Department of Human Services receives grant from United Way

Terry Giegengack, Director of Human Services, announced today that the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has awarded a grant of $5,000 that will allow some financial support to local families and children in need. The ultimate goal is to help the children be more successful in school due to financial stability at home.

When United Way released the ALICE report (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) last year it highlighted that 1 in 3 households in Connecticut are struggling to afford basic household expenses. “These families live in every town across Connecticut and can find that the holidays are more stressful than joyful,” said Cathy DeCesare, chief strategic officer, Community Impact Lead. We are glad to see our Neighbors Helping Neighbors funds being used for workshops like this that help ALICE families manage their financial resources especially during the holiday season.”

Giegengack said, “This money will provide partial housing assistance to help prevent homelessness and strengthen family resiliency. As part of the grant, the department began its first pilot program called Jumpstart, to discuss ways to think about money, ways to spend less and stretch resources, and create new saving and spending habits.”

James Dressel, a real estate broker (Realtor) and financial advisor with specialized training in transition planning and management (and a Westport-Fairfield parent) was the keynote speaker at a recent Jumpstart workshop held at the Bigelow Center, where he spoke with 15 financially struggling Fairfield families. Dressel elicited questions and issues from the audience and responded to each one, in hopes of providing some new tools and concepts to assist in gaining greater control over their financial futures.

The Fairfield Social Services Department will be following up with these families and continue to offer guidance and future educational programs.

Jumpstart Program Presenters, left to right: Eileen Gombos, James Dressel, Allison Barker-Ford.

Jumpstart Program Presenters, left to right: Eileen Gombos, James Dressel, Allison Barker-Ford.

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