United Way sign
United Way sign. Photo Credit: Cassia Pollock

United Way of San Diego County announced Friday it is offering emergency assistance for low-wage workers across the county who need help paying bills or making rent/mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Worker Assistance Initiative is part of the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, launched to provide funding for basic needs of low- wage workers in San Diego County.

Qualified individuals who have experienced job loss or wage reductions due to COVID-19 can apply at uwsd.org/covid19/.

“The United Way is ready to receive applications from San Diegans affected by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said. “They are a great partner, a dynamic community resource and through their programming are on the frontlines to help people who struggle with food security, rental and utility assistance and income replacement or gap funding.”

United Way says the fund is supported by $1 million from San Diego Gas & Electric to help pay energy bills, as well as $250,000 from SDG&E and the San Diego Foundation to help pay rent/mortgage and utility bills, with plans to raise at least an additional $750,000.

Funds will be provided through checks sent directly to the qualified applicants’ landlords/mortgage companies, SDG&E or other utility companies.

“Many people are already hurting out there, facing job loss, food insecurity, evictions and other hardships through no fault of their own,” said SDG&E chief operating officer Caroline Winn. “Coming together is imperative during this time, and we will help as many of San Diego’s most vulnerable community members as we can through the challenging months to come.”

United Way CEO Nancy Sasaki said, “In response to COVID-19, our organization has quickly organized and stands ready to assist our most vulnerable working individuals and families living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. It is imperative we act now to provide immediate aid to our neighbors during this trying time and call upon our community to unite and support San Diegans being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

–City News Service