Thursday, February 22, 2024

New Partnership Aims to Sustain Housing on the Peninsula

Provided by United Way of the Virginia Peninsula

YORKTOWN — The United Way of the Virginia Peninsula announced a partnership with the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation that will allow it to expand its list of Certified Partner Agencies in the coming year as well as the hours of operation for its Community Assistance Network.

The $495,000 investment from the foundation will be spread over three years and will support the efforts of United Way of the Virginia Peninsula’s (UWVP) Collective Impact Agenda — Pathways Out of Poverty. The partnership focuses on providing and stabilizing housing for the area’s vulnerable populations and aligns with UWVP’s broader agenda to lift individuals and families out of poverty, according to a joint announcement.

“We believe this partnership is a worthwhile endeavor. We want our nonprofits to become collaborative partners and to be successful in fulfilling their missions,” said Sister David Ann Niski, Executive Director of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation (BFSF).

Funds from BFSF, created in 1997, are granted to diverse nonprofit organizations across the community for programs and core support; to build capacity through professional development and Catchafire — a platform to match skilled volunteers to nonprofit needs; and to increase financial sustainability through the Entrepreneurial Thinking Classes, according to the announcement.

“This investment from BFSF supports the belief that when we work together, we can improve the lives of people who are working, and still living paycheck to paycheck,” said Steve Kast, president and CEO of UWVP. 

In 2018, UWVP said it set a goal to move 10% of households on the Virginia Peninsula out of poverty in five years. In that time, it has seen a 9.7% decrease, it said, thanks to a collaborative approach. However, the effects of increased housing and food costs and other challenges show the need for continued efforts are greater than ever before.

The partnership includes a three-year investment that will allow eight more local nonprofit organizations to become UWVP-Certified Partner Agencies — selected charitable organizations that provide services that address the housing needs of vulnerable populations on the Virginia Peninsula, including low-income, homeless, older adults, victims of human trafficking, formerly incarcerated individuals, and displaced refugees.

It will also support an extension of the hours people can call the Community Assistance Network (CAN) for assistance. CAN is a network of partners working together to keep people housed, healthy, and thriving.

“This is a unique partnership, one that we hope will catalyze collaborative efforts that not only support our nonprofit community but advance collective impact,” says Niski.

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