Give to United Way’s Fund to Help Our Neighbors

By United Way of King County, on June 12, 2024 | In Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Fighting Homelessness, Helping Students Graduate, Racial Equity

Since its inception in 1969, Sesame Street has taught children its popular song, “The People in Your Neighborhood.” It’s about the firefighters, teachers, postal workers, grocers, plumbers, and librarians who are our neighbors and how they help make up our community.

It’s safe to say that the neighborhood has changed much since 1969. It is now comprised of IT professionals and web developers, too. Here in King County, the neighborhood has become so expansive, diverse, and varied by socioeconomic status that we might not recognize folks as neighbors anymore or believe they have anything in common with us unless we’re of the same background.

But whether we live on the East Side or South Seattle, White Center or Black Diamond, Bellevue or Burien, or Bothell, we’re all still neighbors.

We all complain about the gridlock on Interstate 5, flock outside when temperatures climb to the mid-70s, shop for deals at Fred Meyer and QFC, and hang “12” flags on our homes.

And we live where people possess genuine, heartfelt concerns for people in need. Despite our differences, we care about our neighbors no matter who they are or where they come from.

United Way of King County recently launched its Our Neighbor Fund because too many of our neighbors are struggling.

They’re doing all they can to stay in their homes, but the median rent for an apartment in King County is now $2,100 monthly. That is 74% higher than the state average. Our area has seen steady increases in evictions since the moratoriums were lifted, and 50% of families who are evicted experience homelessness within 6 months.

Our neighbors are doing all they can to keep food on the table, but grocery prices during the pandemic rose to their highest level in nearly 50 years. Though the pandemic has ended, prices haven’t fallen. Last year, Seattle-area residents spent an average of $402.08 a month on groceries per person, the ninth-highest average in the country.

For families that already have enough food, their average grocery bill increased by 49%. For those struggling to put food on the table, their average spending increased by 71% per month.

Our neighbors at local colleges are doing all they can to stay in school, but according to a survey from the Washington Student Achievement Council, nearly half of college students in Washington state experience insecurity regarding basic needs.

Fortunately, United Way is well-positioned to help our neighbors. They turned to us, and we responded. Using federal COVID relief dollars, United Way created King County’s rental assistance response in partnership with local governments and processed more than $200 million in rental assistance funding.

We created a Home Grocery Delivery Program that served thousands of families per week. And we set up on-campus resource hubs where college students can access everything from emergency grants to food to hygiene products.

We will continue to address our neighbors’ concerns, and we need your help. Most of the federal dollars that addressed the housing and food crises during the pandemic are gone.

With Our Neighbor Fund, we’re raising $12.5 million to invest in strategies that will feed kids and families, keep them in their homes, and help college students stay in school.

The fund will enable us to provide students with free meals when school is out, leverage millions of dollars in rental assistance funding, provide students with emergency grants and housing assistance, and much more.

Please join the movement to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. To give, click here.


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