Nonprofits step up as inflation creates dire need - The Long Island Community Foundation
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February 21, 2024   |   By the Long Island Community Foundation
Nonprofits step up as inflation creates dire need

Services for the Underserved connects Long Islanders with long-term housing solutions. Photo courtesy of Services for the Underserved

Inflation has amplified the economic challenges faced by many Long Islanders.

A recent study commissioned by the Suffolk County Legislature found that roughly 20% of Long Islanders are considered ‘structurally poor’—with 19% of Nassau residents and 26% of Suffolk residents unable to keep pace with the rising costs of essentials.

“While these numbers are alarming, they don’t tell the full story of what many residents experience each day,” said Marie Smith, director of donor relations and communications for the Long Island Community Foundation. “People are struggling, so it’s critical that the Foundation support organizations working to address these issues.”

PUTTING FOOD ON THE TABLE

That work starts with addressing widespread food insecurity.

About 230,000 Long Islanders—including an estimated 68,000 children—experienced nutritional insecurity in the past year. In the face of this urgent problem, the Foundation helped nonprofits working to provide residents in need with ready and consistent access to healthy foods.

Some of the funding is aimed at making sure children get the food and nutrition they need. For instance, Community Food Advocates and Heart of the Hamptons received grants to increase access to school meals for children through advocacy and direct services.

Community Action Southold Town will provide case management and wraparound services, including benefit applications and referrals to housing and employment opportunities, for East End residents in need. Meanwhile, Lighthouse Mission Outreach will focus on mobile food distribution by ensuring that those without transportation can access food pantries. The nonprofit also will distribute toiletries and clothing to 120,000 individuals in need across Suffolk County.

LOW INVENTORY, HIGH RENT

The lack of affordable housing is another pressing challenge fueled by inflation. Increased interest rates and persistently low housing inventory has made it difficult for many to purchase a home. Renters also face a shortage of apartment space and rising rents.

In response, the New York Communities Organizing Fund is working to increase housing stability for renters in Hempstead. A Trust grant will expand the group’s reach by hiring a Spanish-speaking organizer to grow membership among Latinx tenants, work with tenant associations, and empower tenants to advocate for state policies that protect low-income renters from unjust
evictions.

Services for the Underserved is helping chronically homeless families find and maintain stable housing after the expiration of pandemic housing benefits. It is connecting at least 80% of Long Island families enrolled in the Rapid Rehousing Program to long-term emergency housing vouchers and helping families leave shelters for permanent housing.

ADDRESSING MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health issues underlie many of these economic challenges. Yet more than 124,000 people in the region lack health insurance and consistent access to treatment.

To fill this gap, the Foundation supports nonprofits that connect people to effective counseling and other mental health treatments.

For instance, funding will help the Family and Children’s Association connect individuals and their families struggling with mental health issues to appropriate treatment and support, while Northwell Health will coordinate mental health assessments and services through schools.

Media Contact Information

Need help or advice?

Marie C. Smith
Director of Donor Relations and Communications
(631) 991-8800, ext. 223
msmith@licf.org

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Media Contact Information

Need help or advice?

Marie C. Smith
Director of Donor Relations and Communications
(631) 991-8800, ext. 223
msmith@licf.org

Get our media kit

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