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United Way of Southwest Louisiana has created a coronavirus economic relief fund for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed individuals and families affected by the coronavirus.
The fund is donation driven and will be used to service ALICE community members in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis Parishes. Typically considered the “working poor,”ALICE community members earn too much to apply for typical human service benefits, but make too little to survive during natural disasters or large-scale public emergency situations such as the coronavirus.
“This coronavirus is not only a health crisis, it is an economic situation with an uncertain outcome,” Denise Durel, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Louisiana for the last ten years, said. “We are deeply concerned for those who already struggle financially, particularly hourly employees and others who don’t have jobs that offer paid sick days or the option to work from home.”
As schools and businesses close, even as temporary measures, research suggests ALICE residents especially may face an economic toll leading to job loss, extended sickness and even homelessness. The most recent ALICE report shows that 47% of Southwest Louisiana struggles to make ends meet. Many of these same employees do not have employer-provided health insurance and may not reach out for medical assistance until the situation is dire.
For 80 years United Way of Southwest Louisiana has served the five parish region and has successfully managed similar funds during catastrophic flooding and hurricane events. One hundred percent of donations will be locally distributed for the purpose of assisting those with lost wages due to coronavirus lay offs or business closures, Durel said.