Burlington urban assistance program adapts for safety

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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For months, the pandemic has forced essential businesses to get creative with how to safely and effectively continue to provide services. That includes nonprofits like urban assistance programs,

JUMP-- or the joint-urban ministry project-- was created in 1988 by five downtown Burlington faith communities to ensure the economically disadvantaged have improved access to basic needs.

When that in-person access was stoped by COVID-19 concerns, the project quickly adapted, moving services online or to mail and finding a creative way for people to sign up for benefits.

"Everybody's got a smartphone, right? Nobody's got a scanner. And you're looking for proof of residency because we have to vet people. We just can't give it away. Traditionally, we used to check for other means of identification, but what worked out best was you can take your smartphone, and you just take a picture of your utility bill and that's your residency confirmation," said Wanda Hines, the director of JUMP.

JUMP says it is also directly contacting clients by phone who are not internet savvy or do not have the means.

Watch the video to see the full interview with Wanda Hines.