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Financial Counseling Available to Aid Post-Lockdown Recovery

Cash is in short supply for Connecticut families hard-hit during the lockdown, and the United Way says many were having financial difficulty long before this. (Cohdra/Morguefile)
Cash is in short supply for Connecticut families hard-hit during the lockdown, and the United Way says many were having financial difficulty long before this. (Cohdra/Morguefile)
May 15, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. - About 450,000 people in Connecticut have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold - and now the United Way is offering free financial coaching and small grants to help some stave off bankruptcy.

TrustPlus is part of the ALICE Saves program, where people commit to saving $20 a month for six months, then reap a $60 reward. Annie Scully, research analyst with the United Way of Connecticut, says TrustPlus has been retooled to address the chaos created by the lockdown.

"We can help individuals create what we're calling a COVID-19 Response Checklist," says Scully. "There's many new expanded public assistance programs that people can utilize right now to help mitigate some of the financial shock of this pandemic."

Members of ALICE Saves also can apply for grants of $200 to pay bills. The program also offers advice on day-to-day money matters, debt management, credit scores and savings.

So far, Scully says 1,000 families have received money from the United Way COVID-19 Response Fund. People can learn more online at 'alice.ctUnited Way.org.'

Scully says the TrustPlus program can be accessed from anywhere.

"So, it's either a phone call or it's a Skype meeting, so there's no in-person contact required," says Scully. "And that's sort of a fundamental component of this program, so it's a great fit for today's situation."

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, a 2018 ALICE Saves report from the United Way found that 40% of Connecticut households were not able to afford basic living expenses - like housing, food, and child care. And 46% lacked enough savings to cover three months of bills in an emergency.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CT