Paying for housing is the No. 1 financial challenge faced by a group of Northwest Arkansas residents suffering from the economic consequences of COVID-19, data collected by Endeavor Foundation shows.
The information shows 80% of nearly 1,000 clients in Endeavor Foundation’s Hark program are struggling to pay for housing due to job layoffs, furloughs or reduced work hours. Three other top needs identified by Hark clients impacted by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic are money, paying education-related bills and paying for food, said Jeff Webster, president and CEO of Endeavor Foundation.
The clients, who interact with Hark social service workers in free, confidential discussions that can connect the clients to a variety of other Northwest Arkansas resources, may qualify for assistance via Hark’s Catalyst Fund. The fund is a short-term financial assistance program funded by Endeavor Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
So far, the fund has distributed more than $470,000 to support clients in need since March 1. The money is sent directly to landlords, utility companies and other service providers.
Endeavor Foundation continues to add to the Catalyst Fund by providing a dollar-for-dollar match to every new donation from an outside contributor.
The data collected since March 1 paints a clear picture of who in seeking the HARK division’s assistance.
Webster said 65% of clients come from households where income is between $20,000 and $50,000 annually. Three-fourths of clients are women. One-third of clients are ages 30-39. About 38% work for schools or restaurants, but other clients come from a range of backgrounds, including construction, hotels, hair salons, retail and medical.