Shortly after the events of 12/14, The Rotary Club of Newtown, United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) and the Office of Victim Services (OVS) worked together to develop the Immediate Needs Fund.
The purpose of the fund was two-fold. First, it helped to meet the short-term (3-6 months) financial needs of Sandy Hook families, teachers and first responders experiencing temporary loss of income due to the tragedy by helping cover basic household expenses. Second, it helped cover the cost of seeking counseling and mental health services by those impacted by the tragedy.
Since then, UWWC and Newtown Rotary have spent more than $540,000 to help cover everything from heating oil, electricity, mortgages and car payments to counseling bills for over 130 households.
Through this partnership individuals have been able to call Office of Victim Services for support and fill out one application. This not only streamlines the process, but also provides OVS the opportunity to assess if there are other services needed by the applicant.
“Having a nonprofit, a civic group, and state government work together has proven to be a very successful partnership over the last 6 months, allowing for greater efficiency for all of us and ultimately an easier process for those who have needed the help,” states Kim Morgan, CEO of UWWC.
Announced September 30, The Newtown Memorial Fund, Inc. now joins this effort as a new partner. The process remains the same for individuals seeking assistance, but now increases the dollars available to the community to ensure support will last longer.
“The Newtown Memorial Fund is committed to assist those who are still coping with the December 14th tragedy,” said Brian Mauriello, founder of the Newtown Memorial Fund. “The cost of mental health care is substantial. If we can help alleviate some of that burden from those affected then we are serving our organization’s mission, and helping to support our community.”
“Newtown Rotary is very pleased with our partnership with UWWCT and OVS, which has helped to streamline the process for getting help to those in need in a quick and confidential manner,” said Dan Rosenthal, a board member of Newtown Rotary. “We are excited to be working with Newtown Memorial Fund in continuing support for those seeking reimbursement for mental health assistance.”
As of September 30, the fund will begin a new phase of assistance to the community. The Fund will cease providing household assistance for bills due on or after October 1, 2013.
The Fund will focus remaining resources on supporting mental health efforts. Sandy Hook elementary school personnel, first responders, Sandy Hook Elementary School students and their families and others affected by the tragedy will continue to be eligible. As has been the case, the support is available regardless of income or job status. Payments will continue to be made to the provider, and are intended to cover those amounts not paid through insurance.
For more information, families can contact OVS at 860-990-1984.