Imagine that you are unable to provide safe, stable housing for your children. How would you feel if you had to face them every day knowing that you cannot meet their basic needs for
clothing, food, and shelter? Even in one of the most affluent regions in the country, far too many parents, grandparents, and caregivers are crippled by feelings of guilt, shame, resentment, and anxiety because they are struggling to make ends meet or are one bad surprise or crisis away from losing their homes and their livelihoods. The strain these feelings place on the fabric and integrity of these families is unimaginable, but together we can help.
With this in mind, Michael and Vicki Herson launched the Emergency Relief Fund for Families with a generous seed grant in 2021. The Hersons are committed to keeping families whole while also ensuring that all children feel safe, secure, and proud of their loved ones. The Fund is intended to provide rapid assistance to parents contending with the uphill, daunting battle to secure permanent affordable housing, increase their family income, advocate for their children, and connect to community resources and supports, all while they heal and recover from the relentless assault of poverty on the family. The goal is to emerge hopeful, healthy, and purposeful.
Michael draws inspiration from his late father, a World War II veteran who experienced poverty as a child. His father credits his stay at a camp for disadvantaged youth as an early step in finding his way out of poverty, a successful career in law and the entertainment industry, and a bridge to opportunities that allowed him to take care of his own family in adulthood. For the Hersons, this Fund reflects our shared belief that we can all understand the pressure of providing for our children and how overwhelming challenges can feel as caregivers to the next generation. Michael adds, “This Fund gives us all an opportunity to help to lighten the load for struggling families. We want parents and caregivers to be able to succeed, take care of their families, and sleep well at night.”
The Emergency Relief Fund for Families is designed to provide immediate and flexible assistance to families at risk of eviction, homelessness, or separation. The Fund will provide rental assistance, food security, and other basic essentials in order to keep families together while addressing uncertainties that breed fear, anxiety, and resentment in children.