As a result of social distancing practices and the widespread closure of public and community spaces, Islanders who were already vulnerable are facing new risks. Many are in crisis and in urgent need of help.
Now more than ever, we need to pull together to support those who need it most. People who have lost their jobs or who are struggling to put food on the table. People who are at risk of, or already experiencing, homelessness or domestic violence. And people who are managing mental illness and need access to care providers and consistent check-ins.
The UWPEI Compassion Fund is helping us do exactly that.
On March 17th, the fund was launched with a generous offer by Tom Rose, the President of Atlantic Business Interiors, to match up to $100,000 in initial donations across Atlantic Canada. Here in PEI a further $250,000 was contributed to the United Way of PEI by the provincial government in order to support the essential needs of Islanders.
Today, the fund is providing critical financial support to local registered charities across PEI, making it possible for them to respond to the immediate and emerging needs of their local communities. Those needs far outweigh their current capacity, and the Fund exists to try to close that gap. The Atlantic Compassion Fund is helping people in need of safe shelter, food, connection or mental health care to make it through this crisis.
The fund consists of two tiers. The first tier is aimed at ensuring that the needs of vulnerable Islanders resulting from the COVID-19 crisis are being addressed. To date, we have reviewed 25 applications and have approved 13 of those applications, totaling approximately $70,000 in allocated funds. We continue to receive, review and approve applications for funding.
We are working closely with other key stakeholders to identify the needs as the landscape continues to change and are developing a Tier 2 funding model that will focus on how we support the essential services of the community sector throughout the crisis. We are also working with local and regional partners, national United Way Centraide Canada, and Imagine Canada to advocate for long-term support for the Island’s community sector.
On behalf of everyone at the United Way of PEI, we hope all Islanders stay safe, healthy, and please continue to practice the social distancing and self-isolation practices requested by Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison.