Funding Partners That Provide Immediate Help
A mom and her six-week-old infant came to Anna Marie’s Alliance Shelter, fleeing domestic violence in another state. As this new mother settled in at the shelter, she began to work at establishing new resources for herself and her baby. Emily (not her real name) knew she needed county assistance, mental health support and a public health and housing voucher. Eventually, she would need employment assistance and childcare services to create a healthy home for herself and her child.
Community partners, such as Anna Marie’s Alliance, assist those needing emergency help. United Way’s Safety Net funds this essential, direct service provider and, along with many community partners, helps people find immediate relief during a crisis. These funded partners also provide multi-faceted, longer-term support that enables individuals and families to regain stability and move beyond their current situation. The United Way Safety Net is pivotal in helping providers tend to varied needs that transition people to stability over time.
Dismantling Many Obstacles
Once Emily was safe and settled at the shelter, she found that getting her life in order wasn’t as easy as anticipated. She knew she needed more resources and services to build a new life for herself and her child. And while Emily had always thought of herself as really organized and focused, she found keeping track of information, following up on appointments and taking the initiative to answer and return phone calls difficult and incredibly stressful. It was as if she was dropping the ball at a time when she most needed to be organized!
Staff knew Emily was a survivor and that what she was experiencing were apparent trauma symptoms. She needed extra support. Caseworkers stepped up and checked in with her regularly, attended meetings alongside her and coordinated resources and services with her so she could access what she needed to make a new beginning. Their support and advocacy made a big difference for Emily.
The United Way Safety Net helps funded partners dismantle many obstacles that keep friends and neighbors from achieving their fullest potential. UWCM serves as a hub for diverse resources, linking the community to collective solutions and funding that address both short-term and long-term needs, helping community members tap into and realize their strengths as they rebuild their lives.
Helping Individuals and Working Collectively to Strengthen Our Community
With the support and encouragement of her caseworkers, Emily began therapy and the long journey towards mental and emotional healing. Anna Marie’s Alliance allowed her to develop new and trusting relationships and helped her navigate complicated service systems in a new location. She eventually moved into a safe, affordable apartment with her child and secured what they needed to thrive.
United Way’s work improves individual lives, like Emily's, and strengthens whole communities. Emergency challenges tend not to be simple and isolated, and many needs may surface. Customized support from United Way’s funded partners allows individuals access to opportunities for better tomorrows. At the same time, UWCM continues to work collectively on efforts that change systems and target investments that contribute to our region’s overall financial stability, health and educational success.
United Way’s Director of Financial Stability, Alexis Lutgen, shares that the Safety Net encompasses short- and long-term goals in getting individuals and the community what they need:
“The Safety Net involves what we call ‘upstream thinking.’ People in crisis need immediate, emergency services to help get out of the river, if we use that analogy. We are making sure our friends and neighbors have the resources they need to be okay for tonight, tomorrow and moving forward. But when you look at that moving forward, that’s where collective impact comes in. That’s where a whole community of services and resources work together to pull the person out of the river for good. That’s where that ‘upstream’ element is, because we work together to change systems that put community members in an emergency situation in the first place. We provide resources that enable them to find stability, tap into their strengths, find success, education and skills that get them ‘upriver’ or ‘upstream’ in their life so they are in a much better place and others are in a much better place too. This work is about enhancing our whole community over many years. We know that if our whole community is thriving, we all thrive and benefit from those changes.”
The Power to Connect Partners, Resources and Services
Today, Emily and her family call Central Minnesota home. The emergency assistance they received from Anna Marie’s Alliance—made possible through United Way of Central Minnesota’s investment in Safety Net resources—addressed many of her needs and paved a path forward so she and her child could lead a safer and more stable life right here.
United Way’s Safety Net support is often only the start in addressing complex needs during times of crisis. UWCM funds partners who provide emergency resources as part of multi-faceted care for individuals and the community. United Way’s power to connect partners, resources, services and find solutions for community-wide problems for the long term makes a big difference—for Emily and all of Central Minnesota.