United Way Targets Poverty With Urgent Needs Fund
Bracebridge councillors recently received an update on the activities of the United Way Simcoe Muskoka during their most recent General committee meeting.
Rosslyn Junke from the United Way Simcoe Muskoka said a recent consultation with various stakeholders in Muskoka revealed several top priorities. That list included affordable housing, precarious employment, access to child care, social isolation and problems with transportation due to Muskoka’s geography, as well as mental health and addiction issues.
Junke said the problems are becoming further exacerbated by the fact that a number of organizations are facing shrinking budgets. In response the United Way has developed what they're calling the Urgent Needs Fund. The program is a six-month pilot project, wherein the United Way offers short-term financial grants to individuals living in low-income. The pilot project wraps up at the end of March but Junke said they've already been able to help a number of individuals in need.
Junke also spoke about the film Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis, which the United Way recently screened before an audience of more than 100vpeople at the Mark O'Meara Golf Club. She said that both Simcoe and Muskoka have higher rates of opioid deaths than the rest of Ontario, and the evening was a good opportunity to shine a spotlight on a significant local problem.