United Way Launches United for U.S. Coalition to Help Those Impacted By Government Shutdown

Poughkeepsie & Newburgh, NY — United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region is pleased to be part of United Way Worldwide’s United for U.S. Coalition, a joint effort by United Way’s corporate partners, organized labor, the United Way network and nonprofits to assist furloughed federal workers and others impacted by the ongoing government shutdown.

“We are committed to providing necessary resources and contacts to Federal employees during the shutdown,” said Jeannie Montano, President and CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, “We and United Ways nationwide have an incredible resource, our 2-1-1 helpline. Anyone can dial 2-1-1 to find the help they need, including food pantries, rent assistance, utility coverage and more. In New York State, the 2-1-1 helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Help is not limited to the shutdown, but is available for federal employees whenever they need it. We have begun to compile a roundup of some of the options that our corporate partners are offering those affected by the shutdown on our website at http://www.uwdor.org/govshutdown.”

United Way and its community partners are preparing for an expected uptick in calls to United Way’s 2-1-1 nationwide network from those seeking assistance with rent and mortgage payments, utility bills and groceries. United for U.S. will address these needs by bringing together United Way’s deep community knowledge with organized labor and our corporate partners who want to help those in need during the extended shutdown.

Some of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region’s corporate partners who are providing assistance for those affected by the government shutdown are utilities and financial institutions. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list, but is inclusive of those organizations that have provided us information to date. A resource page has been set up on our website at www.uwdor.org/govshutdown. New businesses and organizations will be included if they submit their information at: http://www.uwdor.org/govshutdown-entry.

United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region’s corporate partner, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, is providing options for those affected by the shutdown (www.CentralHudson.com/paymentassistance and www.CentralHudson.com/specialassistance).

“Central Hudson recognizes that the partial federal government shutdown has affected many families throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley,” states utility spokesman John Maserjian. “Households facing financial difficulties with their utility bills may be eligible for special assistance and payment programs. Customers are encouraged to call (845) 452-2700 and speak to a Customer Service Representative to learn of their options and program eligibility. Under these circumstances, there may be families that have never faced these financial issues in the past and may not know what services/programs are available; and may be hesitant to ask for help. We encourage families facing difficulties to reach out.”

Examples of help from Central Hudson include: Home Energy Assistance Program grants (which includes bill discounts for qualifying households); Payment extensions; Deferred payment agreements; Budget billing, to spread the annual cost of bills evenly over 12 months to avoid seasonal fluctuations; Good Neighbor Fund grants, available after all other forms of assistance are exhausted; Military Family grants, a special Good Neighbor Fund grant for veteran and military families. In addition, Central Hudson will waive finance charges for federal government households during the shutdown period.

Orange & Rockland Utilities suggests that anyone who is in trouble of paying their bills contact customer service at 1-877-434-4100.

Many financial institutions that are United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region’s corporate partners are providing services to federal workers affected by the shutdown. See below for a list with links to respective websites for detailed information about what services are available:

If you would like to include any special offers your business or organization is providing those affected by the government shutdown in Dutchess & Orange counties, please go to http://www.uwdor.org/govshutdown-entry to enter details.

“No organization is better positioned than United Way to bring critical resources together for those who need help. Our reach into every U.S. community and our deep relationships with all sectors allow us to create the safety net that will assist our neighbors to maintain the fabric of our communities,” said Mary Sellers, U.S. President, United Way Worldwide. “We are thankful for the support of our corporate partners, organized labor and local United Ways, who stand ready to provide vital services to those in need.”

The 2-1-1 non-emergency service will anchor United Way’s community support by providing information about local social services, including the availability of public benefits and corporate assistance programs. The 2-1-1 network, 211.org, connects callers to resources and aid for monthly living expenses.

Nationally, two of United Ways closest corporate partners, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, are part of the United for U.S. coalition and are providing the following assistance:

  • Wells Fargohas pledged $250,000 in grant support to help federal employees meet their most basic needs: food, bill assistance, shelter etc., in addition to waiving fees for customers who have direct deposit from the federal government, and offering short and long-term assistance for those who need extra time to make payments. Customers should call 800-219-9739 for help, or visit any branch.
  • Bank of Americais reaching out to affected clients to let them know of the bank’s Client Assistance Program. Customers can call 844-219-0690, or schedule an appointment at a local branch. Bank of America has also pledged $10,000 to the United Way National Capital Area Emergency Assistance Fund. The funds will be directed to organizations in the Washington, D.C. area that will help affected people with food, rent and utility assistance programs

Additionally, the following companies have joined the national effort:

  • Nationwidewill institute a grace period and delayed payments for standard personal lines; expedite requests for withdrawals and loans to disburse money quickly; waive certain fees; and extend due dates for insurance premium and loan payments. Customers should refer to the contact information on their policy or contact their agent for more information.
  • U.S. Bankis offering a new low-rate quick loan designed to help customers families impacted by the shutdown. Qualified federal government employees can apply for a $100-$6,000 low-rate, quick loan, or find out about mortgage relief options. Customers should call U.S. Bank’s designated federal government shutdown line at 877-760-6046.
  • Lyftis working in the Washington, D.C. area — home to 300,000 federal workers — to provide financial support, including donating food to local food banks.
  • Airbnbwill pay hosts who are furloughed employees for an extra night (up to $110) for every three nights they rent out their house, apartment or room to travelers.
  • Sprintis encouraging customers struggling to pay bills because of the shutdown to call 888-211-4727 or go online at Sprint.com to talk with a customer care representative about short-term payment solutions to keep service uninterrupted.
  • Comcast urges federal workers to call 800-934-6489 to find a payment solution that works for them.

As part of its long-standing association with the labor movement, United Way is working with a number of organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), to distribute information on resources available to assist with needs and living expenses.

We urge those seeking information or assistance to call 2-1-1 (1-800-899-1479) or go to www.hudson211.org.


About United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region

United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community.  In 2017-18, charitable contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations to United Way’s Community Fund supported nonprofit partners in delivering services to 166,433 residents of Dutchess and Orange Counties. For more information, go to www.uwdor.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UWDOR, friends us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/uwdor and #LiveUnited.

 About 2-1-1
2-1-1 is a free, 24-hour, 365 day, confidential service that connects individuals to resources and services in their local communities by phone, text and on the web. Individuals in need or who are looking for information for someone else can call 2-1-1 from a cell phone or landline. United Way supports and provides 2-1-1 services throughout New York State and in most communities across the U.S. For more information about the Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1, visit hudson211.org.

 About United Way Worldwide
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.9 million volunteers, 9 million donors worldwide and $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.