Arlington Thrive met an unprecedented wave of requests for direct emergency assistance in 2020, as dual pandemic and economic crises threatened both health and home for Arlington County’s most vulnerable residents. The nonprofit organization that has provided direct emergency financial support for more than 45 years answered requests for help with crisis cash that was seven times greater than the amount provided in fiscal 2019.
“The need is greater, but so is our community’s generosity,” said Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of Arlington Thrive. “Even though requests for help have eclipsed anything we’ve seen in the past, we’ve also seen the investment from Arlington County leadership and a spirit of giving rise to meet the unspeakable pain and desperation that too many of our neighbors are experiencing.”
Donations to Arlington Thrive more than tripled to exceed $50,000 on Giving Tuesday alone.
Arlington Thrive’s ability to provide rapid, emergency financial support in a crisis helps neighbors pay back rent, make car repairs, pay for Internet access so children can attend school, or cover a medical visit that protects individuals, families and the community. Since April of this year Thrive has provided more than $5 million is assistance to 1,300 families and individuals, a dramatic increase from the $805,000 Thrive provided to families and individuals during the same period last year. Typical requests to Arlington Thrive used to be for one or two months rent but since the pandemic now extend to six or seven months, with the average amount of a request climbing from $246 last year to $1,029 in the fiscal year that began in July.
“With the eviction moratorium slated to expire at the end of the year, requests for our assistance will grow even more. We are grateful to our supporters and Arlington County leaders who understand how important the crisis cash that Arlington Thrive is as part of the social safety net. But we will need even more support to meet the dire needs of our community to help families and even save a life,” said Scott Friedrich, President of the Arlington Thrive Board of Directors.
Crisis cash is a relatively small investment to keep individuals and families out of the cold and safe from disease, protect children who are already challenged by remote learning, and give people who’ve lost a job through no fault of their own a stable address to find new employment. Without this rapid emergency support, families and individuals often have to turn to predatory lenders who charge exorbitant interest, plunging people into further financial crisis from which it can be almost impossible to recover.