Established in 1990, UPLIFT is a jewel of the Society because it’s a program that considers the underlying root causes of poverty and works one on one with families to elevate them into self-sufficient living. UPLIFT began as a response to the growing need for shelter assistance on Long Island, especially high costs of rent and mortgages. As a creative alternative to temporary assistance, UPLIFT empowers people to help themselves by giving them some long-term support they need to be independent.
How it Works
Unlike our short-term family assistance program, that provides a one-time payment for past due bills, UPLIFT helps people over an extended period of time to stay afloat financially while achieving larger goals. Not every family qualifies for UPLIFT. The descriptive phrase we use is “A Light at the End of the Tunnel,” which is a guideline indicating that eligible families are those most likely to achieve their goals toward financial independence within a specified time period. It is an internal program that our Vincentian volunteers apply for once they have completed a home visit and determined the neighbor’s eligibility. If the Conference feels that the neighbor’s life story is appropriate, they will refer the case to the District Council Committee for consideration. Once accepted into the program, the family enters into an informal contract with their mentoring conference. This contract consists of goals the family will pursue while receiving the financial aid and the conference’s pledge to stand by the family throughout the contract period.
UPLIFT assists with monthly payments to a vendor for one household expense based on a cap set by the District Council Committee for up to six months. Most often this additional income allows a family to return to financial independence.
Sample UPLIFT Cases (Real Cases)
- The head of household, father, mother, or both, are working toward their first college degree and the UPLIFT covers childcare and rent assistance until they finish.
- A mother quits her job due to her son’s illness. After he becomes well, the family needs support to get back on their feet until she finds employment.
- An elderly woman undergoes major surgery that requires more leave from work than she has available. Consequently, she falls behind. UPLIFT helps cover her arrears and continues to provide aid until she returns to work.
Whatever the circumstance and subsequent UPLIFT agreement, the goal is for families to be self-supporting post UPLIFT assistance. If you have a person that you feel may benefit from UPLIFT, you can encourage them to seek the help of one of our local parish Conferences first. Here is a link to the communities we are in:Communities We Are In Contact Us for Information About Our Uplift Program