“The Ark is Athens’ front line of response as the need for emergency financial assistance soars” states the opening remarks of The Ark's request for donations to fuel its emergency financial fund to protect low-income families who have experienced job and financial loss due to COVID-19. The Ark is a two-fold space both before COVID-19 and during this on-going crisis.
“The Ark provides emergency financial assistance, financial education, and asset building programs to low-income working families when they are faced with an unexpected financial crisis.” The first avenue is financial advice: everything from how to recover from debt to how to save for retirement to how to apply for unemployment. The Ark aims to present folks with a streamlined explanation for handling money in a way that bolsters their future.
At this moment, the word "uncertain" plays a major role in global vocabularies, coming from both media outlets and day-to-day Facebook Posts. Income is spotty, folks have fallen into unemployment, and there are always monetary obligations that crop up. The Ark is pressing into its other avenue of ministry--aiding families who are in financial distress with monetary support. “The Ark is here, now, as it has been for the past 30 years: Athens’ most consistent and reliable resource for families facing financial crisis.” The Ark is offering a counterpoint to uncertainty. They are one part of the multi-faceted resilience that is Athens Strong.
The light box appearing at the opening of The Ark's website asks folks to submit an application for aid so that they can provide funding in a timely manner. The submission space can also be accessed on The Ark’s “What We Do” page.
From correspondence with The Ark: "The Ark has been providing emergency financial assistance to workers in the Athens area for 30 years. We are uniquely positioned to provide immediate assistance to people who have been impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns. We help with rent, mortgage, utility payments, some prescription medications, special needs, and referrals to the Athens Area Emergency Foodbank. While our physical offices are closed to the public during this crisis, we are assisting people remotely via our website. Individuals are being asked to go to www.athensark.org and complete the form to qualify for assistance. Our director is Lucy Hudgens, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and the office phone is 706.548.8155 or 706.353.3530."
Other financial advice services include the general budget advice and counseling. There are funds for medical services such as emergency prescriptions (non-narcotic) and gas funds to get to cancer treatment at Athens Regional Medical Center. They’re able to provide other services, like bicycles through bike Athens. They deal with the NOAH grant for neighbors 65+ who meet income thresholds.