United Way Launches Coalition to Help Those Impacted By Government Shutdown

Alexandria, VA (Jan. 11, 2019) United Way Worldwide today announced that it will lead the formation of the United for U.S. coalition, a joint effort by corporate partners, organized labor, the United Way network and nonprofits to assist furloughed federal workers and others impacted by the ongoing government shutdown.

United Way and its community partners are preparing for an expected uptick in calls to 2-1-1 from those seeking assistance with rent and mortgage payments, utility bills and groceries. United for U.S. will address these needs by bringing together United Way’s deep community knowledge with organized labor and our corporate partners who want to help those in need during the extended shutdown. 

“No organization is better positioned than United Way to bring critical resources together for those who need help. Our reach into every U.S. community and our deep relationships with all sectors allow us to create the safety net that will assist our neighbors maintain the fabric of our communities,” said Mary Sellers, U.S. President, United Way Worldwide. “We are thankful for the support of our corporate partners, organized labor and local United Ways, who stand ready to provide vital services to those in need.” 

The 2-1-1 non-emergency service will anchor United Way’s community support by providing information about local social services, including the availability of public benefits and corporate assistance programs. The 2-1-1 network, 211.org, connects callers to resources and aid for monthly living expenses.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America are two of United Way’s closest corporate partners offering support to those affected. Wells Fargo will waive fees for customers who have direct deposit from the federal government, or at the customer’s request, and will offer short and long-term assistance for those who need extra time to make payments. Bank of America is offering personalized financial assistance through its Client Assistance Program. United Way is inviting other corporate partners to join the coalition's efforts.   

As part of its long-standing association with the labor movement, United Way is working with a number of organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), to distribute information on resources available to assist with needs and living expenses.

Local United Ways are also providing a host of services in areas with federal workers, including financial services and counseling, and where available, Emergency Housing and Assistance Funds for food, rent and other assistance.  

Some of the examples of how local United Ways are assisting those in their communities include:

United Way of the National Capital Area (Washington D.C.) has provided $50,000 through its Emergency Assistance Fund to area nonprofits to meet people’s basic needs.  

United Way of Genesee County (Flint, Mich.) launched a fund to help federal workers with emergency needs, specifically food, transportation and current utility payments.

Mile High United Way (Denver, Colo.) has a variety of resources for federal workers through 2-1-1 to connect people to health care services, food pantries, mental health resources, childcare, and utility and eviction prevention assistance.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan (Detroit, Mich.) is directing federal employees who call 2-1-1 to available resources, and coordinating food box distribution with local food pantries.

United Way of Bay County (Bay City, Mich.) established a Community Services Emergency Fund to provide cash payments to furloughed government workers for household bills, groceries and other basics.

United Way of King County (Seattle, Wash.) is participating in local resource fairs for federal workers organized by the Port of Seattle.

We urge those seeking information or assistance to call 2-1-1 or go to 211.org.

About United Way Worldwide

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.9 million volunteers, 9 million donors worldwide and $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

About 2-1-1

2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that connects individuals to resources and services in their local communities by phone, text and on the web. Individuals in need or who are looking for information for someone else can call 2-1-1 from a cell phone or landline. United Way supports and provides 2-1-1 services in most communities across the U.S. For more information about 2-1-1, visit 211.org.