United Way of Chester County hosted its fifth annual financial stability forum, connecting representatives from ten legislative offices alongside twenty-six non-profit and government agencies, at the Chester County Intermediate Unit in Downingtown. The annual forum is an open exchange of available and critical financial stability and workforce services, to benefit Chester County residents who are struggling to make ends meet. Legislators and their staff have the unique opportunity to directly address social service organizations on their constituent’s challenges and concerns. Social service organizations in turn can educate legislative staff on existing solutions and resources to connect constituents to the appropriate services.
The session began with a panel discussion highlighting the realities of financial hardship bankrupting more than our wallets but our emotional and physical wellbeing. Pat Bokovitz, Director, Chester County Department of Community Development added, “When we look at the whole impact of unemployment and under employment on individuals and their families, we see that a job in itself is not always enough to ensure economic security and overall well-being. There is often emotional and physical turmoil - loss of confidence and self-esteem, strained relationships with family and friends, poor health, lack of health insurance and more, that need to be addressed.” Forum participants learned more about the United Way Financial Stability Center’s partnership with PA CareerLink®, one of a kind in the Commonwealth, offering Chester County unemployed and under-employed residents a breadth of critical supportive services during their job search and beyond. Counseling, health insurance options, coaching, and navigation services, to name a few, provide a holistic approach to serving the under and unemployed in Chester County.
The Forum concluded with service organizations sharing information about their respective programs and services. Claudia Hellebush, President and CEO of United Way of Chester County said, “It’s been a privilege for United Way of Chester County to facilitate the Financial Stability Partnership and work alongside this network of services for now over 10 years. It’s been impressive to see this group grow, come together and genuinely commit to help individuals and families improve their financial situation in a holistic manner with such a collaborative spirit. Everybody brings something to the table whether it is a particular service or expertise or the connection to someone who needs help.” The forum exchange is part of the United Way Financial Stability Partnership, a collaborative aimed at helping individuals and families achieve greater financial stability by meeting essential needs, planning for the future, and creating a path to financial independence.
For more information about the various programs, services and initiatives of the United Way Financial Stability Partnership of Chester County visit http://www.unitedwaychestercounty.org/financial-stability-partnership. For those interested in learning more about programs and services at the PA Career Link®-Chester County and United Way Financial Stability Center visit http://www.pacareerlinkchesco.org.
PHOTO: Combined group effort of Chester County legislators and social services organizations addressed the under and unemployment challenges in Chester County at the annual United Way of Chester County Financial Stability Forum.