Joe Burris

United Way of King County Launches Fund to Alleviate Hunger and Keep Families From Falling Into Homelessness During the Coronavirus Outbreak

SEATTLE—United Way of King County has launched a new fund to meet the emerging needs of people who have lost all or part of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Community Relief Fund will provide access to food and rental assistance to the people who need it most, including many who work in the service industry and other sectors of the local economy, as well as people of color, who disproportionally experience poverty due to systemic discrimination. 

“We know that thousands of people in our community are already struggling because of the economic impact of COVID-19,” said Gordon McHenry, Jr., president and CEO of United Way of King County. “Many families in our community are already living paycheck-to-paycheck, and they can’t afford to lose any income. This fund will make a direct, immediate impact by helping them.”  

Under this new fund, individual donors can choose to give money for food or rental assistance, or they can direct United Way to use the funds where they are needed most.  

The City of Seattle has partnered with United Way to raise money through the Community Relief Fund to meet the nutritional needs of families in Seattle and in all of King County. The city has already budgeted $5 million to provide emergency grocery vouchers to the 6,250 families that are enrolled in the city-supported child care and food assistance program.  

While the city and state have placed moratoriums on evictions, many people will still be at risk of losing their homes after the moratoriums expire. This fund will assist renters and homeowners who are at risk of becoming homeless because of loss of income, particularly those who might not be eligible for public assistance, such as undocumented people, gig economy workers, or people who pay rent to a friend or family member. United Way is working with local governments to grow and implement a regional rental assistance program.  United Way already supports those who need assistance. Now, because of the pandemic, the organizations will need additional funds to help families stay in their homes and feed their children. We encourage individuals to donate to help our community.