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, but it is also 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 layoffs or business closures, Durel said.

You can also donate to the coronavirus fund by text keyword “corona” to 91999.

QUESTIONS ABOUT WHO WE HELP?
  • Individuals who have lost work/hours or been laid off due to the Coronavirus situation. Bills that are already past due prior to March will not fit with this fund. Proof of past income is required.
  • Individuals who have already applied for Unemployment Insurance via LAWorks due to the Coronavirus situation.
  • Individuals who have extraordinary expenses due to the Coronavirus Situation and this has jeopardized their budget. (ie. paying for licensed childcare provider for a child that would normally be in school so you can go to work) 
HOW DO WE PAY OUT?
  • United Way of Southwest Louisiana pays the vendor of the bill directly such as the landlord (with w-9) or the corporation that provides the utilities. Applicants do not receive the payments.
  • United Way of Southwest Louisiana does not pay nonessential bills such as cable, payday or cell phone bills.
  • Assistance is tracked by all local agencies via Charity Tracker software.