United Way of the Coastal Empire gets more funding for rent and utility assistance

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 10:31 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The United Way is distributing millions of dollars for rent and utility assistance through Chatham County’s CARES Emergency Rental Assistance project.

The United Way says three million dollars was given out just a few months ago to help people at risk of being evicted and to help with bills. Another two million dollars became available just a couple weeks ago.

Savannah resident Dottie Carswell reached out to the United Way after losing her job last year. She was able to get help through their partnership with the City of Savannah. The United Way distributed funds from the CARES Act to help with mortgage assistance, utility and rental assistance.

“It’s just overwhelming thinking about the help they were able to give me at that time,” said Dottie Carswell. “It was really something.”

Dottie has lived in Savannah most of her life. She fell on hard times after she was laid off from a local hospital July 2020. Carswell reached out to the United Way of the Coastal Empire for help.

“They were able to help me with my electric bill and later on, they are able to help me with my mortgage,” said Carswell. “I didn’t go back from work until December so during that time, the help that I received from them helped me to stay afloat during those months.”

With the help of the United Way more than 2,200 people were able to stay in their homes with the first round of funding from the CARES ERA project just a few months ago when it launched in August.

“Those payments were going directly to landlords, property owners, utility companies so it was a duel effect,” said United Way of the Coastal Empire President and CEO Brynn Grant. “Both sides of that coin were benefiting. It was deploying dollars into this economy to keep people safe and to help keep those utility companies and those property owners stable as well.”

Dottie says the United Way was able to lend her a helping hand when she needed it the most. Now with a new round of funding is available, she hopes anyone needing help won’t be afraid to ask for it.

“It was such a breath of fresh air, I would say to know I was able to get help because I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do at that time,” said Carswell.

“The compassion and the care that they showed during my time of need was just outstanding.”

The United Way is taking 25 applicants a day for the CARES ERA project.

To apply, you’ll need your ID, proof of employment, eviction or dispossessory warrant, and a utility statement.

You can call the United Way at 2-1-1 for help.

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