United Way calls on governments to further support local COVID-19 response

3 MIN READ

On March 29th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $9 million investment in United Ways across Canada to support vulnerable seniors. This announcement builds on federal investments to support people experiencing homelessness, women and children fleeing violence, and youth who need counselling and mental health support. Prior to this, the Ontario government announced $200 million in social services relief funding to be distributed through municipalities. We have also seen local businesses, municipalities, and individuals mobilizing to make sure the most vulnerable are not left behind through COVID-19 and physical distancing measures. 

We wish to acknowledge and thank governments, businesses, and other organizations that have already answered our call to support the most vulnerable populations across our region and the entire country. 

So far, United Way East Ontario has worked to create a strong, coordinated approach to support our region:

By Michael Allen
President and CEO,
United Way East Ontario

    • Our community response table continues to adapt to help a growing group of vulnerable people including homeless youth, people living in poverty, isolated seniors, women and children facing violence, Indigenous groups and many others who are now at even higher risk of negative outcomes due to COVID-19.
    • We have forged new partnerships with businesses like Ruckify for example, an online rental platform. Ruckify is sourcing and distributing used technology like laptops, cellphones and webcams to mental health counsellors, distress centre volunteers, community health and resource centres and more. Our partnership is helping people in need who may not have the right technology to go fully virtual for appointments, outreach and programming. A growing list of commercial partners (TELUS, Lyft, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to name a few) are bringing their capacity to the problem-solving our community needs.
    • We have supported our community sector partners in adapting to provide services to those most in need. This includes enhancing programming to include telephone check-ins, remote social programs and counselling, and providing delivery of ready-made meals.

But, while these are strong first steps to support the most vulnerable at the local level, we will need much more help in the coming days, weeks and months. 

And while we are heartened by the signal and from governments that more support is coming to assist the most vulnerable in their greatest time of needtime is of the essence.

Today, we are urging government leaders to take further action by funding the work of our community response table in East Ontario.

Frontline agencies are seeing accelerating demand for their vital services at a time when their own existence is in jeopardy. Organizations are feeling greater pressure to provide service and are unable to meet the growing needs of the community.

By supporting us financially, we will be able to continue our mandate of problem-solving and investing collaboratively in support of the people who are in greatest need at the time. 

United Way East Ontario serves homeless youth, people living in poverty, isolated seniors and many others who are now at even higher risk of poor outcomes due to COVID-19. With physical distancing measures in place, we are seeing even more people who are in need because of isolation, mental health challenges, violence at home they can’t escape, or inability to prepare for and maintain self-isolation under their financial circumstances. 

We are calling on governments to act now in consideration of the most vulnerable across our region and the organizations that support these vulnerable people each day.

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