United Way of Story County (UWSC) stands on three main pillars of impact; health, education, and financial stability. It’s what we as an organization live and breathe each day. We focus on ensuring that each person in our community has access to affordable health services, the building blocks needed for academic and life success, and that all individuals will achieve financial stability.
Each September we kickoff of our new campaign season. Each campaign comes with new challenges, new opportunities, and a new way to showcase the impact that every dollar can accomplish. Our annual campaign video displays particular needs in our community, and how UWSC combats the need with quality programs and partnerships.
Our financial stability initiative focuses on ensuring that all individuals and families will achieve financial stability. Financial stability looks different to each person and family. It means having the ability to cover basic monthly expenses without using a credit card. It can mean having a savings account that is able to cover weeks or months of living expenses if a job is lost. Being financially stable could mean making enough to pay all your bills and having money left over to invest for the future. Whatever the definition, UWSC works to make sure that everyone has the tools and information they need to work towards becoming financial self-sufficient.
Highlighted in our 2019 campaign video, the Emergency Residence Project’s (ERP) Transitional Living program is helping people on their path to financial freedom. The program works with six families (must include at least one child) at a time, assisting them through significant barriers in transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. All this gets accomplished within a twelve to eighteen-month timeframe.
As the only transitional living program accepting families in Story County, the Transitional Living program works with local landlords and available community resources to move families from the ERP rental units to their own residence on affordable terms. While at ERP, participants are encouraged to meet with a Housing Support Specialist at least weekly, as they work toward maintaining secure housing. Support for financial literacy, budgeting, parenting skills, landlord/tenant education, employment assistance, and more is also provided by ERP and other community resources.
By offering a safe and secure residence with additional personal support, families can build skills needed to transition out of the program, and on to a brighter future. Over the past three years, over 54 individuals have been lifted out of the uncertainty of homelessness and on to the security of their own home.
Homelessness affects many families in our county. UWSC advocates for those experiencing homelessness, but also fights for those struggling to cover daycare costs for their children, women who are in need of financial literacy, every person not able to afford nutritious food, and more. When you join in on the work of UWSC, you are ensuring that all individuals and families in our community get the support they need to achieve financial stability.