Help when no one else can
We are doing extraordinary things for people in their darkest hour by providing help that is direct, concrete, vital and timely – and we do so with compassion, respect, and the highest regard for dignity.
Through the Compassion Fund, our response is immediate and personalized to the unique circumstances of the situation. We work one-on-one to turn things around - whether the struggle is personal, or the result of a community-wide crisis.
We established the Compassion Fund is a resource of last resort and we have developed a very careful and effective process of working closely with our service partners to insure that no other program or service is available to help our clients, before we step in.
Already this year, we have helped 993 of our neighbors. We have resolved their urgent financial needs - everything from utility bills when they faced shut-off, medication and healthcare costs for those without insurance, and mortgage and rent payments to prevent eviction or foreclosure. Then once we’ve stabilized the crisis, we connect people via the 2-1-1 network of community resources to help them rebuild.
In every case we have kept families in their homes, averting homelessness – a growing consequence of the continued high rates of unemployment or underemployment in our region.
Our ability to help has earned BCUW the confidence of our community, validated by a poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind. Read the Executive Summary.
In a recent survey by FDU’s Public Mind™ evaluating the impact of the Compassion Fund: 99% of our clients surveyed reported that they were treated with caring and respect; 92% said Compassion funds were “very beneficial” in helping to solve their families’ acute problems and emergency needs; and 89% attributed the help they received to getting back on track.
Right now our community faces a significant challenge. Thanks to you and the generosity of so many, following Hurricane Sandy, Bergen County’s United Way has been on the ground and out in the community providing direct financial help to meet the most basic needs of our neighbors as they rebuild.
We have focused our efforts on helping the 400 hundred families displaced in Little Ferry and Moonachie where damage from a tidal surge caused by the storm was extensive. In the middle of the night many were evacuated by boat and taken to an emergency shelter. We were there the next day to distribute gift cards so families could replace their most basic essentials.
Unfortunately, residents returned to flooded homes and no electricity or heat – everything they owned destroyed. For these families, already very vulnerable economically, the losses were devastating.
To date, we have helped 155 families and are working with many more - replacing furnaces, water heaters, washers and dryers, and mattresses. We have covered the cost of mold remediation and home repairs including a complete “gut rehab” of a first floor apartment in Little Ferry to return a disabled woman to independence after destruction from the flooding forced her to seek shelter at a nursing home.
For those residents who could not go home, we have paid for security deposits, first months rents and moving costs to help them to relocate. As new challenges present themselves we have helped with down payments to replace damaged cars and vital medical equipment.
There is more work that must be done and BCUW is still at it. Our ability to help is limited only by the gifts we receive. To request Compassion Fund assistance – call 2-1-1 or click nj211.org.