ATLANTA, June 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In March 2020, Atlanta-based nonprofit Star-C had to suspend after-school programs in the wake of the pandemic, pivoting to focus on in-home learning, the digital divide, hunger relief and, notably, rental assistance through its Eviction Relief Fund (ERF).
Originally targeting a $50,000 crowdfunded fundraise, the ERF has now raised $9.9 million, thus far helping over 3,400 families avoid eviction in 14 counties in Metro Atlanta.
"Star-C and our families are so very grateful for outpouring of support from our donors who stepped up to assist vulnerable families in these unprecedented times," says Marjy Stagmeier, who has over 20 years of experience as an apartment landlord and is the founder of Star-C. "We have fielded thousands of phone calls from so many hard-working people who just were simply not prepared for the consequences of the COVID pandemic. It was so encouraging to see the Atlanta community rally to provide support to those less fortunate."
Still, she notes that even as the world is wading into post-pandemic life, the Fund is not winding down. Because of the lingering effects of the pandemic – which disproportionately affected affordable housing residents and other working families – Star-C's eviction relief work will continue in earnest for the foreseeable future, including fundraising. Star-C is currently providing rent and utilities assistance in Cobb County, under a $4.1 million Emergency Rental Assistance Program allocation.
"You might say we grabbed the tiger by the tail, but it has been a wonderful and consuming ride," says Audrea Rease, Executive Director of Star-C Programs. "Through incredible collaboration, grants and strong individual giving, we've been able to help more people across a broader area than we ever imagined, and that need continues, which is why we are continuing to ask for donations to continuing helping hardworking Atlantans who have temporary challenges paying rent."
Rease notes that the Eviction Relief Fund ("ERF") benefited from CARES Act funding provided by Cobb County, DeKalb County and the City of Atlanta, in addition to Cobb's Emergency Rental Assistance Program. She says the program partnered with 330 landlords representing 65,000 apartment units, as they administered the ERF.
"Last year we quickly pivoted from primarily providing after-school and related programs to offering what we thought would be a relatively short-term rental-assistance program," Rease says. "Once kids have (in part) returned to classrooms and, especially, as we offer our traditional summer programs for them, we've ramped back up Star-C's core programs, but at the same time recognizing that the eviction crisis continues."
- Learn more about the Eviction Relief Fund or contribute to the ERF.
- Learn more about Star-C or contribute to its after-school and summer programs.
Star-C is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that bills itself as an education model with an affordable housing solution. Star-C improves educational outcomes by helping to reduce transiency in underserved areas by providing wraparound services to students and families in our partner affordable housing communities. Star-C holds a monthly breakfast so anyone can learn more about the organization, programs and outlook; see Monthly Breakfast information on its website: http://www.star-c.org/events.
Star-C Board Member
SOURCE Star-C Programs