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United Way of Lake County awards first round of COVID-19 relief grants

GURNEE – United Way of Lake County recently announced that it has awarded $93,242 in the first round of grants from the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund to eight local nonprofit organizations providing emergency food and shelter.

The grant recipients are:

• A Safe Place, to provide emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their families in response to a dramatically increased number of incidents, as well as added costs for relocating victims, including safe lodging, food and transportation.

• Catholic Charities, to support its Emergency Assistance Program that gives monetary assistance to families so they can pay their utilities and stay in their homes or get into secure housing rather than becoming homeless.

• Hanul Family Alliance, to provide and deliver emergency meals to senior citizens who shouldn’t be going out at this time.

• Mano a Mano Family Resource Center, to provide direct assistance with food, rent and utilities for community members such as international students and recent immigrants in dire need who are not eligible for existing benefits and programs.

• Nicasa, to provide food for adults in transitional housing who need substance abuse recovery and maintenance support.

• Northern Illinois Food Bank, to provide critical resources for the food bank’s drastically expanding emergency response efforts.

• PADS Lake County, to support nontraditional overnight housing and food costs for Lake County’s homeless residents who can no longer congregate or stay in shelters.

• Roberti Community House, to procure food for at-risk individuals and first responders.

“We are thrilled with the support for the COVID-19 Community Response Fund from Lake County residents and companies. They have stepped up and donated at an unprecedented level. We all recognize there has never been a time more important than now to come together to support the critical needs in this community,” Kristi Long, president and CEO of United Way of Lake County, said in a news release. “This fund was created to allot resources quickly to local, vetted nonprofit human services organizations who are addressing the community’s greatest needs right now. And that’s exactly what’s happening.”

UWLC is dispersing the first fund installment less than two weeks from the fund’s launch. Local organizations requested more than $160,000 in this first grant cycle, and a group of United Way of Lake County staff and volunteers from the Community Impact Council moved swiftly to disperse the available money.

The group prioritizes how to disperse the funds by the most critical needs as identified by UWLC’s 211 program and the evidence cited in the funding request applications.

In their requests for funding, the nonprofits detailed how the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing them to their limits of being able to serve Lake County’s most vulnerable populations. Whether it’s responding to the massive increase in the demand for food, finding emergency shelter for people who can’t go home because they or a family member has been infected, or changing their entire business model overnight (as PADS and A Safe Place have had to do), these organizations require resources to meet the astounding needs COVID-19 has brought upon Lake County.

Additional grants will be awarded on a rolling basis to address emerging, urgent needs as they come to light.

For information about the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund, or to donate, visit LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org/covid19.

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