Middlesex United Way helping meet families' basic needs during COVID

MIDDLETOWN — While we know we are not quite in the clear, the light at the end of the tunnel seems approaching as vaccinations continue statewide. COVID-19 struck quick and without warning, but we are proud of what we were able to accomplish during this crisis, helping residents and families stay healthy and on their feet in these unique times.
Over the past year, Middlesex United Way has funded 2-1-1 and over 30 other partners on the front lines with 50 percent of our funding going to basic needs and emergency services. We have been working to respond to our community’s most pressing needs related to food insecurity, housing, and mental wellness, among other challenges.
We distributed over 50,000 pounds of fresh food to individuals and families, provided over 50,000 masks to partners providing front-line services, and disbursed over $65,200 in COVID-19 financial relief. These funds were given to over 200 families struggling to cover their basic needs due to the pandemic, including out of work restaurant workers, and to the People of Color COVID initiative.
Through our COVID relief funds, both statewide and in Middlesex County, we have provided resources to individuals and families economically affected by the pandemic, including those who are out of work or have reduced work hours. This included those who were unable to keep up with rent, mortgage, and utility payments as their paychecks stop coming in or are severely reduced.
If you are still struggling financially, you may qualify for assistance through UniteCT. The intention of UniteCT is to help stabilize Connecticut’s Rental Housing Market. This $235 million program will provide rental and utility payment assistance to qualified Connecticut households financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program will help eligible households with missed electric outstanding payments and/or missed rent or future rent payments. Those who have qualified for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID 19 or demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, household income at or below 80 percent of the Housing and Urban Development Area Median Income may be eligible for assistance.
To apply for assistance or find more information, please visit bit.ly/UniteCT.
In the midst of uncertainty, we’ve continued to invest in the resources that are needed most. Recently, 2-1-1 worked in close partnership with the state Department of Public Health, and vaccine providers across our state to expand availability and access to vaccine scheduling through the state’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line. They’ve taken over 200,000 calls related to the COVID vaccine and have assisted in the scheduling of 100,000 Connecticut residents for their vaccination.
We will continue to respond and continue to support these vital programs, but we need your help. Donations from local businesses and residents will continue to support programs and initiatives to ensure that people’s basic needs are met, and they have access to food, shelter and emergency services. Please consider contributing so we can continue this important work. To donate, please visit middlesexunitedway.org/give.
Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middletown-based Middlesex United Way.