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United Way of the Midlands receives $625,000 grant from The Siemer Institute to help support families at risk of homelessness reach stability

Columbia, SC (May 13, 2021) – The Siemer Institute has awarded United Way of the Midlands $625,000 over the next three years to support families with school-aged children at risk of homelessness reach stability. 

According to the 2020 South Carolina State of Homelessness Report, 3,028 students in the Midlands classified as homeless according to McKinney-Vento standards during the 2018-19 school year. However, based on poverty rates, it is estimated that child homelessness was above 10,000 during that same school year due to the hidden nature of family homelessness. 

United Way works closely with school district partners on student mobility and housing instability, as these create toxic stress for children and families and are a significant factor in student success.  

“Academic success starts at home, and we can’t expect children to succeed in school when they don’t have a safe and stable place to call home,” said Sara Fawcett, United Way of the Midlands President and CEO. “Our collaboration with the Siemer Institute and their new investment in the Midlands will go a long way toward helping families create paths to long-term self-sufficiency.”

United Way of the Midlands is partnering with Salvation Army of the Midlands to deploy the Siemer grant in Lexington, Newberry and Richland counties to help families referred by school district partners achieve long-term stability.

“We have had a successful partnership with United Way for almost a decade to provide emergency financial assistance to families referred by local school districts,” said Major Henry Morris, Salvation Army of the Midlands Area Commander. “This new opportunity with The Siemer Institute will expand and deepen our impact even more.”

The Siemer program takes a two-generation approach, working with families to stabilize them in their homes while keeping children in school, and then giving them the tools to maintain that home and school stability. It combines necessary financial assistance and wrap-around support services with long-term case management, giving participants the opportunity to improve overall family success, such as increasing workforce skills to maintain sustainable income, academic supports and mentoring.    

“The Siemer Institute is excited to welcome the United Way of the Midlands into the Stable Families network,” said Kimberly Habash Dorniden, President & National Executive Director of the Siemer Institute. “As a trusted leader in the community and in partnership with local service providers, we engage in this partnership to help provide opportunities for the whole family to stay in their home and for children to have academic successes through staying in their school.”

The Siemer Institute was launched in 2011 with the intention of preventing family homelessness and reducing school instability among low-income families. Since 2011, the Siemer Institute has developed partnerships in 53 communities across the country.

To learn more about United Way’s work to help families remain financially stable and students succeed, visit


About United Way of the Midlands

United Way of the Midlands is the most organized, efficient and accountable system for investing in the community. With more than 70 Community Impact Partners, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations. For more information, please visit

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