GRIFFITH — As restaurants, bars and venues survive closures, a Lake County organization has created a relief fund for workers facing hardships.
Lake Area United Way’s Lake Area COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund will gather financial aid to support the emerging needs of workers who face income loss and inability to pay bills related to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Lisa Daugherty, president and CEO of Lake Area United Way.
Ohio officials reported there was an additional 47,000 unemployment claims in the period of one week since businesses were ordered to close or limit services. It is only a matter of time before Indiana and Lake County residents feel the impact of the pandemic, Daugherty said.
“Right now, we are calling on our community and our corporate partners to come together and support struggling families,” she said. “This pandemic is a health crisis, but it is an economic crisis as well, and we intend to be here to support those being affected.”
The Lake Area COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund will support nonprofit agencies facing larger needs than before. This week, Lake Area United Way donated $500,000 to partnering agencies in the Region to supply basic needs to families. Through a collaboration of partners called the United for Families Network, the organization is working on identifying needs and gathering more resources and funds.
To minimize person-to-person contact, the agency is using Charity Tracker, an online case management system. Workers and employers can visit www.resourceroundup.com to learn what resources are available.
“Our focus is helping Lake County families access their basic necessities and supporting working families who are falling into the gap- making too much money to qualify for services but not making enough to make ends meet,” Daugherty said. “In the coming days, not knowing how business closures will impact take-home pay of employees, we expect to see a significant increase in Lake County families requiring access to supports such as rent or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, and even childcare services.”