At Capital Area United Way, part of our mission is telling the stories of our community. With each story, there is a person behind it - someone who needs the tools while they do the rest to build a better life, get back on their feet, or further the work they have done. The stories we are tell are vital to the work we do - they are the fabric of the successes we champion.
In Spring 2021, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge (CCDBR) received one our ALICE Grants to provide for their Parents and Children Together (PACT) program. Since then, PACT has impacted 124 families (372 individuals) – and the most impacted group was families with children aged 0-5. Families in East Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee benefitted from safe and affordable housing assistance while St. Helena residents benefitted from grocery and gas gift cards, which were most beneficial following Hurricane Ida.
One of the individuals impacted was Samantha, a 29-year-old single mother of three children. She is the mother of 2 boys (age 5 and 7) and a girl (age 5), and they live in Pointe Coupee Parish in public housing. She came to the PACT family literacy meeting this summer to receive free books for her children and asked about joining PACT. She was informed that she could officially enroll in PACT in a couple of months when the new PACT year began. Samantha stayed in touch with the Early Childhood Program Manager and let her know that she had been out of work for several months due to getting sick with COVID. During that time, Samantha fell behind on her rent and utilities payments; however, she could not be evicted due to the rent moratorium. Samantha’s rent was based on her income, which was below $200. Because Samantha was out of work her rent was only $32 a month, but she still could not afford to pay it. Her utility bills were paid by other community resources that she was referred to through PACT and previous utilized agencies.
Fortunately, Samantha found a full-time job in October working in a new industry. Since she was gainfully employed again, Samantha’s rent went back to the regular rate which is a third of her salary. Samantha paid what she could on the rent, but her balance was still over $700. Through the ALICE grant funds, CCDBR provided rent assistance to bring her balance to $0. As a single mom of 3 young children, these funds took a significant amount of stress off Samantha and her home life. As a participating PACT family, Samantha and her family will have continued access to case management and other support services that promote family resiliency.
As you can see, where there’s a need, there’s a way, and it all because of our donors who selflessly give to serve their community.
ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Grants that were announced in Spring 2021, and The Walls Project was our first spotlight, which can be viewed here. The ALICE Grants served four target populations: seniors over 65; veterans; families and/or individuals with children aged 0-5; and ALICE households due to COVID-19 related unemployment.
You can learn more about our impact by exploring our website further, and you can keep an eye on the Our Stories page for more grant stories to come from the ALICE Grants and other grant cycles