While 16 percent of St. Lucie County households are living in poverty another 35 percent are considered ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). They're living one missed paycheck away from being unable to meet their most basic needs, like housing and healthcare.
That means 1 in 3 families will be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) as businesses close and their hours are reduced. This vulnerable population is also forced to make the difficult choice of going to work sick or not being paid.
These are daunting challenges, but we are fortunate to be part of a community where people come together in common cause to make a positive difference. To assist St. Lucie County individuals and families who are impacted by COVID-19, United Way of St. Lucie County is launching the COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund. We anticipate the need to gather significant funding to assist St. Lucie County residents and are seeking additional contributions. We are working in partnership with Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County and The Community Foundation Martin - St. Lucie.
United Way of St. Lucie County is working with local direct service organizations to identify critical needs and resource gaps and the best approach to disseminate emergency funds with the appropriate sense of urgency. As with the prior emergency funds managed by United Way, safeguards will be put in place to ensure these funds are used effectively and appropriately. Organizations receiving grants will be required to report back on use of the monies granted.
For nearly 60 years, United Way of St. Lucie County has been here to help local people during their darkest hours – whether recovering from a natural disaster, a personal financial setback or an unforeseen medical emergency. United Ways have a history of coordinating community responses to offer hope and help when it is most needed. As we all anxiously watch the progression of COVID-19 and anticipate the potential impacts, we want you to know that, whatever the outcome, United Way of St. Lucie County will be here to support our community.
For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov or the Florida Department of Health at www.floridahealth.gov. Additionally, the 211 Help Line is available 24/7 to help you find resources or if you need someone to talk to - just dial 2-1-1.