FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Gersh, 213-808-6479
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
United Way of Greater Los Angeles Announces Recipients of its Southern California Wildfire and Mudslide Relief Fund Phase II
Anticipating the need for longer-term relief efforts, United Way has planned for funding to continue into summer/fall 2018
LOS ANGELES, CA (July 13, 2018) -- United Way of Greater Los Angeles announced today that its Southern California Wildfire and Mudslide Relief Fund has entered the second stage of disaster relief funding. Designed to support longer-term wildfire recovery for low-income individuals and families throughout Southern California, Phase II relief funds will be released to organizations in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Los Angeles Counties.
“It’s incredibly encouraging to see organizations rally together immediately after a natural disaster, but low-income individuals and families continue to experience the negative effects of a disaster months, and even years, after the event. We felt it was important to build a two-part strategy that helped stabilize families in the months following the crisis, while also supporting the long-term recovery efforts of neighborhoods and revitalization of community spaces. We’re proud to partner with organizations throughout Southern California that can help to recalibrate affected families and individuals as they move forward,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
In 2017, California experienced the most destructive wildfire season on record. It destroyed the homes and livelihoods of thousands of individuals and families. In response, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles created the Southern California Wildfire and Mudslide Relief Fund to support low-income individuals and families affected by the disaster. Since December 8, 2017, the fund has raised more than $800,000 from online donations and contributions from individuals and organizations including: 21st Century Fox, Bank of the West, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Edison International, The Los Angeles Rams, Southern California Gas Company and The Wallace Foundation. Eighty percent of initial funds raised were released during the first phase of the relief efforts, and 20 percent, plus an additional $50,000 raised after the first phase, will be implemented during this second phase.
“We are committed to supporting the affected communities where we live and work to help make a difference in their ongoing recovery,” said Janet Clayton, senior vice president of Corporate Communications for Southern California Edison and Edison International, a major contributor to the fund. Edison International is the parent company of SCE.
The United Ways of Greater Los Angeles, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and San Diego County worked collaboratively to identify and vet organizations best positioned to support relief efforts for both short and long-term recovery for individuals, families and communities.
The first phase of funds, released in April 2018, provided support to over 1000 households in areas of critical income loss; emotional support and trauma counseling; replacement homes and rental assistance; replacement furnishings; groceries and essential household items; and medical care.
One of the families served was a single father with two children ages nine and ten. Due to the Thomas wildfire and mudslide, the father lost three weeks of work and was behind on rent and other household bills; and neither child had health insurance. With help from The Family Advocate the father was able to receive a $100 gift card to a local grocery store, referrals to other sources of support to meet basic needs, assistance to receive CalFresh food stamp benefits, assistance in getting both children Medi-Cal coverage, and referrals to help the father learn English so he could advance his employment. Through Phase I financial support, the family was able to catch up on unpaid rent and other bills. Their situation has stabilized, and they are now working towards long-term goals.
“We’re so grateful for the resources shared by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles,” said Steve Ortiz, President and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County. “Through our partnerships, we’ve been able to provide families with multiple layers of support, including relocation assistance, medical care and counseling, and basic necessities. With this second phase of funding, we can provide the emotional and financial support that will continue our families’ longer-term healing and ultimate recovery.”
The second phase of funding, totaling over $190,000, will support organizations working directly to help families and neighborhoods with home restoration, neighborhood revitalization, community infrastructure repair and preparation for future disasters.
The following organizations will receive funding for Phase II:
• Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF)
• Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE/805 UndocuFund)
• Community Recovery Team, Inc.
• Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles
• Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County
• Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County
“Thanks to immediate relief provided by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, we were able to work with numerous organizations to assist low-income families, including many single parents, and immigrant families who are not able to access federal disaster aid,” said Eric Harrison, President and CEO of United Way of Ventura County.“ We look forward to continuing to address the diverse needs of our communities and affected families as they rebuild their lives.”
Managed and led by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Southern California Wildfire and Mudslide Relief Fund was created after consultations with a coalition of local United Ways serving communities directly affected by the fires: United Way of Ventura County, United Way of Santa Barbara, United Way of San Diego County and Orange County United Way.
About United Way of Greater Los Angeles:
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization fighting to end poverty by preparing students for high school graduation, college, and the workforce; housing our homeless neighbors; and guiding hard-working families towards economic mobility. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit UnitedWayLA.org and EveryoneInLA.com
About United Way of Santa Barbara County:
United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has the unique and positive vision that “in our
community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing initiatives that involve dozens of local non-profit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s local community driven Power of Partnership™ priorities help children, families & seniors with a focus on education, income and health. For more information on United Way of Santa Barbara County, visit liveunitedsbc.org or www.unitedwaysb.org/thomas-recovery.
About United Way of Ventura County:
Since 1945, United Way of Ventura County has advanced the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on education, income and health, because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We support local services and programs that are more than just ‘stop gap’ measures, but rather solutions that help create lasting change. We invite everyone to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. When we work together in common purpose, we LIVE UNITED. For more information about United Way of Ventura County, visit www.vcunitedway.org.
About Edison International:
Edison International (NYSE:EIX), through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power, as well as a provider of energy services and technologies, including renewable energy. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. Edison International is also the parent company of Edison Energy, a portfolio of competitive businesses that provide commercial and industrial customers with energy management and procurement services. Edison Energy is independent from Southern California Edison. For more information, visit edison.com