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Agencies Helping the Homeless Get a Hand

United Way, ESL and the Rochester Area Community Foundation teammed up to help four agencies that serve the homeless.

Four agencies that serve the homeless will receive help to bridge a funding crisis.

Redirection of federal and state funding has left the Salvation Army, Spiritus Christi, Volunteers of America (VOA) and the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County struggling to meet demands for emergency housing. The organizations are working on a long-term solution, but they have to meet fill short-term needs.

ESL Federal Credit Union, United Way of Greater Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation announced Jan. 9 that they raised $370,700 to support the shelters over the next nine months.

“We at ESL are inspired by the work being done by the four shelters, United Way, and RACF to rally support for our community’s most vulnerable citizens,” Ajamu Kitwana, vice president and director of community impact at ESL, wrote in a news release. “The collaboration on funding for critical needs and assistance with long-term planning is the type of action our community needs to address our most critical issues. …”

Jaime Saunders, vice president and chief executive officer of United Way, said in the release: “… the work being done by the four shelter providers to address a more sustainable solution for the future speaks to the strength of this network and the drive to overcome challenges in our community.”

The Rochester Area Community Foundation asked for help from donors who previously supported the shelters.

“When there is a crisis in our community, our donors respond quickly and generously – and they did that once again,” Jennifer Leonard, president and chief executive officer of RACF, said in the news release. “We are so fortunate that the needs of those who have little is of great concern to so many,” she wrote.

Individuals struggling with housing challenges and/or homelessness can call 211 for referrals to local shelters and housing resources.