LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- After the Hill and Woolsey Fires devastated more than 100,000 acres, displacing hundreds of thousands of individuals and families, United Way of Greater Los Angeles sprung to action and raised more than $2.5 million to help those in need. After carefully vetting applications, the organization announced today that it is distributing funding to local nonprofits that are best positioned to support long-term wildfire recovery efforts for low-income individuals and families throughout Southern California.
"Losing your home, your job, or your possessions as a result of a wildfire is devastating. Disasters are especially devastating for low-income individuals and families who may live or commute to impacted areas and don't have the means to rebound," said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "We're proud of the Los Angeles County community for coming together to support those affected by the 2018 fires. Assistance may mean the difference between people staying in their homes or becoming homeless."
Fundraising efforts wouldn't have been possible without a multi-platform 12-hour Fire Relief Fundraiser event in November, organized with the partnership of CBS 2 Los Angeles, KCAL 9 and the Los Angeles Rams. The fundraiser raised over $1 million in one day from generous individuals and organizations. Please see the United Way of Greater Los Angeles website for further donor recognition.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is distributing funds to local nonprofit partners in three phases. Phase One funds were provided to the American Red Cross before Thanksgiving 2018 from a portion of pledges raised during the on-air Fire Relief Fundraiser, bringing immediate relief to those in need. Phase Two funding — totaling $1 million — is being granted to non-profit organizations providing stabilization and support in the form of economic, emotional and housing support to low-income families and workers experiencing hardship due to the fires. Phase Three funds will focus on longer-term recovery and will be distributed in the coming months to assist with continued economic, emotional and housing support, home improvements, neighborhood improvements, and future disaster preparations. Organizations interested in submitting an application for Phase Three distribution may visit unitedwayla.org for further information.
The following eleven organizations will receive funding from United Way's Disaster Relief Fund during Phase Two:
· 211 LA County: First point of contact for individuals and families in need as a result of fires; provides referrals as appropriate; serving Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
· Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation: Financial, rental, food assistance for low-income families experiencing financial hardship as a result of fires; serving Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
· Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE): Financial assistance for farmworkers who lost wages due to fires; serving Ventura County.
· Community Career Development: Workforce development assistance for low-income individuals who are unemployed and underemployed as a result of fires; small business owners in need of assistance due to the fires; serving Los Angeles County.
· Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles: Vouchers for furnishings and other basic home necessities for low-income households that were damaged or displaced as a result of fires; urgent debris clean up and repairs for low-income households; serving Los Angeles County.
· Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County: Vouchers for furnishings and other basic home necessities for low-income households that were damaged or displaced as a result of fires; serving Ventura County.
· Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA): Financial assistance and health education for low-income domestic workers and day laborers that work in fire impacted areas and lost wages due to fires; serving Los Angeles County.
· Salvation Army: Long-term financial assistance for low-income families experiencing financial hardship as a result of fires; serving Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
· Southeast Ventura County YMCA in association with California Strong: Financial and rental assistance for low-income families experiencing financial hardship as a result of fires; serving Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
· The People Concern: Housing assistance for individuals who were experiencing homelessness in Malibu prior to and during fires; serving Los Angeles County.
· West Valley Counseling Center: Mental health services to low-income individuals and families experiencing emotional distress as a result of fires; serving Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
Disaster recovery is a critical component in United Way of Greater Los Angeles' fight to end poverty. Those affected by the 2018 fires may call 211 for assistance. United Way of Greater Los Angeles established the Southern California Wildfire and Mudslide Relief Fund and worked with United Ways across Southern California to provide long-term recovery for those affected by rampant wildfires and mudslides in late 2017. The current Southern California Disaster Relief Fund was created in partnership with United Ways of California and United Way of Ventura County.
"We are grateful to our sister chapter, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, for their collaboration in Ventura County," said Eric Harrison, President and CEO of United Way of Ventura County.
Donations can still make an impact by donating to unitedwayla.org/2018fires or texting 2018fires to 41444.
About United Way Greater Los Angeles:
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization fighting to end poverty by preparing students for high school graduation, college, and the workforce, housing our homeless neighbors, and guiding hard-working families towards economic mobility. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit UnitedWayLA.org and EveryoneInLA.org
About United Way of Ventura County:
Since 1945, United Way of Ventura County has advanced the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on education, income and health, because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We support local services and programs that are more than just 'stop gap' measures, but rather solutions that help create lasting change. We invite everyone to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. When we work together in common purpose, we LIVE UNITED. For more information about United Way of Ventura County, visit www.vcunitedway.org.
About United Ways of California:
United Ways of California improves health, education and financial stability results for low-income California families by coordinating the statewide community impact and advocacy work of California United Ways. For more information about United Ways of California, visit www.unitedwaysca.org
Contact: Melissa Gersh, 213-808-6479
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles