a lot of incredible work going on across our communities, including the great programs funded by United Way Simcoe Muskoka. After bringing together community members, frontline service providers, charities and other partners in a series of community consultations, UWSM found that there was a common gap in services across all of Simcoe County and Muskoka.

That gap was timely assistance for the seemingly smaller challenges in life—challenges that are exacerbated by poverty. We realized that, in order to help the more than 60,000 Simcoe Muskoka residents living in poverty, that gap needed to be filled.

Poverty from a Local Perspective

The Urgent Needs Fund is stewarded by phenomenal Regional Agency Leads—registered charities in each of our sub-regions that help to administer the Urgent Needs Fund. By approaching poverty from this sub-regional model, the Urgent Needs Fund helps us better understand the challenges that our communities face.

While poverty has common effects in all of our sub-regions, such as reduced access to services, pervasive stigma, increased health risks and more, different communities in Simcoe Muskoka face different issues more prevalently. By understanding the biggest challenges we face and where we face them, UWSM and other service providers are able to better help those who need it most.

For example, almost half of the Urgent Needs Fund recipients in North Simcoe are experiencing homelessness. Information like this can be critical in future poverty reduction work in our communities.

Who does the Urgent Needs Fund Help?

In Simcoe Muskoka, 1 in 8 people are currently living in poverty. That’s equal to almost four Collingwoods, two and a half Bradfords or Orillias, more than half the population of Barrie and about the entire permanent population of all of Muskoka.

The Urgent Needs Fund is there for anyone who is currently experiencing poverty or in danger of experiencing it if they don’t receive the help they need. By partnering with 211 Central East Ontario and the District of Muskoka, those seeking assistance are first helped with finding community resources that they might not have known of before.

If there are no existing services that can help or available services aren’t able to solve the problem themselves, then the Urgent Needs Fund can help fill that gap. For the most vulnerable in Simcoe Muskoka, filling that gap can mean all the difference.

What has the Urgent Needs Fund Helped With?

There are countless ways that poverty can affect someone’s life. Nothing highlights this more than the many ways that the Urgent Needs Fund has been used to positively impact the lives of Simcoe Muskoka residents.

The Urgent Needs Fund has been accessed to help with:

Emergency food, Disability benefits, Medical expenses, Utilities, Winter clothing, Mental health counselling, Affordable housing search, Rent, Moving expenses, Dental care, Furniture, Community meals

And so much more. The Urgent Needs Fund has been there to help those who need it most yet can’t find the help they need elsewhere.

Giving Hope with the Urgent Needs Fund

The Urgent Needs Fund does more than just help with everyday hurdles; it gives hope. Hope for a brighter future, one that isn’t limited by poverty.

95% of Urgent Needs Fund recipients feel better equipped to handle life’s obstacles. Furthermore, help from the Urgent Needs Fund has reduced general life stress by up to 50%.

Sometimes, all it takes is a helping hand to make a huge difference. And you can help.

March is the Month of Hope. During this month, the community is coming together to extend the impact of UWSM initiatives, including the Urgent Needs Fund, to reduce poverty and social isolation.

The best part? Thanks to the Orsi Group, all online donations during March will be matched, doubling the total value of your gift.

That means that your donation will have double the impact and do twice as much good during the Month of Hope. If you want to give hope to the most vulnerable residents in Simcoe Muskoka, then click the button below to donate now.

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