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Assistance available to Mid-Ohio Valley residents impacted by pandemic

PARKERSBURG — Several local agencies have joined to help individuals facing financial hardships due to the impact of the pandemic.

Financial Hardship Assistance Program will help impacted individuals pay one month’s rent or mortgage costs and in special circumstances, for utility costs. Individuals seeking support should call 211 to begin the intake and application process.

Initial funding is being provided by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation through its Safety Net Fund and the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley through its COVID-19 Response Fund. Additional funding is expected in the coming weeks from other area funding sources.

“Our United Way is thrilled to be able to work together with such strong community partners to address these critical needs in the community,” said Executive Director Stacy DeCicco. “We are proud of the collaboration that has been formed and we recognize the impact that it will certainly make for those who are facing hardship and challenge in our community as a result of COVID-19.”

The program is a “unique partnership between local funding agencies and local service providers,” said Marian Clowes, PACF Associate Director for Community Leadership, said.

“By joining together, we are able to do so much more than we could on our own. Together, we will deliver needed support to individuals facing hardship at this critical time,” she said.

The program will be administered through a partnership with Community Resources and Consumer Credit Counseling Services. Future collaboration also is planned with the city of Parkersburg’s Family Relief Program.

“Community Resources Inc. is proud to be a part of this community collaboration and administer the Financial Hardship Assistance Program, which will provide critical support to ensure residents in our communities can stay housed,” said Michelle Barber, executive director and CEO of Community Resources.

By combining the expertise of Community Resources and Consumer Credit Counseling Services, individuals in need can benefit not only from financial assistance but also from counseling.

“Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Mid-Ohio Valley is pleased to partner with these sincerely dedicated community partners to assist those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shelene Shrewsbury, executive director. “Our certified and experienced financial counselors will assist those who have been affected by helping them create a workable spending plan so that their budget is kept intact. We are fortunate to be a part of this collaborative endeavor while we continue our mission of encouraging financial freedom.”

To be eligible for assistance, individuals must demonstrate that their need is related to:

* Job loss (or reduction in employment hours) due to closure of their job site or being unable to continue working in an industry that was directly affected by COVID-19;

* Job loss due to being required to stay home and care for young children who are not in school and due to a lack of child care options;

* Illness or symptoms related to COVID-19 affecting ability to work;

* Forced self-quarantine and inability to work due to possible exposure to COVID-19;

* Caring for an individual who is sick and/or experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, impacting ability to work;

* Significantly increased expenses related to COVID-19 impact.

The program is open to individuals whose income is at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines and who reside in Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Pleasants, Roane, Ritchie, Tyler, Wirt, Wood and Washington counties.

For residents of Washington County, support is limited to individuals in the food service or hair dresser/spa/salon industries. For all other counties, individuals from any profession facing COVID 19 impact may be supported.

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