Bank of America Charitable Foundation has awarded $75,000 to United Way of the Midlands to support programs and services to help break common barriers to long-term employment and stable housing.

“We are grateful for Bank of America’s consistent investments into our local community. Their investments allow us to support vital programs and services aimed to ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential,” said United Way of the Midlands President and CEO Sara Fawcett. “These funds will allow us to work with our community partners to expand programs that focus on those struggling to improve their current living conditions due to barriers like homelessness and mental illness.”

United Way will work with its community partners MIRCI (Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc.) and Richland Library to implement programs that help adults with persistent mental illnesses, have formerly experienced homelessness or are currently experiencing homelessness.

“Bank of America has a long history of supporting the United Way of the Midlands and early in my career, I was honored to serve as a loaned executive for six weeks to help support the United Way giving campaign,” said Kim Wilkerson, South Carolina market president, Bank of America. “We understand that individual paths toward economic mobility differ, but job skills, training and housing are a fundamental building block and first step in achieving long-term success. We’re proud to help elevate this community by giving our neighbors the power to achieve long-term financial sustainability.”

“Richland Library is extremely proud of the work surrounding its New Hope Project. The initiative allows our staff to invest in the lives of local residents,” said Melanie Huggins, Richland Library Executive Director. “We’re giving them a second chance to thrive in our community by offering encouragement and connecting those who are experiencing homelessness with both social services and career assistance.”

The New Hope Project will provide resources and services to include in-depth case management, assessment of employment barriers, assistance with job placement and a Certified Career Coach for at least 50 adults currently experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the funds will help provide these adults with needed supplies like work boots, appropriate clothing and bus vouchers for interviews.

MIRCI will use the investment to support 450 formerly homeless adults living with serious and persistent mental illness and substance use disorders through homeless outreach, behavioral healthcare and assistance in obtaining benefits. The emphasis of this program is placed on getting homeless individuals and families engaged in treatment and transitioned into permanent supportive housing.

“Bank of America previously provided support to many youth experiencing homelessness through MIRCI’s Drop-in Center, and we are thrilled to now have the opportunity to partner to provide outreach, behavioral healthcare and supportive housing for adults experiencing mental illness and homelessness in the Midlands,” said Julie Ann Avin, MIRCI’s President and Executive Director. “Without United Way of the Midlands and their partners like Bank of America, MIRCI would not be able to assist hundreds of individuals, families and unaccompanied youth each year.”

Learn more about United Way of the Midlands and its community partners at uway.org.

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