No matter what community you visit, United Way is dedicated to four areas of focus: health, education, financial stability, and meeting basic needs of every person. The priorities set by our communities determine how we tackle the issues that cause our neighbors hardship.
We have strong network of partners who have the skills and expertise needed to tackle these issues. We bring those experts to the table and collaborate with them to create innovative solutions so all our neighbors can thrive. These partners work with us to make it possible for each of the impact projects listed below to transform lives in our community.
Our Impact Projects
Every person should have a safe place to call home. That’s why we’re partnering with organizations tackling homelessness in our community to help run the Helena Coordinated Entry System.
This system of collaborative efforts aims to prevent and divert households from entering the homeless system, reduces duplication of services, provides data to improve outcomes, and results in prioritizing limited housing resources. Coordinated Entry not only saves lives, identifies gaps in local services, and creates opportunities for advocacy, but it saves our community money by taking pressure off publicly funded systems as much as possible.
To find out how you or your agency could be involved in the Coordinated Entry System, please contact our team by calling (406) 442-4360.
Front Door Locations for Coordinated Entry
To access the Coordinated Entry system and start looking for connected resources, please visit one of the following locations:
- Good Samaritan Ministries, 3067 N. Montana Ave., (406) 442-0780
- Our Place Drop-In Center, 631 N. Last Chance Gulch, (406) 442-1374
- PureView Health Center, 1930 9th Ave., (406) 461-0000
- PureView Health Center (Healthcare for the Homeless), 533 N. Last Chance Gulch (406) 461-0516
- Volunteers of America, 2001 11th Ave., Bldg B., (844) 486-2838
Over the last four years, Free Tax Help programs in our area have put over $3.4 million back into our neighbor’s pockets, giving them more financial stability and breathing room.
We’re proud to be part of the Free Tax Help Coalition, which offers Free Tax Help to qualifying households. They can set an appointment to have an IRS-certified volunteer help them prepare and electronically file their taxes or complete their filing online at no charge through verified platforms, including Montana Free File and MyFreeTaxes.
Each year, 500 households participate in this program, booking available appointments quickly, and income restrictions apply.
Our partners in the Free Tax Help Coalition include Rural Dynamics, Inc., the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Montana Department of Revenue, AARP, Montana Legal Services Association, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) by Rocky.
Montana 211 is the most comprehensive local resource guide that anyone can access around the clock. This confidential service is packed with information about programs available in our community to help support those seeking help with childcare, mental health, career training, transportation, senior services, and more!
To access Montana 211, you can dial 211 from any phone around the clock to speak with an operator who can share information out of a comprehensive database. If you’d rather peruse the information on your own, you can visit www.montana211.org to find out what’s available in our community.
In 2019, our team updated over 350 resources listed on Montana 211 for Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, and Broadwater counties.
Studies show that people who volunteer feel more connected to their communities and have a stronger sense of purpose, increasing the quality of their mental health.
We want a strong community with great mental health, which is why we run Volunteer Helena. This website is a one-stop-shop for volunteerism in the tri-county area. Over 80 local nonprofits post great opportunities to volunteer, and website visitors can create a profile, set up alerts for causes and skills that meet their own interests, and track their volunteer hours!
This website currently receives 2,000 online visitors per month, showing how important volunteerism is to our community. Check out Volunteer Helena today.
The period of life from birth to age five is a unique and critical time. The experiences young children have in these earliest years impact brain development and influence their future in a surprising array of areas, from future earning to physical and mental health, from graduation and academic achievement to healthy relationships and social-emotional well-being.
United Way of Lewis and Clark Area is the anchor organization in Helena for the Zero to Five initiative and provides an office and resources for the Local Collaboration Coordinator. The local expression of Zero to Five is still in its first year of organizing and building relationships with existing groups and agencies that are doing great work to provide services to children and families in this critical stage of life.
Zero to Five in Lewis and Clark County seeks to enhance this community-wide movement, broadening the understanding of how important this time period is in our children’s lives. We hope to connect parents and caregivers with knowledge, skills and resources they need to help our children thrive. Our local emphasis is “School Readiness” and we are gathering team members, data, and other resources to focus on this important project in the coming months.
To do this work Zero to Five is committed to:
• Build Connections between organizations serving young children and families,
• Use data and knowledge about young children and families to make better decisions about our programs and service,
• Involve parents and caregivers in decision making at every level, and
• Develop innovative solutions that remove barriers to change within our systems.
Zero to Five is supported through the State Office, which provides infrastructure, resources and funding through the Headwaters Foundation.
For more information about Zero to Five, please call (406) 442-4360.
Helena Resource Advocates
The Helena Resource Advocates are a group of agencies and individuals who meet monthly to share resources and collaborate to improve our community. Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Helena Indian Alliance, located at 501 Euclid Ave.
Helena Resource Advocates Leadership Team
The HRA Leadership Team, which serves as our local Continuum of Care Coalition, is the governing body of Coordinated Entry. It convenes agency leaders, service providers, and folks who have experienced homelessness to strategize and take action to improve the community. HRA leadership works to establish projects and collaborates with HRA to accomplish them.
For more information about any of these programs, please contact our team at (406) 442-4360.
Since 2009, our neighbors in Lewis and Clark County have saved nearly $900,000 in prescription costs thanks to FamilyWize.
This service connects a network of pharmacies across the United States to help hardworking families have more flexibility in their budgets by helping them save money on prescriptions. United Way Worldwide formed a partnership with FamilyWize so local United Way teams can distribute information and help their communities access this service.
The FamilyWize service can be used with or without health insurance and even works on some pet medications. It is free for anyone and can be used with a wallet card (available at our office) or through the mobile app available for download on the FamilyWize website.
We are proud to bring this resource to our community to save our neighbors money and help them lead healthy lives.
Children are our future, and they have big dreams for the impact they want to have on the world. That’s why we partner with elementary schools to host the Kids’ Art Project!
Each year, we work with local 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers to inspire their students to change the world. They watch a video by Kid President, talk about helping others in their classrooms, and draw the impact they want to make. The students help our team narrow this project down to the top 10 entries, which are then voted on by our community.
This year, Pizza Hut on North Montana generously donated a pizza party for the first place winner’s class and Dr. Tyler Ream, Superintendent of Helena Public Schools, joined us to congratulate her. Thank you for helping us inspire another generation of change makers!
Do you have tax questions? Good news – we’re a Virtual Service Delivery site for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)!
If you need answers to tax-related questions, you can set up an appointment to video chat with an IRS representative by calling (844) 545-5640. Appointments must be set up by calling this number, and the IRS will notify our team to be prepared for your appointment.
This free service has helped our neighbors answer their questions and solve outstanding issues quickly and efficiently. We are proud to host this service in our area!
Our team handles local administration for the annual Point in Time Homelessness survey. This is an annual effort to measure homelessness in our community on a single day of the year.
We partner with other organizations and volunteers to canvas the community and collect information to gain a more thorough understanding of housing insecurity and the issues that are connected with it. This informs the work of Greater Helena Area Housing First as well as all our partners in housing.
This survey is distributed and analyzed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).