We help working families get back on their feet during times of crisis.
We do it so that they don't have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table.
Financial Stability is just one part of what we do.
Check out our work in the areas of Education, Health, and Transportation.
Together, we can transform our community so that all families have the opportunity to thrive.
UCAN (United Community Assistance Network) is a Community Collaborative focused on providing residents of Greater Lorain County with year-round access to emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, or other emergency basic needs at a single site geographically located in their neighborhood of residence.
Every zip code in Greater Lorain County is covered through this collaboration. The client-driven approach includes case management, benefits screening, and access to additional emergency resources.
UCAN's partners utilize a common intake system, so when an individual fills out a form at one agency, they're automatically in the system at the others in case a future need arises. UCAN also allows for shared resources so that there can be a central pool of emergency assistance funds available to all partners. If an individual or family in crisis stops into one of the partners and needs more assistance than that agency can provide with their own resources, the case manager can access the shared resources to get the client the additional assistance that is needed. This new system makes it possible for everyone who needs help to receive the appropriate assistance at the point of contact, and the presence of a case manager helps return the individual or family to financial stability.
Partners: Catholic Charities | Community Resource Services | Neighborhood Alliance | North Ridgeville Community Care | Oberlin Community Services | Salvation Army (Elyria, Lorain) | United Way of Greater Lorain County
2-1-1 First Call for Help is a community information and referral hotline powered by United Way of Greater Lorain County.
Financial Stability Resources
Access is available to hundreds of services relating to financial stability, including:
- Utilities Assistance
- Low Cost Housing
- Jobs & Public Benefits
- Food Programs
- ID/Legal Documents
Many other services are also accessible through 2-1-1.
To access services, you can dial: 2-1-1 or toll free: (800) 275-6106 or visit 211lorain.org.
*Spanish speaking information & referral specialists available.
The Free Tax Prep Coalition is made up of numerous organizations across Lorain County that collaborate to help working families save money by providing free income tax preparation and filing. The coalition is led by United Way of Greater Lorain County.
The coalition strives to offer a quality tax return prepared and filed for free for those that need the service. This gives these individuals and families an alternative option to paid preparers, saving them their hard-earned money while introducing them to tax credits that they may not know about.
Trained, IRS-certified volunteers prepare income taxes at no charge to families and individuals throughout Greater Lorain County with professionalism and confidentiality. Individuals, families and the elderly save valuable money in tax preparation fees by having volunteers file their taxes for them. In general, individuals and families with a household income of about $60,000 or less are eligible. Some coalition partners can accommodate other situations at times. For more information or to make an appointment, visit loraincountyfreetaxprep.org or call 2-1-1 (or 800-275-6106).
*We are always looking for volunteers to assist with this program. If you are interested in volunteering, call our office at 440-277-6530.
- United Way of Greater Lorain County
- Internal Revenue Service
- City of Lorain
- Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
- AARP Tax-Aide
- PNC Bank
- Chemical Bank
- OhioMeansJobs Lorain County
- Lorain Public Library
- Elyria Public Library
Through a parternship with the Lorain Public Library, we will soon be launching an opportunity for community members to access gently used work clothes for free.
This is a part of a our Collect - Sort - Deliver Impact Initiative through which we distribute books, school supplies, and menstrual products to families in need.
If you are interested in donating gently used work clothes or becoming a distribution partner, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (440) 277-6530.
Theresa shared her experience with the UCAN Community Collaborative at our 2019 Celebration of Community Impact. She was joined onstage by UCAN Case Manager Rebecca Haywood. Thank you for sharing your story, Theresa!
Theresa faced many obstacles that led her to turn to the UCAN Community Collaborative for help.
Theresa suffered through years of emotional and mental domestic abuse at the hands of her children’s father. Theresa decided that she wanted better for herself and her two children, so she left the relationship.
Although Theresa had usually worked two jobs, and at some points three, she was currently paying her way through school and was just a few credits shy of completing the Paramedic program at LCCC. With the time commitment of school, she hadn’t been able to work as many hours so she was left to work part time delivering pizzas. And now she was down to one income in the household while raising two young boys and the family's three rescue children with four paws.
This caused Theresa to fall behind on her bills. And she fell behind, additional expenses for utility shutoffs and evictions were being added on to her debt. Theresa felt like she was all alone and that she was drowning and would have to give up.
Theresa was scared and she wasn’t used to asking others for help. When Theresa finally reached her end, she made a desperate call for help and was immediately connected to Rebecca at the Salvation Army as part of United Way’s UCAN collaborative.
Through Rebecca’s honesty and composure, she was able to help Theresa with her pain, and the two often shed tears together. This helped reassure Theresa that she was not alone.
Theresa’s children, who are 8 and 4, are her everything. In addition to the abuse, Theresa was exhausted from always worrying about if the boys would be okay.
Through UCAN, Theresa received assistance for rent and with food, and she was invited back to take part in the Christmas program to ensure that her children had the holiday that they deserved for being such good boys.
And because of this help, Theresa’s brightest days are ahead. She got the boost she needed to get back on her feet. She graduated from the program and is working fulltime as an EMT and is now pursuing an additional degree to become a flight medic.
The children are doing great as well and are thriving in school. In fact, Theresa had the best time school shopping this year because she was able to get the boys everything they needed. And yes, the dogs are good, too.