Skip to main content

UWSM Helps Families Become More Stable with Direct Aid

By February 18, 2022Blog

Spurwink’s Outpatient and Community Services (OCS) program in York County includes public school counseling, individuals receiving behavioral health home services, and school-aged refugee children, adolescents, and their families who experience mental health issues due to complex trauma histories.

Through Spurwink OCS, we have relationships with people who can benefit from direct aid now, and we need it to keep them safer and more stable. Thanks to a funding partnership with the United Way of Southern Maine, The OCS Access to Care and Basic Needs Fund connects people to resources and allows them to engage in treatment that will decrease drug dependency, improve mental and physical health, reduce homelessness, rebuild families, and improve life expectancy.

The United Way of Southern Maine’s support allows Spurwink OCS to meet families where they are during the Covid-19 crisis. The agency has experienced a growing need for behavioral health services, and many of the families we serve experience financial hardship or significant instability due to the pandemic. United Way funds help families apply for MaineCare or Katie Beckett funds or cover the costs of care, and allow us to provide age and language-appropriate care for children and adults who are disproportionately at risk for adverse health outcomes due to poverty, race, and/or ethnic bias and structural racism, along with a lack of access to health care, employment, transportation, food, and basic needs items.

There are many examples of the ways in which these funds have made a real difference for struggling families in York County. Since receiving funds from the United Way of Southern Maine, Spurwink OCS has:

  • Provided money for car repairs for a family who had their only family vehicle inspected and found they needed brakes and tires to keep their car safe. The family had no means to pay for the repairs. This car was the only mode of transportation to get the child to and from vital mental health, school, and medical appointments.
  • Provided a gas gift card to a grandparent/guardian for her teenage child who was going through aggressive cancer treatment and needed to get to multiple appointments per week. The cost of gas was putting a financial strain on the family, so we were able to help cover gas and reduce their stress levels.
  • Stopped a car repossession by paying past due car payments for a newly single mother whose child has complex medical needs that require significant travel to out of state medical treatments/appointments.
  • Paid for sewing classes for a soon-to-graduate teen who has interest in the seamstress trade as her career post-high school.
  • Paid for monthly bus passes for two teenagers who were having difficulties with transportation due to their parents’ significant mental health challenges. This enabled them to be more independent and get to their appointments.
  • Paid for bulk laundry detergent and undergarments for a child who struggles with a medical condition that causes them to have frequent accidents. The costs of replacement undergarments and detergent caused financial stress on the family, and we were able to help.

The United Way of Southern Maine’s support strengthens Spurwink’s capacity to provide care for youth and their families in York County.