Financial stability is not a simple, one-step process. Many people struggle to get by, even working multiple jobs. Family-sustaining income is a cornerstone of financial stability: the key to paying the rent, putting food on the table, and affording childcare and transportation. It is also the springboard to longer term asset building strategies such as saving to buy a home, sending kids to college, and saving for retirement.
While continuing to address critical needs such as emergency food, housing, utilities, and transportation for individuals and families in crisis, United Way of Greater Portland is partnering with the local community to develop resources and opportunities that help individuals and families move up the ladder of financial security. Local initiatives and other efforts supported range from improving access to quality childcare, transportation and legal services to tax refunds saving, and job creation strategies.
United Way of Greater Portland’s Financial Continuum
Helping People Get Back on Their Feet
For families struggling to pay the rent and buy food, an unanticipated expense – a car breakdown, an uninsured illness, a week without a paycheck – can lead to crisis. For those also dealing with mental illness, poor health, or family trauma, holding a steady job can be a daily challenge. United Way partner agencies are there to help, providing food, and shelter assistance as well as counseling and referral services for a broad range of basic needs.
Catholic Charities Maine
Catholic Charities Maine’s Refugee and Immigration Services resettles all persons classified as refugees by the federal government regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin. The diversity of the refugees resettled in Maine closely reflects the quotas set annually by the President. CC staff works with them to access housing, English skills, jobs, and medical and mental health services that will allow them to begin a new life here and become part of the community in which they live.
Freeport Community Services
Family Services Program offers a variety of services to residents of the towns of Freeport and Pownal, including information and referral, a family life support group, elder services, clothes, camp, transportation, case management, food, fuel assistance, a job bank, a medical loan closet and a holiday helpline.
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
ILAP provides legal services to low-income non-citizens and their U.S. citizen family members regarding immigration issues and immigration-related access to benefits and services through consultations and referral, immigration application assistance, full legal representation, and education, and outreach.
Preble Street Programs
- Florence House: Provides 43-bed overnight shelter, basic needs, and meals for unaccompanied homeless women. In addition to immediate safety social workers offer crisis intervention, housing location assistance, and casework services to assist women in moving out of the shelter and off the streets as soon as possible.
- Food Programs: Provides three nutritious meals a day, 365 days a year at three soup kitchens, and emergency supplemental food boxes for homeless and low-income individuals and families. Social work are on site to provide services and referrals to address the problems that have caused a crisis in their lives.
- Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter: Provides emergency overnight shelter for homeless and adolescents aged 12-20. Offers safety, basic needs, referrals, and round-the-clock coordination with the Teen Center.
- Resource Center: Provides the only low-barrier services in Greater Portland that meet basic needs, 7 days a week, including housing assistance and support services to individuals and families who are homeless or living in poverty and in need of emergency shelter, healthcare, transitional housing, and employment services.
- Teen Center: A drop-in program for homeless, runaway, and at-risk adolescents. Provides meals basic needs, advocacy, and an on-site collaborative service model to assess and address the problems that have caused their homelessness, including health, mental health, substance abuse, exploitation, educational deficits, vocational, and legal issues services.
Wayside Food Programs
Wayside’s Food Rescue “rescues” close to one million pounds of perishable food each year. Wayside collects and distributes the food to 40 rural and urban food pantries and soup kitchen throughout Cumberland County at no cost to the recipient agency.
Providing Emergency Needs
United Way is partnering with other nonprofits, government, businesses, and the public to provide emergency assistance in the areas of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and fuel to our neighbors in need. In conjunction with our partners, we work to ensure that those receiving services are provided with the information, referral resources, and support they need to address the current crisis and access to the building blocks of future financial stability.
2-1-1 Maine connects people to resources such as heating and utilities assistance, access to food pantries, housing and shelter, and mental health services through a toll-free telephone number (211) and a robust online directory. Call specialists assess callers’ needs and refer them to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, utilizing a statewide database of 8,000 resources. Last year, 2-1-1 Maine answered over 78,000 calls.
