Photo credit: CBC News
On Tuesday April 21, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt frontline services supporting vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Way Halton & Hamilton is pleased to support this important investment by the Federal Government and applauds the government’s move to support our country’s most vulnerable people. United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC), Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada will collaborate with partners, charities, and non-profit organizations to implement the Fund in communities from coast to coast to coast.
The funding is intended to support frontline community-based service providers who serve vulnerable Canadians, including low-income seniors, women, children and youth, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, refugees, Indigenous peoples and members of racialized communities.
This welcome announcement follows the Federal Government’s $9 million investment in United Ways nationally to support vulnerable seniors on March 29, 2020, funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.
The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. To provide more support for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced flexibility for organizations to use funding received through the NHSP community-based stream to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, UWCC, other United Ways and other charities have been advocating for Federal investment to support the charitable sector. We are grateful for government’s decision to deploy these critical funds.
In announcing the $350 million emergency support fund, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recognized the importance of social services and the dedication of those on the frontline:
“…even before this pandemic, charities and nonprofit organizations are doing crucial work to help our communities. Their mission has always been to support people in their time of need and that hasn’t changed. COVID-19 is putting a tremendous amount of pressure to support those in need more than ever.”
Leading with Local Love in a Global Crisis
United Way Halton & Hamilton is well-positioned to help distribute this fund in our communities. From the early days of this pandemic, we have kept a pulse on urgent and emerging needs through close and frequent communication with our supported agencies, key stakeholders and municipal government, as well as other local funders.
We know that we must strengthen the social safety net in our community in order to prevent our most vulnerable from falling through the cracks. The need for social supports is critical at this time and will only continue to grow over the coming weeks and months as we navigate our new normal.
If anything is clear in these uncertain times, it is that we are in this together and we are all deeply connected. Using our existing local knowledge and capacity to manage and invest funds, we will ensure that the Emergency Community Support Fund gets to the local community services that need it most.
While we are pivoting to make the biggest impact possible in community during the COVID-19 pandemic, this work is in no way a departure from our mission, vision and values that drive our commitment to community year after year. UWHH donors support a stable network of 129 agency programs in our community, providing a range of programs and services for 200,000 people annually.
We are eager to invest these funds to support local frontline agencies as quickly as possible. UWCC is working with the Federal Government to finalize the details on this fund and we will communicate how the Fund will be activated soon.