Tag: United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
Business leaders, nonprofit leaders and other community leaders from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are already talking about ways to address transportation, affordable housing and childcare hurdles in the central Shenandoah Valley.
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday approved spending remaining federal CARES Act funds to buy property to help address homelessness in the community — a step some city leaders said they hope will lead to a year-round shelter. And housing insecurity was a theme at Tuesday’s meeting as council members learned more about the increasing numbers of residents teetering on the brink of or already in poverty.
Families who live paycheck to paycheck are having the hardest time making it through the pandemic, according to a recent United Way survey seeking insight into the pandemic’s impact on Shenandoah Valley families.
According to the United Way’s just-released 2020 ALICE Report, 61% of households in Harrisonburg struggle to make ends meet. While that represents a 4% drop from the first ALICE report, published in 2017, it does not factor in the pandemic’s effects. In any case, Harrisonburg still has one of the highest rates of ALICE households in Virginia.
Many Harrisonburg families are trying to figure out where their children will spend their school days now that the district plans to start the fall with online learning for most students. This has set into motion a massive revamping of not only how teachers will deliver lessons but of the entire school-day scheduling process. District leaders, such as the superintendent, have been negotiating with child care providers and non-profit organizations to find places — and funding options — for children of working parents to go and learn during the day while staying safe. Meanwhile, parents and guardians are having to get creative to ensure their children have structure and supervision during the school days.
A flurry of activity started early Wednesday morning around Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. You may have spotted the volunteers in their red shirts, spreading new mulch around playgrounds, brightening up school swing sets and basketball goals with fresh paint and tidying up yards and flowerbeds at many non-profits.