SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Over the past few weeks, the workload and efforts of area non-profits has sky-rocketed amid the COVID-19 crisis. On the forefront of the aid effort is the United Way of the Coastal Empire.
For some perspective, the United Way’s 211 call center averages about 300 calls a week. In the last seven days, there have been over 1,200 calls asking for the non-profits help.
With that call volume, United Way leaders are asking for the public’s patience.
The United Way of the Coastal Empire set up a COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund a little over a week ago, knowing they'd need that resource to help those recently out of work.
The United Way is hoping to see the fund hit $200,000 in the coming days, but they know it will quickly diminish with community issues like food insecurity and housing only getting worse for some residents in Chatham, Effingham, Bryan and Liberty counties.
According to the president and CEO of the United Way of the Coastal Empire, a good number of the calls coming in over the past week are people needing renter assistance.
"Honestly, I have to say I did know there were families that live in some hotels. I don't think I really understood how many people are existing in that gray area between stable housing and homelessness. And this situation just has a potential, it's already beginning to push people over that edge,” Brynn Grant said.
Grant says every single dollar they raise in the COVID-19 Rapid Response fund will go toward efforts like that, to help people teetering on that edge.
The fund will provide financial assistance to:
- Residents of Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties
- Residents who are not able to pay all or part of their monthly rent, mortgage, or utility bill(s) due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19. This could be due to temporarily increased expenses or decreased income.
Some documentation is required, and residents must meet eligibility guidelines. Apply by calling United Way of the Coastal Empire offices:
- Bryan County residents, call 912.651.7750
- Chatham County residents, call 211 or 912.651.7730
- Effingham County residents, call 912.826.5300
- Liberty County residents, call 912.368.5300
For more information, visit www.uwce.org.
For more information about COVID-19 Rapid Response eligibility guidelines, visit uwce.org/211 or call 211. United Way 211 is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm. Temporary weekend hours will be added, beginning March 28th.