COVID-19 Partner Profile: Macomb Community Action

United Way for Southeastern Michigan and our partners work to ensure that our region’s most vulnerable families have the support they need to weather the short- and long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 Community Response Fund allows us to rapidly deploy funds to organizations that are working tirelessly to help individuals and families access food, shelter, health care and other critical resources.

As of the end of June, nearly $15 million had been awarded to nearly 500 organizations.

We’ll continue to share more stories of how together, we’re helping families in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties weather this crisis. Visit our blog to learn more about how we’re responding.

When people in Macomb County need help, they turn to Macomb Community Action (MCA) for food, housing and utility assistance. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continuesthe organization has continued to work toward its mission of persistent action to diminish poverty and promote independence. A grant from United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund helps MCA meet the increase in demand.  

Many people in our community are now reaching out for assistance who may have never faced the sudden and complicated challenges they are facing now,” said Linda Azar, divisional director at Macomb Community Action.  

The importance and availability of assistance is even more important as we face the effects, both short and long term, of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are adjusting our operations to ensure that our work continues to serve the needs of the community. 

Same services, new models  

MCA’s Macomb Food Program has changed its distribution model to include pre-boxed emergency food boxes and curbside distribution. The United Way grant allowed MCA to purchase food to meet increased demand.   

“We are getting calls from individuals looking for emergency food and pantries,” Linda said. “They have never before had to utilize these services. They appreciate that these services exist.”  

The program serves more than 15,000 people each month.  

“Many people in our community are now reaching out for assistance who may have never faced the sudden and complicated challenges they are facing now.”

Linda Azar, divisional director at Macomb Community Action

MCA’s Community Action Centers help clients with housing and utility assistance. Those offices are closed to walk-ins and instead helps clients via phone appointments. The grant helped MCA provide immediate flexible housing assistance to some households who are behind on rent or mortgage payments and who otherwise might not meet housing assistance program guidelines.  

“One client is a hairstylist in her home, and she has been unable to provide that service since the start of the pandemic,” Linda said. 

“Her adult child is now at home from college due to the pandemic. She is very thankful for the assistance we are providing her with her rent.” 

Maintaining stability

Through it all, MCA’s mission remains the same  that all Macomb County residents achieve their fullest potential and maintain personal stability and security. 

“That vision continues to motivate our agency to make an impact when times are normal and in this time of unprecedented crisis,” Linda said. 

It takes a team to make that impact. 

Macomb Community Action has been fortunate to have many partners at the state and local level work together to quickly implement new ways of serving the community and continue to be here to help people in need,” Linda said. 

The Macomb Food Program is inspired by our pantry partners who despite the risk have continued to serve the community. These are volunteers that are doing the work and are on the front lines ensuring that those that need food have access to it.”