So many individuals and families personally know that one unexpected expense can move a family from self-sufficiency to financial emergency. For many, we know the government shutdown is putting people in unchartered territory with an unexpected change in their employment status, which can cause a sense of fear. Economic stability provides a sense of safety and security, and when that is suddenly taken away, the repercussions are endless.
You begin to question how you will afford your mortgage or rent payments, pay your utilities, or take care of your family. This shutdown began right before the holidays – a time for celebration. For many, it was a time of uncertainty.
But, it is often in the midst of hardship, that you see how a community unites. People step forward asking how they can help; recognizing that this situation could very easily be happening to them.
We know that during especially difficult times, there are always people choosing to step forward; and it is during these times that community kindness is amplified. In 2012, when wildfires ravaged our beautiful state, individuals, communities, businesses, and political leaders rallied together to support our community. In 2013, when floods had a devastating impact on communities throughout Colorado, people banded together to help.
Though not a natural disaster, we know that the government shutdown is affecting so many Coloradans, and our community is rising up once more. Businesses, nonprofits, and corporations have shown a united front in support of our neighbors during this difficult time. Circumstances do not define who you are, and no one should feel they can’t ask for help.
When you are unexpectedly living without a paycheck, it can feel scary to ask for help. Mile High United Way and this community want you to know that when circumstances make it difficult for you to provide or you are looking for help, we are here to connect you to the resources you need.
That is why the Mile High United Way 2-1-1 Help Center</a href> has partnered with the City of Denver to offer the Temporary Mortgage Assistance program (TMAP) to homeowners facing hardship due to an involuntary change in their employment status. TMAP can provide qualified households in the City and County of Denver up to two months or $5,000 maximum of help to cover mortgage payments. When the program began, our 2-1-1 Call Center tripled the amount of inquires we received on a daily basis proving this is a time of need for so many people in our community.
We have also seen several of our corporate partners step forward. Alpine Bank created a $5 million loan pool available to federal employees. B-Cycle is offering federal workers rides for free if they scan their federal IDs. Food Bank of the Rockies is making sure to have extra food in their mobile pantries to extend distribution. Wells Fargo is making fee reversals and waivers available, and $250,000 has been donated to support United Ways in providing basic resources to those in need – and we know there are many more.
It is often during times of emergency that these situations are brought to light, but we know there are individuals and families in our community who struggle to pay their rent and provide for their family every single day.
The silver lining? There is something we can do. If we choose to work together, as one united community, we can respond when our neighbors need help.
This is a call for all of us to not just see the best in humanity when an emergency hits. This is a call to make helping those around us part of our daily routine.
When we unite as a community, one intentional act of kindness can turn strangers into neighbors.