SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – United Way of Northwest Louisiana has launched a new program to help local families who are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applications are now being accepted for the United for NWLA Fund, an emergency assistance fund to help low-to-moderate income families who are experiencing financial hardship.
Families who qualify will be eligible for a one-time payment, up to $500, to assist them in meeting their basic financial needs.
President and CEO of United Way of Northwest Louisiana Dr. Bruce Willson Jr. said, “The economic disruption caused by this pandemic is affecting families and communities across the country in many ways. For many of our ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families, those barely making enough to make ends meet, this disruption could be completely destabilizing.”
Applications will be accepted starting May 21 and will continue until funds are depleted. For those looking to apply for assistance, they must first contact United Way 211, the information and resource hotline.
This helpline provides access to other governmental and nonprofit entities also providing community assistance. With the launch of the Financial Empowerment Center this week, applicants to the Fund will also have the option to sign up for free financial counseling.
Director of 211 of United Way of Northwest Louisiana Louise Droddy said, “We believe it is important to provide more than financial relief during these trying times. We also want to create a path to long-term financial stability.”
Those applying for assistance must meet these qualifications:
- Reside in the United Way of Northwest Louisiana service area – Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, Webster, and Winn parishes.
- Provide verification of employment status – furloughed, lay-offs, reduced hours, etc.
- Experiencing a financial emergency tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Way of Northwest Louisiana committed $10,000 to start the United for NWLA Fund. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and Regions Bank contributed $50,000 and $2,500, respectively, to the fund to provide direct financial assistance. Hancock Whitney Bank recently pledged an additional $20,000 to provide rental assistance.
United Way also partners with the Shreveport Convention and Tourist Bureau, along with the Shreveport-Bossier Hotel and Lodging Association, Shreveport-Bossier Attractions Association, and Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission, to promote and recruit donations to the fund for hospitality industry workers who have become unemployed or suffered financial hardship due to COVID-19. The Salvation Army will provide case management and oversight of the Emergency Assistance Committee, consisting of 9 members from United Way, The Salvation Army, and other community leaders.