The partner agencies involved in the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund today announced a new round of pandemic relief funding totaling $370,000. Supported by the John S. and James L Knight Foundation, the fund was created through a partnership of United Way of Summit & Medina, the City of Akron, the County of Summit, Akron Public Schools, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Summit County Public Health and Job & Family Services.
Of the funding announced today, $50,000 will go to the Akron Area YMCA, $40,000 to the Salvation Army of Summit County, and $30,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve. More than six months after Ohio’s first case of COVID-19, remote learning remains a daily reality for many Summit County students, posing challenges for parents who must make new arrangements for childcare. These funds will go toward parental support services and childcare programs.
A further $250,000 will go toward United Way of Summit & Medina for CARES administrative support. A partnership of local government and community organizations, Summit County CARES was created to help keep Summit County families and residents housed in the wake of the historic economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A recent report commissioned by Ohio United Way showed that, before the start of the pandemic, 34 percent of Summit County households earned less than Ohio’s basic cost of living. With many families facing lost jobs or reduced wages due to the economic impact of COVID-19, many more are struggling to make ends meet.
United Way is working to distribute $9 million in Summit County CARES funds for rent and mortgage assistance by the end of the year. In July and September, Summit County CARES received more than 7,500 applications for assistance online and through United Way’s 211 help line. Applicants have access to the help of a trained United Way financial coach through the Akron Financial Empowerment Center. An estimated 450 evictions have been prevented by the program so far.
“For thousands of local residents who have struggled for years to build and maintain financial stability, COVID-19 has been devastating,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight’s Akron program, adding that the Foundation contributed $500,000 earlier this year to the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund. “At the start of this pandemic, United Way sprang into action. They expanded their 211 call center to answer surging numbers of calls. They leveraged their resources and staff to fill the gaps in the response. The future of our community depends on all of us coming together to ensure that our most vulnerable residents recover from this crisis, and United Way has shown it is committed to making that happen.”
To date, the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund has distributed more than $1.5 million in pandemic relief funding throughout Summit County. More than $150,000 remain in the fund to be distributed in the future.