Family Independence Initiative gets money to Detroiters struggling during pandemic

A new initiative in Detroit to help those hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

It includes money for those who've suddenly lost their jobs and their income. Plus, it helps low wage workers struggling to make ends meet. 

Those first recipients have received some help - and are feeling thankful for the hand up.

"I was very grateful, I still am very grateful because the timing of it was impeccable," said Victoria Washington. 

Washington received a lifeline amidst a pandemic. The single mom and business owner receiving 500 dollars to help make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.

"Just the basic essentials, that was critical to cover that bill or cover that need and not spread me so thin because you have so many expenses at once," Washington said.
"First of all, free money is always amazing," said Alexander White. "Secondly at a time like this - especially in my career - you just don’t know where it’s going to come from or when it’s going to happen."

White is a jazz drummer.  He says the COVID-19 crisis pulled the plug on tour dates in China, Europe and New York. His wife, a flight attendant, is also out of work.

The Whites and Victoria Washington are just two of more than 1,400 households in Detroit that have received funds through the Give Together Now campaign that is helping families weather the financial storm brought on by the coronavirus.

Non-profits Stand Together and the Family Independence Initiative are behind the effort. They are doling out the cash raised by donors to groups like Detroit is Different and Focus Hope to give to families in need.

Jasahn Larsosa says fast food, grocery store, and residential care workers with young children were among those receiving payouts.

RELATED: Family Independence Initiative raising money to give to Detroiters hit hard by COVID-19

"So these are folks who are still working putting their lives on the line probably not paid very well, who still have young children who are not in school right now, so this puts an inherent strain on them," Larsosa said. "So we try to pay particular close attention to those folks outside of the regular families that we serve.

More than a million dollars are earmarked for Detroit. Another 800 families will receive $500 in the weeks to come. 

And the Family Independence Initiative says they know the need in Detroit is great and that there’s more money on the way to help families here. 

They are still hoping to get support from businesses, philanthropic groups and even city and county governments so there’s more money to go around.

There is a link to apply for those funds and information on how you can donate on the website:

For now, the waitlist is the best place for people to get a chance to be on the receiving end.

Those looking to support the effort can make an Online Donation by visiting
Select Detroit. Personal Check: FII-National, 663 13th St Suite 200, Oakland, CA 94612. In the memo, note funds are for Detroit impacted residents