More than a half-million people in the metro area live in poverty, which signifies an above average demand for social services. “We recognize the number of people in need remains high. Youth homelessness increased 40 percent since 2006. Experts attribute this to a number of factors including the Recession and unemployment,” explains United Way Chief Operating Officer Ben Knoll. He continues, “Our donors expect United Way, as stewards of their contributions, to invest in the highest quality programs. Program funding, which goes into effect January 2012, will also aid north Minneapolis residents impacted by the recent tornado which devastated some areas that were already struggling. “These grants are for long-term housing needs and legal services. A community’s recovery from a natural disaster doesn’t happen in a matter of weeks or months – it can take years,” says Basic Needs Committee Chair Dave Vander Haar.
It means having the support services to stay in the home and to break the generational cycle of poverty,” says Marcia Fink. She stresses, “Families, children, racial and ethnic minorities, youth; all of the aforementioned deserve stability, which is a step towards self-sufficiency.”