ST. LOUIS — In executing an up to $1 million contract with St. Louis County to help residents impacted by events in Ferguson, United Way of Greater St. Louis announced today the completion of the first phase of work (to help people with basic needs assistance), and the continuation of the second phase of work (to provide mental health counseling to people in need).
Following the civil unrest in the Ferguson and Dellwood communities in August and November 2014, United Way worked with several local nonprofit organizations and helped nearly 2,000 people with basic needs to prevent homelessness. Based on criteria determined by St. Louis County’s Department of Human Services, this support included rental, mortgage and utility assistance, case management, mental health support, food supplies and personal care item distribution. United Way and its partners also provided basic needs support to employees, including business owners who lost wages due to the November unrest and were at risk of homelessness. Depending upon eligibility, several of these employees also had the opportunity to participate in a program that matched individuals with employment opportunities at local companies.
“United Way is proud to partner with St. Louis County and so many other organizations to help people during a difficult time for our entire community,” said Regina Greer, vice president of United Way’s community response. “Our footprint throughout the region and strong reputation for efficiently allocating funds allowed us to quickly provide support and collaborate with nonprofits, governments and businesses. We’re pleased to have prevented so many people from becoming homeless and continue providing mental health support to people in need.”
For phase two of the St. Louis County contract, United Way awarded $123,750 to six local organizations to provide crisis support and mental health counseling for people who were impacted by events in Ferguson. The agencies, which include Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Center, Catholic Family Services, Crider Health Center, Lutheran Family and Children Services, Provident and Queen of Peace, will provide counseling services with this funding until September 2015. Individuals interested in receiving counseling should contact United Way 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 to be connected to these resources.
In addition to support provided in collaboration with St. Louis County, United Way worked with Ascension Health; Graybar; MasterCard Technologies & Operations, MasterCard Worldwide; YMCA; and In God’s Hands to distribute nearly 1,000 coats to children in the Ferguson area and surrounding areas this past winter season. Students enrolled in the Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy, Jennings and St. Louis school districts, and Training Up a Child Development Center received the cold weather gear after generous local companies reached out to United Way to inquire about ways they could help people in Ferguson. This winter, United Way was pleased to partner with YMCAs in the region by helping provide a coat for every child in the school districts who expressed a need. Ameren Missouri also collected personal care items to support clients served by Better Family Life.
Local agencies and companies that provided support to help people in these efforts include: American Red Cross of the Greater St. Louis Region, Ameren Corporation, Better Family Life, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Saint Louis – St. Francis Community Services, Children’s Services Fund, City of Ferguson, City of Dellwood, Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, Inc., Deaconess Nurses, Emerson Charitable Trust and Emerson Employee Contributions, Employment Connection, Girls Inc., Hauck Charitable Foundation, Husch Blackwell, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, MasterCard Operations and Technology, Maxine Clark and Bob Fox, Mercy, Mid-America Transplant Services, Monsanto, Regions Bank, Reinsurance Group of America, Inc., Salvation Army Midland Division Missouri & Southern Illinois, Schnuck Markets, Inc., St. Louis County Department of Human Services, The Laclede Group Foundation, Thompson Coburn LLP, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis. A children’s recreation area was provided by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis and University City Children’s Center.
People who need help are encouraged to call United Way 2-1-1. For more information on United Way’s efforts to help people in Ferguson, visit HelpingPeople.org/HelpingFerguson.
About United Way of Greater St. Louis: United Way of Greater St. Louis mobilizes the community with one goal in mind — helping people live their best possible lives. Located throughout 16 counties in Missouri and Illinois, United Way helps one in three people in the region build a foundation for a good quality of life through basic needs, financial stability, education, health and strong communities. For more information, contact 314-421-0700 or visit www.HelpingPeople.org.
About Missouri and Illinois United Way 2-1-1: 2-1-1 is a fast, free and confidential way to give or get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 2-1-1 call centers operate under national standards and are staffed by trained specialists who quickly assess the callers’ needs and refer them to the help they seek. Information is available on a broad range of services, including food banks, affordable housing, health resources, child care, after-school programs, elderly care, financial literacy and job training programs. If not calling from a landline phone, dial 1-800-427-4626.