February 20, 2020
Guest Blog by Diana Roy, United Way’s Community Relations Director and Morgan County resident
When we hear the word homeless, it’s easy to think first about the way movies and television depict an individual struggling to make ends meet and being forced to make tough choices about where to lay their head at night. Our mind often drifts to big cities and places unlike where we live, but for too many of my rural neighbors, the guarantees of safety, comfort and pride that come with having a place to call home just aren’t a reality.
I’ve spent my career at United Way of Central Indiana working to elevate the quality of life for residents in Morgan County – the community where I live and chose to raise my family. I’m proud to call Morgan County home and I know firsthand about the tenacity, kindness, resiliency and pride of my neighbors.
The unfortunate truth is, United Way’s ALICE data shows 22% of households in Morgan County are only one paycheck, medical crisis, car repair, or natural disaster away from poverty, and while we may not see the stereotypical depictions of those battling homelessness we know that too many families struggling to make ends meet are faced with the severe consequences that come with not having a permanent address.
If I know one thing about Morgan County, it’s that our people always band together in the face of adversity and to overcome personal crisis or disaster. I’ve experienced this firsthand.
In 2008, my entire neighborhood in Martinsville was struck by a devastating flood. People lost their homes, vehicles and almost all their personal belongings. In one sudden moment, our strong community was brought to our knees, unsure of what would come next.
As a United Way employee who went to work every day on a mission to fight poverty, I soon became the recipient of those same basic needs services that I had spent years advocating for.
What I remember most about the way Martinsville families recovered and rebuilt after that flood was the determination and support from every corner of our community.
While my personal story isn’t the same as those battling homelessness in our community today, I can relate to that familiar and contagious feeling of hope and determination from the team at WellSpring.
Their strategic partnership with United Way and grant funding received from the Basic Needs Fund supports their efforts to help Morgan County residents find their path to safe, stable and affordable housing.
I am excited to share their story with you. To me, this work is personal, and I couldn’t be more proud to support this life-changing organization.