Lake Area United Way Grants $500,000 in Basic Needs Services for Struggling Families

Workers Affected by COVID-19 Layoffs Can Seek Help at Local Nonprofits

(Griffith, Indiana)—This week Lake Area United Way funded $500,000 to service providers that support working families who cannot make ends meet. In this gig economy, many workers, particularly hourly workers in service industries like restaurants, retail stores, and hotels are vulnerable to the effects of work closures due to COVID-19 precautions.

These workers can be described by the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) demographic. There are more than 40,000 ALICE households in Lake County, representing 22% of the population. People in this population earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford a bare bones budget. Any financial shock (e.g., loss of job, medical bill, car repair) could send these families into poverty.

Lake Area United Way grants to nonprofits serving Lake County residents provide resources to meet basic needs of ALICE households as well as those in families in poverty.  These grants support food/nutrition, rent/mortgage/utility assistance, prescription assistance, transportation costs, domestic violence shelter, legal services, financial education and savings incentives, and information and referral services.

Resources for Struggling, Working Families

Basic Needs

  • Connect: Struggling, working families in Lake County can access United Way funded services by contacting the grant recipient organizations for eligibility information. [See attached list]
  • Search online: People looking for help can also search Lake Area United Way’s online service directory: The mobile-friendly, online directory provides contact information, hours of service, eligibility guidelines, and requirements for services in more than 70 assistance categories. Users can search for help with child care, emergency shelter, food, metal health, and much more. The website is free to use and free for service providers.
  • Call: Community members can call Resource Connections Information and Assistance phone line operated by Northwest Indiana Community Action (800-826-7871) or dial 2-1-1 to talk with a specialist who can connect them to local resources.

Child Care/Back up Care Options

  • Call: Parents and grandparents can call Early Learning Connections (219) 685-1500 for child care and back up care options due to COVID-19/Coronavirus School Closings. Follow @earlylearningconnections on Facebook for additional resources.

Tax Preparation Assistance

  • File online: Through United Way’s partnership with H&R Block, every household with a simple return can file their federal and state taxes for free at

Coronavirus Information and Local Nonprofit Public Statements

Lake Area United Way mobilizes the caring power of the community to help struggling, working families) attain financial stability by (1) helping people access livable wage jobs, (2) supporting quality, affordable child care strategies that support working parents, and (3) funding providers who offer basic needs support for vulnerable, working families.