Central Florida strong: How to help neighbors, friends, coworkers during coronavirus pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. — There are many families struggling in our community and if you are able to help, we invite you to join WFTV 9 Family Connection and our partners for “Community Strong” as we team up with local United Way agencies to help our neighbors, friends, coworkers and even strangers who have lost their jobs to stay in their homes.

9 Family Connection has partnered with the United Way and their ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) Recovery Fund which helps families with rent, mortgage and utilities.

One hundred percent of donations will be invested in the ALICE Recovery Fund to keep families facing the economic consequences of COVID-19 from becoming homeless.

More about the ALICE RECOVERY FUND

Housing is by far families’ greatest expense and in Central Florida housing costs are disproportionately high.

The ALICE Recovery Fund was established to help families remain stably housed by providing support with rent, mortgage or utility assistance.

Clients must demonstrate financial need by presenting documentation including but not limited to bank statements, pay stubs, rent agreements, utility bills, etc.

For those seeking assistance, click here to complete a request for assistance or call 211.

How you can help:

United Way agencies across Central Florida are helping residents and you can support it by clicking on the county below that you would like to donate to:

What does ALICE mean?

ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed)

  • Nearly half of Central Floridians were ALICE prior to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • According to the ALICE Report, more than 350,000 households in Central Florida are working hard, oftentimes multiple jobs, but are still barely able to cover basic needs.
  • ALICE families are working hard to survive, but one financial emergency away from being sent into a financial tailspin. That emergency is here, and it’s COVID-19.
  • With many working families taking a cut in hours, being furloughed or becoming unemployed all together, United Way anticipates a significant increase in the ALICE population.
  • The economic consequences of this pandemic will be felt well after the COVID-19 curve has flattened out.

If you need help, you can call 211 to speak to someone at the United Way.

FACT SHEET

- 8,951 --Number of ALICE Recovery Fund requests for assistance submitted (as of 4/13 -- these numbers change daily)

- $10.7 million in requested assistance

- We have a waiting list of 5,766 (numbers change daily)

ALICE RECOVERY FUND

- Housing is by far families’ greatest expense and in Central Florida housing costs are disproportionately high. The ALICE Recovery Fund was established to help families remain stably housed by providing support with rent, mortgage or utility assistance.

- Specifically for residents of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, the ALICE Recovery Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness.

- Clients must demonstrate financial need by presenting documentation including but not limited to bank statements, pay stubs, rent agreements, utility bills, etc.

- For those seeking assistance, click here to complete a request for assistance.

- As of 4/10/20 (numbers updated daily), we have received 8,657 requests for assistance through the ALICE Recovery Fund and consistently received hundreds every single day.

- Corporate partners and generous individuals have stepped up to contribute just over $1 million. However, with the overwhelming demand for assistance, there is a wait list of more than 5,700 requests for assistance (as of 4/10/20).

211

- Heart of Florida United Way’s 211 provides information and referral assistance to people in Florida, connecting them to essential health and human services 24/7/365. HFUW 211 Contact Center is free and confidential, and staffed with trained 211 specialists who assist people with information and referrals, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention/intervention.

- During the COVID-19 crisis, call volume has ballooned to four-times the usual amount.

- 211 Call Specialists connect people with existing resources in the community. The top requests for assistance have been for housing/rent assistance, which is consistent with trends before COVID-19.



Vanessa Echols

Vanessa Echols, WFTV.com

I have been a member of the Eyewitness News team since 1992 and currently anchor Eyewitness News at Noon and 4 p.m. on Channel 9.