Strong, stable families are the foundation of vital, healthy communities. Unfortunately, families in poverty or close to the poverty level struggle to meet their basic living needs which often leads to family instability and dysfunction. In Fort Dodge. 17% of households live in poverty; and 43% of families with dependent children in Fort Dodge are headed by a single parent, usually the mother. United Way of Greater Fort Dodge administers programs that are focused on helping families with children become stable and self-sufficient.
1 in 5 children live in families that are at risk of becoming homeless. United Way’s Homeless Prevention Fund helps these families in financial crisis so they can remain in their homes and the children do not become victims of homelessness.
Many children live in homes that are at risk of having no electricity, heat, or running water. Some live in very hazardous or unsafe living environments. This housing instability creates enormous insecurity and stress on families, and in particular children and teens. United Way helps families that are in desperate financial situations and need a helping hand to help keep the heat and electricity on and the water running in their homes.
In Fort Dodge, one out of every six children are food insecure. They are under nourished and coping with hunger on a periodic basis. United Way provides food assistance for families in need and and alsosupports our local food pantries.
We accept donations of household items, beds, and gently used furniture that can make a house a home. These items are distributed to needy families including families coming out of shelters that have almost nothing. These donated items touch the lives of many needy families in meaningful ways.
This program provides free beds to low income families where children lack beds and are sleeping on floors or couches. Getting children off of drafty floors and providing them with a warm bed helps them get a good night’s sleep and be more prepared to learn in school. Getting good, sound sleep is a critical part of healthy child development and can makes all the difference in the word for children in poverty-stricken families.
Not having a car makes the challenge of raising a family extremely difficult. It also makes it very difficult for a parent to get and keep a job if she or he lacks personal transportation. In partnership with Fort Dodge Ford - Toyota, our Wheels for Work program accepts donated vehicles and gives them to qualified families with children that are in desperate need of a car. Having a car gives these families the independence they need to hold a job and build family stability and self-sufficiency.
Women are disproportionately affected by poverty, as they tend to hold jobs in low-paying sectors and bear greater responsibility for caregiving in their family.
The Womnen’s Support Network (WSN) empowers women by providings mentoring support and connecting impoverished women and their families to resources and supports they need to overcome economic and social barriers that create family instability. In Fort Dodge, 43 percent of families with dependent children are led by a single parent; in most cases the mother. WSN serves as a central point of coordination for women in need. This program connects these women to resources and support services and offers them female mentors to provide them with guidance and extra support. United Way is helping these families address their challenges and overcome barriers to stabilize their lives, become more self-sufficient and gain economic security. In partnership with our network of human service agencies, WSN helps women develop the skills necessary so they and their families can become more self-supporting. Services includes financial literacy, life skills education, employment services, job search assistance, and help in meeting basic living needs and overcoming economic barriers that have kept them from attaining higher paying and more stable employment. We know that improving the circumstances and well-being of women and their children will benefit our entire community.