FAIRMONT – As the pandemic appears to be resolving, families are still hurting to get financial help.
The Tygart Valley United Way announced on Friday the launch of the Fairmont Family Relief Fund to help families in need. The fund is made possible by money from the CARES Act and helps families affected by COVID and struggling to pay rent, mortgage or electricity bills in Fairmont.
“If families need help with re-letting we can help, if they have utility companies they are unfamiliar with we can help,” said Chris Yost, program manager at Tygart Valley United Way.
Eligible families are limited to a maximum of $ 2,000 in benefits. The United Way received a total of $ 100,000 for the project, which aims to support at least 50 families.
“We’re really grateful that we were able to bring these dollars to the community,” said Brett White, executive director of Tygart Valley United Way. “We wanted to make sure Fairmont got the dollars available.”
The money comes to Fairmont through a Community Development Block Grant, a long-term federal grant program. Commonly known as CDBGs, the grant funds in Washington are paid out to state capitals, which then forward them to the appropriate authorities in the local communities for assistance.
Some cities in West Virginia automatically receive the grants, but Fairmont does not. To help Fairmont families, United Way applied in October 2020 and is now receiving the funds they can give to those in need.
“It was a long process that we had to go through with the state,” said White. “We hope the next few rounds come a lot faster, but this will be a much-needed service for the people of Fairmont.”
Fairmont City Council held an emergency meeting last October to hold a public hearing on the Fairmont Family Relief Fund.
“The funds are used to pay service providers for people who cannot pay their mortgage or electricity bills due to COVID. It’s a coronavirus response scholarship, “Fairmont City clerk Janet Keller said last October. “The City of Fairmont is just the transit provider. We are applying for the grant, but the grant funds actually go to United Way for program administration. “
Since the beginning of the pandemic, those in need have asked the United Way for help. Now you have the opportunity to distribute this aid.
“It was a huge need even before COVID, but COVID really exacerbated the need,” Yost said. “We get calls every day about people needing help with renting or having their water turned off. Having the opportunity to help these families is just great.”
Applications for these dollars will begin on Monday. To apply, anyone can download the form from the United Way website or drop by their office in downtown Fairmont and pick one up outside.
Once the form has been completed and submitted, applicants will be asked to discuss their needs with Yost before they are approved. Applications are open until June 2022 or until the $ 100,000 issue.
“We knew from the beginning of the pandemic that there was a great need,” White said. “There are still a lot of bills that haven’t been received and we wanted to get that money out as soon as possible.”
Applications will be available outside the United Way office starting Monday. The applications can also be downloaded online at www.tvunitedway.org. For more information on the Fairmont Family Relief Fund, contact Tygart Valley United Way at 304-366-4550.