Housing Heroes: The Care Fund offers mortgage, rental support to families in need

Housing Heroes: The Care Fund offers mortgage, rental support to families in need

In Arizona, an estimated 17% of children have special health care needs, ranging from complex and chronic conditions, such as severe infections, cancer and congenital heart defects, to life-threatening accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents or near drownings.

During those times, parents are often in need of financial assistance.

That’s why Care Fund was created.

The nonprofit, originally known as The Apollo Foundation, is dedicated to providing mortgage and rent assistance to families during a child’s extended health crisis.   

During the past seven years, Care Fund has provided more than $2 million in emergency housing assistance throughout Arizona and is becoming a growing force in preventing eviction, foreclosure, homelessness and other traumatic events that negatively impact children’s and families’ ability to heal, cope and thrive.

“Our goals are to ensure that families without the means can remain in their homes and spend time together despite their circumstances,” says Mike Brown, WaFd Bank Ariziona president and incoming Care Fund chairman.

“We do this by working collaboratively with hospital social workers, physicians, health care professionals, hospitals and clinics to refer families to our Mortgage and Rent Assistance Program.”

For example, the organization recently had a case with a 7-year-old boy who came from a loving family and enjoyed Lego, Mario Bros. video games and flag football.

“As a result of a car accident, this amazing child suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and high spinal cord injury,” Brown says.

The injuries required the boy to be on a ventilator and use a feeding tube, and he requires around-the-clock care at home.

“As you can imagine, this family needs to be focused on their son, not the piling bills. As such, Care Fund was able to provide six months of mortgage assistance, so those parents did not have to choose between caring for their son and working to pay their mortgage.”

The organization’s chief means of raising funds for local families is through its annual signature event, the Desert Sky Gala presented by WaFd Bank. The event began in the farmhouse at MacDonald’s Ranch in 2013 and has grown year over year in funds raised, number of guests and sophistication.

“Last year, we hosted a full-on gala at the Westin Kierland,” Brown says. “As a result of that one night, we helped 130 new families.”

A similar program was also hosted in Tucson, with equally positive results.

“As with so many other nonprofits, COVID-19 has limited our ability to raise funds by these more traditional means,” says Brown, whose company committed over $40,000 to the organization in recent months. “As such, we are calling on the community to consider one of our alternative means to help.”

First, a direct donation portal is available that can take any dollar amount online. Beyond this, Care Fund is a qualifying charity for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit, so donors can reduce dollar-for-dollar what they pay in Arizona state income tax.

“The maximum credit allowed is $800 for couples filing jointly and $400 for single filers,” Brown says. “Either individual or couple, you can make this donation between now and December 31 to qualify.”

There is also the Care Fund Heroes program, which gives employees the chance to pledge as little as $10 per month to the organization.

“And finally, there is also Amazon, which I think we’ve all used more than usual the past several months,” Brown says.

Through Amazon, donors log on to their Amazon account, click on My Account and choose Care Fund as the charity of choice.

Moving forward, members can log on through smile.amazon.com and 0.5% of the funds from all orders made will donated to Care Fund by Amazon, with no additional dollars taken from the account.

“We’ve been able to help more than 700 families in 55 Arizona cities in just the past few years alone,” Brown says. “With help and support, we can do so much more. Every little bit helps.”

For more information or to apply for mortgage or rent support, visit thecarefund.org.