SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Since the coronavirus pandemic shut down cities across the United States — many families have found themselves struggling financially.
United Way of Northwest Louisiana is doing everything they can to help families and most recently created a fund to help families in Northwest Louisiana affected by the pandemic.
“We teamed up with the Salvation Army and the Salvation Army is actually receiving the applications and they are the ones with the group of people who are doing what we call vetting," said United Way of NWLA’s CEO Bruce Willson. "In other words (they will) check out is this a legitimate need, who does it need to be paid to and so in amounts of 500 dollars we’re going to be giving out grants.”
Willson says United Way put up $10,000 to start the fund and so far has over $85,000 that will be available to help families in need.
United Way of Northwest Louisiana has also created a survey to hear from families that have been impacted by COVID-19.
“We know that one in four families were living pretty much paycheck to paycheck prior to the advent of the coronavirus," Willson said. "Since then we’re now running 20 to 25 percent unemployment within our area and so we know that the needs have increased.”
Willson says since they’ve launched their 211 helpline at the start of the pandemic, they’ve received nearly 70,000 calls and 60,000 texts from people asking for primarily rent, utilities, and or food assistance.
Along with these resources, United Way has also partnered with the City of Shreveport to launch the Financial Empowerment Center.
“You can set up an appointment and people can help you learn how to set up a budget, learn how to reduce your debt load, increase your credit score and maybe you want to move towards homeownership, we can help that free of charge," Willson said.
Those wanting to apply for assistance can fill out the application HERE, or call/text United Way’s 211 line for more information.