United Way of Central Maryland Ready to Assist Those Affected by Government Shutdown
2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline and Baltimore City Health Department’s Maryland Access Point Develop New Partnership to Help City’s Older Population
Baltimore, MD (January 11, 2019) – As the country reaches a government shutdown record, United Way of Central Maryland remains committed to helping residents in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties.
United Way’s partnerships with a broad range of health and human service providers enable the organization to effectively and efficiently assist furloughed federal employees and government contractors affected by the shutdown by providing current information on available community resources. The 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline call specialists can answer questions about public benefits and connect those in need to food pantries, health care services and utility and eviction prevention assistance. Callers also can receive information on mental health counseling, transportation, job training, substance use recovery and childcare services, and volunteer opportunities.
Maryland is among the top four states with the most federal employees. It is estimated approximately 28,266 federal employees in Maryland are affected by the government shutdown. The impact of the shutdown sheds new light on the state’s growing ALICE population: those individuals and families who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. United Way’s latest ALICE report, released in September 2018, showed that 38 percent of residents are unable to afford the necessities of life such as housing, food, transportation, healthcare and childcare.
“For people who are ALICE—those who live paycheck to paycheck or worse—unexpected expenses like missing a paycheck, a health emergency or a major car repair can trigger a downward spiral. One by one the bills pile up until the situation becomes untenable,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “United Way exists to ensure that all of our residents have access to the vital resources and services they need to lead stable, healthy lives. We want people to know: We are here to help you.”
A direct line to crucial resources such as food, housing, healthcare, utility bill assistance, legal services and more is the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline: a free, confidential service that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Many of our callers live below the federal poverty level, or they are ALICE—those who make too much to qualify for federal assistance, but not enough to support their basic needs,” said Saundra Bond, vice president, 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline. “These are people who very often rely on tax refunds to pay past due bills or set themselves up for success in the coming year. So far, we’ve been receiving an increased call volume about tax refunds, but expect calls for other needs, such as help with rent or mortgage payments or utility bills, to rise as those affected by the shutdown begin to feel the strain of missed paychecks. We are working with our callers to set them on a path for security in this uncertain time.”
Those in need of help during the shutdown should dial 2-1-1 to be directed to the best assistance possible. Additional government shutdown resources can be found here.
Additional information about unemployment benefits for furloughed employees is available from OPM here.
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United Way of Central Maryland makes our communities stronger. We fight for safe and secure housing, for kids to do better in school, and for easier access to the resources that make our lives and our neighborhoods healthier.