United Way NSV concludes CARES Act program

helping more than 1,000 in Winchester and Frederick County overwhelming need.

United Way NSV concludes CARES Act program, helping more than 1,000 in Winchester and Frederick County

Winchester, VA January 22, 2021 - Over the course of just three months, the small staff at Valley Assistance Network (VAN), a program of United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley (UWNSV), deployed $655,000 in CARES Act funding to Winchester and Frederick County families that were impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Through that time period, staff and volunteers processed 672 applications for assistance, a monumental effort resulting in providing hope and economic relief to more than 1,000 individuals.

Through the CARES Act Funding, $400,000 of which came from Winchester City and $255,000 from Frederick County, 329 households received financial assistance.

Eligible assistance for CARES Act funding could fall into either a housing or utilities category. Through this funding, $205,000 was spent to help 235 different households with water, electric, gas and oil bills. 133 families were helped with more than one utility bill. 524 utilities were saved from disconnection.

For housing, $445,000 in assistance was distributed to landlords and mortgage companies to keep families in their homes. This funding prevented 289 local evictions and foreclosures.

“I was out of work for almost 3 months due to COVID-19 and was afraid I would lose my home. Thank you to everyone who made this program possible. It was a life saver for my family.” said Felicia, VAN Client, Frederick County resident

All households that received assistance had to complete a thorough screening, providing extensive documentation showing loss of income or financial hardship due to COVID-19. To qualify, applicants had to have been laid off, had their place of employment closed, or a documented reduction in hours of work.

Applicants were also eligible if they needed to stay home to care for children due to school closures. Alternatively, applicants could also provide medical documentation stating their inability to work due to high risk of severe illness.

"You don’t know what a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!” said Rachel, a Winchester City resident.

The massive effort was thanks to a cohesive and cooperative partnership with local non-profit organizations and was aided by the already implemented Connect NSV network of partner agencies that utilizes the Unite Us® platform. This technology helped agencies coordinate care quickly and efficiently without duplicating services.

“We would open the door and the phone would already be ringing. We would look around the office and every person, even our volunteers, would be on a different call, with someone knocking on our door at the same time.” said Emily Fultz, Valley Assistance Network.

Although the funding from the CARES Act program may now be complete, United Way’s Valley Assistance Network is still here, ready to help with their team of volunteers and staff. United Way of Northern

Shenandoah Valley is also continuing to accept donations to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. With just $12,000 left in the fund to distribute, resources have never been more scarce and any assistance from the public will help us to continue to fill the gaps of this ongoing health crisis.

“We were here to help you before this pandemic started, and we will be here for you when it ends. This is what we were made for, to help people in crisis and to be here for our community when it needs us the most.” Said United Way NSV, President and CEO, Nadine Bullock-Pottinga.

These outcomes would not be possible without support from volunteers, community partners and grant recipients, who distributed 100% of funding to rent/mortgage and utility providers. United Way NSV thanks Highland Food Pantry, Blue Ridge Housing Network, Faithworks and ARE, Inc., for their partnership in this program. We’d also like to thank those who support and donated to Valley Assistance Network during this time. Those donations helped us make sure we had the people to respond to the overwhelming need.

helping more than 1,000 in Winchester and Frederick County