Founded in 1964, UMOM is a local Phoenix nonprofit working as a provider of shelter, housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. Every night UMOM provides safe shelter and supportive services for over 170 homeless families. They also offer nearly 300 units of affordable housing across the Valley, each with special Program Centers for residents.
“This is such a critical time for the homeless and here at UMOM our theme is to keep everyone safe, healthy and off the streets. It’s the generous community and The United Way that has given us the support that allows us to keep our residents and staff safe.”- Darlene Newsom, UMOM CEO
The ongoing pandemic has caused organizations like UMOM to reevaluate how to keep their workers and community safe while still providing essential services. Through the help of the United for the Valley COVID 19 fund, UMOM received additional funding to support their efforts during this critical time and PPE equipment to protect their front line workers serving the community.
UMOM has been able to increase their shelter capacity by 25 units due to the increase of families on their waiting list and although some services had to be suspended because of these unpresented times, they were able to restructure some of their services to continue helping families in a safe and productive way. One of the services that has been altered to keep everyone safe is packaging meals for families and individuals for takeout instead of having congregate dinners.
“We lost everything. It was more than losing a paycheck; we lost our home, our food, our clothing, Solé lost her toys… everything went downhill from there.”
Mercedees and Greg and their daughter Solé lost everything during the pandemic in March. After living in their car for a month, experiencing homelessness left their family vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Thankfully in April they we able to find refuge, as a room become available at UMOM. After moving in, they felt such a sense of comfort knowing they weren’t the only ones suffering during that time.
Now, Mercedees and her family have three hot meals every day and a safe place to sleep every night. Everyone has their own face mask to keep them healthy, safe, and protected. They have the necessary means to practice safe social distancing and exercise precautionary measures to keep themselves healthy.
Now more than ever is the time to UNITE for the community and continue working towards a better and brighter future and through supporting the efforts of organizations like UMOM, we will come out stronger than before.
For more information on grants distributed in the community as of 06/12/20, please visit www.vsuw.org/covid19grants. To learn about our organization’s first seven weeks of local response (March 20-May 8, 2020) read our ‘Response Report’ available at www.vsuw.org/covidreport.