Barrier Busters Celebrates 20 Years and Provides $530K for Emergent Needs in 2021

As the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continued through 2021, the Barrier Busters Network responded to individual crisis by providing emergency assistance to residents across Washtenaw County. A comprehensive summary of the group’s community response and funding can be found in the newly released 2021 Year End Report at https://bit.ly/2021-BBReport.

Barrier Busters 2021 Highlights included:

• 76% of requests went to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) households

• 41% of total requests supported Black households

• 70% of total requests supported households located in zip codes 48197 and 48198 , on par with 2020

• 35% of total requests supported immigrant households

• The top 2 types of requests for assistance were housing assistance, and utility assistance

• Overall, there has been more than 2 times the number of requests and expenditures since pre-pandemic 2019

Since 2001, the Washtenaw County Barrier Busters Network has worked to provide emergency assistance funding to residents and increase collaboration among local social services agencies.

The group’s twenty-year commitment to the community has helped hundreds of households annually with basic needs funding associated with rental costs, utility bills, transportation, andhealth care costs.

“Funding like this has been very helpful to my family,” said Washtenaw County resident, Ciera Billups. “As a single mother raising three boys, sometimes there is just not enough money to cover everything. To know there is community help for those in need is very reassuring to a parent like myself. Thank you for all of your help and dedication."

Like many who have turned to Barrier Busters for assistance over the last 20 years, funding ensured the Billups Family remained in good standing within their housing complex and kept their utilities on and uninterrupted during the peak of winter.

"As a caseworker and youth worker, it is so empowering to be able to call upon Barrier Busters when our families in the community appeal for help,” said Skylar Woodman, Director of the Bryant Community Center. “I will always be grateful, in the utmost way, for this partnership.”

Thank you to the funders who have increased contributions to Barrier Busters during COVID-19 including Washtenaw County, City of Ann Arbor, City of Ypsilanti, Pittsfield Township, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, United Way of Washtenaw County, Michigan Community Action, and individual donors.

Individuals interested in supporting Barrier Busters are now able to make donations to the Emergency Unmet Need Fund, where 100% of their donation will go to helping an individual or family in our community. Donations can be made by clicking on the following link, and selecting “Washtenaw” from the drop-down menu of counties: http://bit.ly/bb-donations

Learn more about Barrier Busters at washtenaw.org/barrierbusters

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