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Grants boost agency’s programs for homeless

Posted 3/23/21

UTICA — The United Way of the Mohawk Valley has secured two grants, totaling $532,657, from the Emergency Solutions Grant COVID (ESG-CV) fund, that will help provide resources to prevent, prepare …

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Grants boost agency’s programs for homeless

Posted

UTICA — The United Way of the Mohawk Valley has secured two grants, totaling $532,657, from the Emergency Solutions Grant COVID (ESG-CV) fund, that will help provide resources to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the impact of the pandemic among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving assistance in Oneida County. 

As part of the funding, three additional positions were added to United Way MV’s Housing Team, including a program manager, case manager and homelessness management information system specialist, to assist those facing homelessness or in danger of becoming homeless.

“With the increase of financial struggles due to COVID, we know more people in our community will face hardships that could lead to homelessness,” said Erin Gutierrez Matt, United Way Mohawk Valley CEO. 

“This additional funding will support the ability to work with more individuals and families affected by economic struggles due to COVID-19 and prevent homelessness,” she added.

One of the grants, for $479,175, from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance was received by the Oneida County Department of Family and Community Services and awarded to the United Way expand its efforts around housing insecurity.

The ESG-CV Program Manager, Kelly Conroy-Scott, will oversee United Way’s COVID-specific housing efforts. “Housing stability is the foundation of our health and wellbeing,” said Conroy-Scott. “Without housing, our ability to obtain an education or job, and even meet our basic needs to live a healthy lifestyle, is not only in danger but nearly impossible.” 

ESG-CV Case Manager, Erin Cady, will focus on determining the need for specific levels of housing assistance and helping the household identify and obtain affordable housing. Once housing is stabilized the case manager will help the household identify other resources needed to maintain this stability such as health insurance, childcare services, food, and clothing. 

The second grant, ESG-CV Homeless Management Information System, for $53,482.00 was awarded from HUD through the state and awarded to the United Way to provide resources to
collect essential data on homelessness during COVID-19. 

As part of this grant, the new homelessness management information system specialist, Katrina Webb, will provide analytical support, data collection and complete reporting regulations, and Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

“The data maintained within this system is crucial to our ability to help those in the Mohawk Valley,” said Robin Robinson, United Way MV Administrator of Grants and Initiatives. “This data helps us better understand why families and individuals are becoming homeless and therefore, how we can address the root causes of homelessness.”

In addition to these positions, local emergency shelter agencies that are members of the Mohawk Valley Housing and Homeless Coalition have been guided on preventative measures to be taken to avoid COVID-19 transmission and protocols in their facilities. Grant funds were provided for such items as Clorox 360 Sanitation Systems, metal versus wood bed frames, dividers, and bed bug hotboxes.

United Way MV’s Housing Team works with homeless individuals to find them immediate shelter, and then housing while connecting with services to help the root causes of their becoming homeless. United Way MV’s Housing Team works in partnership with MVHHC. Agencies that make up the MVHHC, including United Way MV, are leading our community’s efforts in addressing homelessness.

Those seeking help can contact United Way MV’s Housing Team at housing@unitedwaymv.org or 315-525-3776.

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