Bank Foundation Grant Expands Reach Of Community Access Unlimited

Sid Blanchard (second from right), CAU executive director, receives a check for $15,000 from the TD Charitable Foundation in support of the agency’s HomeShare Program from TD Bank representatives Rosalinda Perez (left), Mary Jane McDonough and Martin Melilli, all vice presidents at the bank.

ELIZABETH – The TD Charitable Foundation has provided a $15,000 grant to Community Access Unlimited in support of the agency’s HomeShare Program, which matches people who have a home but who are in need of assistance for various reasons with those seeking a home, thereby helping both parties. The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®.

HomeShare, administered by CAU in Union County, helps residents experiencing financial hardship and difficult housing costs stay in their homes by pairing them with people who are currently or soon-to-be homeless. This lessens the financial burden of housing for both – even staying off eviction or foreclosure – while often providing companionship, financial and personal security and mutual support, according to Sid Blanchard, CAU executive director.

CAU identifies potential candidates, performs interviews and background checks and provides follow-up services. The agency averages more than 1,100 calls per year relating to housing needs and expects to assist 40 people through 20 matches in the coming year through HomeShare, many made possible by the TD Charitable Foundation grant, according to Blanchard.

In January 2011 there were 1,471 homeless men, women and children counted in Union County, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, although the number of homeless at any time may be more than 4,000. More than 90 percent of the county’s homeless live in transitional housing, emergency shelters or motels/hotels, according to the Program for Infant/Toddler Care.

Among the leading causes of homelessness in the United States are unemployment (#1/31.3 percent), eviction (#3/23.5 percent) and housing costs (#4/22.3 percent), according to the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

“HomeShare provides a wonderful alternative to homelessness and the indignity it brings to those who are struggling, often for no cause of their own but due to economic constraints beyond their control,” Blanchard said. “The program also provides relief to those who are struggling to hold on to their homes, as well as to those who are lonely.”

“We are proud to award this grant to CAU,” said Mary Jane McDonough, vice president for TD Bank. “The support and services that HomeShare provides to distressed residents of Union County are critical to helping keep them in safe, affordable homes.”

“We would not be able to positively impact so many lives through our many programs without the support we receive from community partners such as the TD Charitable Foundation,” Blanchard added.

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