Warming Hearts and Homes

Turn hardship into hope for your neighbors in need

What would you do if you had to choose between heat or food?

Some of our neighbors have had a rough year. We have all heard stories about those who have fallen on hard times, and some of us know people who are struggling or who have experienced a financial crisis in the past. Those people are not just “people in poverty” – they are our friends, neighbors, and family members, and they deserve a chance to recover from their hardships. They deserve the assistance that SEVCA and others provide to help get them back on their feet. They deserve a chance to change their personal narrative from anxious, depressed, and despairing to resilient, determined, and hopeful. They deserve support from all of us.

Unfortunately, many of the resources that so many depend on for their very survival are threatened by budget cuts at the federal level—health care, food assistance, affordable housing, and more. And the programs that offer a path out of poverty—education, youth development, job training, matched savings programs—are equally endangered. People who rely on these programs know how precarious their situation really is. As Amanda explains:  

As a single mom, I struggle to provide housing, heat, electricity, food, etc. for my family. Even with a college degree, wages aren’t enough to support a family with only one income. It’s an absolutely soul-crushing, heartbreaking feeling not to be able to provide for your family, or to have to choose between rent or heat or food. These programs help ease the desperation of poverty.”

SEVCA offers a lifeline to families like Amanda's, providing housing assistance, emergency fuel assistance, help to access public benefits like food stamps or health insurance, budget counseling, and connection to other community resources. SEVCA also supports children's educational success through Head Start early education, and improves the energy-efficiency of area homes through the Weatherization Program. To help families become more financially-stable, we provide job readiness training and "Financial Fitness" education, and help people with low  incomes build savings and obtain assets. 

Investing in Our Community's Success

Recently, funding for the Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings program was eliminated from the federal budget. This program supports and incentivizes savings for people with low incomes who are working to start or expand a business, purchase a home, or pursue their education. SEVCA is working to keep the program viable here in Vermont because we believe so strongly in its impact. Without it,amazing people like Elizabeth Johnson, who launched her new business as a graphic designer and business consultant through the IDA program, would not have the support they need to change their lives.

Elizabeth, a single mother to two young children, experienced some huge obstacles to fulfilling her dream of starting her own business: a difficult pregnancy, a serious health challenge (which turned out to be Lyme disease), unemployment, and even homelessness. Yet she was determined to succeed. She turned to SEVCA’s IDA and Microbusiness programs to help her develop a business that would use her creativity and organizational skills while accommodating her new physical limitations. Only a few months later, Elizabeth is on the verge of becoming self-sufficient. She reacted with shock when told that federal funding for the program was cut:  “It would be a travesty not to have this program! The IDA is not a band-aid, it’s actually a solution, a platform for economic growth.”

We hope that you will consider SEVCA as part of your annual giving. Your donation will ensure that we will be here to continue to fight for the resources needed to invest in our community’s success--to help people like Amanda and Elizabeth not only to survive but to thrive. It will send a powerful message to all those in need that we’re in this together! Thank you for your continued compassion for and commitment to improving the lives of your neighbors in need. 

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About the Organization

Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)

Since 1965, SEVCA has worked to address the hardships of poverty and create opportunities for sustainable self-sufficiency in WIndham and Windsor Counties. Our comprehensive array of services include crisis fuel assistance, homelessness prevention and rehousing assistance, weatherization, emergency home repair, early childhood education, job readiness training, financial fitness education, matched savings accounts, micro business counseling and support, and free tax assistance.