Urban Edge is announcing today that it has launched a neighborhood emergency response fund, called the Urban Edge Resiliency Fund, to directly assist families and individuals living in Urban Edge’s housing, as well as low- to moderate-income families in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $500,000 fund is made possible with the generous assistance of Urban Edge, TD Charitable Foundation, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, NeighborWorks America, WinnCompanies, Wells Fargo Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Cambridge Savings, Cambridge Trust, anonymous donors, and other community leaders.
“COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color in Boston and throughout the country,” said Emilio Dorcely, Urban Edge’s Chief Executive Officer. “A majority of the cases in the City of Boston are among black and brown residents. That means that neighborhoods like Roxbury and Jamaica Plain are particularly vulnerable. This fund is designed to help our residents meet their needs.”
The initial phase of the fund is offering $150 Visa gift cards to residents in Urban Edge housing, as well as low- to moderate-income families living in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, to help them meet their immediate needs. In May, the community-based non-profit conducted a survey of residents to understand their financial situation and gauge their needs, and found that 50 percent reported a job loss or reduction in work hours, 24 percent were having difficulties with food access, and 12 percent mentioned additional hardships due to COVID-19. The gift cards will help residents address some of their immediate needs.
“Our residents are facing financial hardship and we believe that these gift cards will help them with their basic needs. We also believe these dollars will be spent in local businesses in these neighborhoods, which benefits all of us. We’re grateful to our partners at TD Bank and the United Way for recognizing how important it is for them to invest in our community,” said Dorcely.
Urban Edge is providing $250,000 in resources to the fund, with an additional $225,000 coming from TD Charitable Foundation, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, NeighborWorks America, and other donors. The organization will work with the community to use these dollars to help raise the final $25,000 through a crowdfunding campaign. Those interested in supporting the effort can do so at www.urbanedge.org.
“COVID-19 has impacted all of us and had tested our collective strength,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “But it has not tested all of us equally and communities of color are seeing disproportionate numbers of infection rates and income or job loss. It is our obligation to make sure that our most vulnerable neighbors do not also suffer a disproportionate economic impact from this virus, which is already ravaging too many families and neighborhoods. United Way is proud to stand with Urban Edge, TD Charitable Foundation, and other business and community leaders to help affected families meet their basic needs.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on local communities of color who need our support more than ever,” said Steve Webb, Regional President for Southern New England of TD Bank. “TD is pleased to aid in these efforts by working with Urban Edge to help achieve equitable health outcomes and assist in long-term economic recovery.”
About Urban Edge
For 45 years, Urban Edge has offered a range of innovative programs that help low and moderate income families in and around Boston become economically resilient, establish homeownership, and access needed community resources. Throughout its history, the organization has developed nearly 1,500 units of affordable housing, making it one of Boston’s largest nonprofit developers of affordable housing. Most recently, the agency has been a prime mover in the redevelopment of the Jackson Square neighborhood, creating new affordable housing and commercial space along eight acres of land that border Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. For more information on Urban Edge, visit http://www.urbanedge.org.