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ERI Addresses Community Needs through Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Funding

In Benefits Articles, COVID-19, Employment Articles, News by eri

Thanks to the generosity of more than 1,000 donors, the United Way of Dane County  announced that 36 applications representing more than 90 organizations will receive approximately $1.5 million in grant funding through the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund.   Employment Resources, Inc. (ERI) is pleased to announce we have received $25,000 from this fund to provide assistance with communication, transportation, and other needed supports for vulnerable adults during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Challenges Faced by Many in Dane County

Many of the people served by ERI do not have meaningful access to cell phones, computers, or internet access. Further, COVID-19 restrictions have limited their access to locations that previously provided such services. For example, libraries are closed and many organizations where people were able to access bus passes and U.S. Postal mail are closed. Friends or families who may have assisted with these needs are sheltering in place such that these resources are also closed off.

Addressing Community Needs During COVID-19

ERI will use the funding to provide emergency communication assistance and support for vulnerable adults during the COVID-19 health emergency, including:

  • Equipping people with cellphones with unlimited talk and data. This supports them to:
    • Access services and make phone calls to address their health care, benefit, and employment needs.
    • Complete job applications and interviews remotely and at low cost.
    • Access telehealth services.
    • Receive correspondence.
  • Guiding people as they navigate issues such as internet installation and phone service set-up.
  • Coaching adults on completing online applications and accessing resources.
  • Offering monthly bus passes for Madison Metro to people who have no other means of transportation.
  • Providing taxi vouchers for people in need of transportation to locations that are not on a bus route.
  • Responding to benefits questions around unemployment applications, Medicaid and Food Share applications, and other COVID-19-specific resources and services.

Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund

The Fund was launched March 13th, 2020 in collaboration with Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and Selfless Ambition, and it ultimately raised $2 million. $425,000 was granted to local organizations in the first phase of the granting process. You can read more about those investments. Additional dollars were designated by donors to local organizations and other United Ways.

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