As A Housing Crisis in the DMV Looms, Project Community Connect Rises

Oct 14, 2020

by United Way NCA

The extended period of economic shutdown, massive job loss and the cut off of federally expanded unemployment insurance has left many across D.C, Maryland and Virginia vulnerable to losing their housing. While the current moratorium on evictions extends to the end of 2020, late fees, penalties and due payments continue to stack up. It’s estimated that as many as 1.64 million people across the country are at risk of becoming unhoused if more isn’t done to address renter’s and homeowner’s wracking debt. 

The economic pangs of the coronavirus come on top of a trend spanning more than a decade that’s made housing less affordable for millions of Americans. According to a report produced by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, as many as 20.8 million people spend roughly 30% of their income on rent. Stagnant low wage work in an economy that prioritizes “pass thru” jobs has left many unable to keep up with rising cost of living, let alone save enough to weather a yearlong pandemic. For many individuals at risk of losing their homes, the way forward post pandemic is a long and confusing one. However, interventions provided by United Way of the National Capital Area can support people facing housing instability access benefits, resources and aid to lift them up. 

For years United Way NCA has sought to work with individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness. However, in the wake of the pandemic, United Way NCA is expanding its flagship Project Homeless Connect to support those who are unhoused as well as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families struggling to meet the cost of living through its new Project Community Connect. The weeklong event hosted virtually with select services in person is helping vulnerable communities reach resources that can pick them back up. In addition to health, education and economic opportunity virtual workshops, United Way NCA will also aid in distributing healthy food, hygiene and winter clothing kits at select locations. 

  • “We know that the issues of inequity in our systems,” shares President and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area Rosie Allen-Herring, “for employment, education, health and food access, financial stability and opportunities for all to grow to the best of their abilities are not going to change unless we do the work.”

This year’s Project Community Connect comes at a critical time in mitigating the number of individuals affected by the long-term economic shut down. The event will span the week between October 19th and the 23rd with services like rental assistance, workforce development and financial coaching offered virtually. United Way NCA will also distribute care packages and resources in person to communities through partner nonprofits for the duration of the week. 

To learn more about Project Community Connect for you or a family member visit unitedwaynca.org/pcc

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