American Red Cross of Southern Maine Programs
- Disaster Services: Assists victims of natural or man-made disasters. Provides as needed the essentials to survive: shelter, food, clothing, medical care and basic household furnishings. Also provides education on preparing for emergencies.
- Armed Forces Emergency Services: Provides 24-hour-a-day emergency communication and financial assistance to families who have a member on active duty in one of the military services.
Keep ME Warm
Keep ME Warm is a statewide partnership of the 10 United Ways of Maine and the 10 Community Action Agencies (CAPS) to raise funds to supplement fuel assistance programs in Maine. Keep ME Warm is the only statewide fuel assistance fundraising effort in the state. United Way distributes funds to local agencies for distribution in their communities. 2-1-1 Maine aids in the distribution of funds for overnight emergency fuel assistance for households that include children or elderly family members. Last winter, Keep ME Warm helped 1,026 households.
Emergency Food and Shelter Program
United Way of Greater Portland serves as the Cumberland County Local Board administrator for the federal Emergency Food and Shelter (EFSP) National Board Program. This program is designed to help communities respond to local emergency food and shelter needs. Funding decisions are made by a Local Board which sets priorities and makes funding recommendations. EFSP’s Phase 31 (August 1, 2013 – August 31, 2014) funding awarded 19 Cumberland County agencies grants totaling $96,292.
Promoting Financial Independence
Over the past 20 years, the cost of living in the United States has increased by almost 90 percent, drastically outpacing income growth. To make ends meet, families are borrowing heavily and relying on high-cost alternatives to cover their daily living expenses. That’s why United Way focuses on five building blocks of financial stability: 1) family-sustaining employment; 2) income supports; 3) savings and assets; 4) manageable expenses, and 5) affordable housing. United Way of Greater Portland supports a number of local initiatives to increase financial stability in our community.
CA$H Greater Portland
CA$H Greater Portland, a United Way led initiative, works to help low- and moderate-income Mainers make the most of their money. CA$H Greater Portland offers free tax preparation by IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, connects residents to financial education resources, and helps families build assets.
Greater Portland Workforce Initiative (GPWI)
The Greater Portland Workforce Initiative (GPWI) is a collective impact effort that aligns the needs of jobseekers and employers in Greater Portland. It builds upon the existing work and experience of community organizations and connects with the public workforce system creating a seamless, dual-customer pipeline, focusing on the identification and development of sector-specific pipelines leading to sustainable career pathways for jobseekers with barriers to employment. GPWI stakeholders secure guidance and direction from sector employers regarding core and occupation-specific skills required for increased employment of the targeted populations, prepare the jobseekers with the identified skills and coordinate the support necessary to successfully connect to the workforce, and provide employers with access to these qualified jobseekers.
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England - Job Connections
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England’s Job Connections employs a place-based approach to workforce development where clients work with a career adviser, develop a personal plan to address life barriers, and get connected with providers and emergency assistance to offset any potential work barriers, such as transportation or child care.
Maine Affordable Housing Coalition
United Way of Greater Portland is a member of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition,a diverse coalition of more than 120 public and private sector organizations, with a mission to raise public awareness and advance solutions that create and preserve affordable housing in Maine.
Regional Transportation Program
Transportation Program offers transportation services – via buses and volunteer drivers – to residents of Cumberland County with emphasis on the elderly, the handicapped, the economically disadvantaged, and the clients of social service agencies. Unlike a fixed route system, clients contact the agency to arrange for transportation to various services, including child care for state-protected children, detoxification, counseling, AA and other support group meetings, rehabilitation programs, shopping for the elderly and the handicapped, workshops and work sites for the developmentally disabled, emergency shelters, training programs for the disabled, nutrition sites, etc.
After retiring and moving back to Portland, Rich Moran wanted to get involved. He had always been interested in the tax process, so when he came across an opportunity to help people with their taxes, he jumped. Keep reading >>>