United Way of Greater Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization that works with low-income families, announced Friday, March 13 that it has created a relief fund of $250,000 to support the county’s homeless individuals, low-income people, students and families during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
United Way said it will use money from its emergency reserves and add donations to the fund as they become available. Josh Kamensky, communications specialist for United Way, told the Signal Tribune that the organization’s main goal is to coordinate with corporate philanthropy and the private sector to fund their initiatives.
“The people of Los Angeles are rising to the challenge of the coronavirus with swift action, but both impacts on health and economic sacrifice will hit our most vulnerable neighbors the hardest,” said Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “Reductions in work schedules, school closures and challenges accessing healthcare to treat illness disproportionately affect low-income individuals and families.”
The money will be used to buy supplies and medicine and to fund support for outreach teams to provide care and disease prevention, and it will be used to reconfigure space at shelter sites to meet emergency health standards. Additional outdoor hand-washing and hygiene stations will be purchased, according to United Way.
By the end of next week, the organization will have a list of groups they will work with to purchase the items to distribute them through the community, according to Kamensky.
Money will also be used to support to low-income entrepreneurs (such as street vendors), day laborers and workers in industries affected by the outbreak. Emergency support to pay for housing and utilities will also be available.
Low-income students and their families who require assistance with technology and other means to stay connected to their studies and United Way’s nonprofit partners will be provided with assistance.
Los Angeles County has about 59,000 homeless people and about 1.7 million people in working families who struggle in poverty, according to United Way.
More information and donation instructions are available at www.unitedwayla.org/en/give/pandemic-relief-fund/.