“My New Red Shoes is proud to be piloting direct-cash grants to families in Silicon Valley, ensuring payments reach those who need them most. We are excited to be on the cutting edge of a dual service direct grant program that will help improve delivery to move money as quickly as possible.” - Minh Ngo, MNRS Executive Director.
Workers across the country have lost jobs and income at historic rates over the last 10 weeks. The social and economic circumstances of family and community, and the availability of local resources influence how children cope in the wake of this unpredictable time. In response, the philanthropic community has raised funds to provide direct-cash grants to individuals through trusted networks of human service agency partners who know the needs of their unique neighborhood communities.
Nonprofits are Part of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Safety Net and Service Delivery Chain
For fourteen years, My New Red Shoes has tended to a growing demand for basic needs such as shoes and clothing. In the face of the COVID crisis, MNRS recognizes that the organization must cast a wider net and explore ways to help families with the mounting expenses that create prolonged distress and take a toll on the health and well-being of children. The CARES Act was designed to help families get their heads above water as they weather job losses and initial disruptions, but those in the human services sector know that a one-time payment is not nearly enough to sustain household budgets pushed to the brink.
Bay Area communities will continue to turn to local nonprofits for help and services, driving demand for services up while government support goes down.
Solutions that focus only on delivery of goods and services, or employers and wage replacement inevitably leave too many families out. There is a growing chorus of interest from the philanthropic community in introducing cash payments to help Americans get back on their feet, and steady the economy to curb the likelihood of falling further into economic distress.
We are living through a health and economic crisis. The nine counties of the Bay Area represent some of the highest cost of living areas in the country. To adequately address this shortfall, people need realistic financial support at regular intervals, lasting until the economy recovers. Even as Americans patch together unemployment insurance and other benefits, they risk the inability to meet their basic needs. A healthy and thriving community is dependent upon the well-being of all people. Families were struggling to pay rent or their mortgages, plus other bills, on their paychecks before the pandemic. Now, millions of families across the country are facing mounting bills and unprecedented job losses.
Nonprofits Fill Gaps in Public Safety Nets
The CARES Act assistance of $1200 in direct payments for adults and $500 per child was a good start, but is simply not enough to bridge the gap for Bay Area households. California faces huge budget deficits. California Governor’s proposed budget cuts would impact K-12 school funding, Local Control Funding Formulas, and community nonprofits dependent on government funding. In response to the health crisis, and shelter-in-place order, MNRS has launched a number of strategic initiatives to address community needs from shoes and clothing to personal protective equipment to medical centers.
We Know Cash Works
Financially stable families who can cover their expenses for housing, quality childcare, transportation, health care, and other basic needs are shown to have children who do better in school. Children cope in response to their environment and what they see from the adults around them. Financial stability can help parents experience more balanced wellbeing, curbing depression, stress and allowing time to focus on their children. Strong families lead to better outcomes for the entire community.
“As families face the persistent hardship over the coming months, we need to explore ways to put money into household budgets as quickly as possible, and for as long as the crisis lasts, until people get back on their feet, and can boost the economy again.” - Joanne Gouaux, Board Chair.