A New Perspective on Teamwork: Redefining ‘Working Together’

By United Way of King County, on April 10, 2020 | In News, Racial Equity

This crisis has us looking at the world differently. For so many, lives have been turned upside down – and the need is greater than ever.  

It’s requiring us all to work together differently – for all of us to do our part. Our swift adoption and commitment to social distancing is teamwork like most of us have never seen.  

Our agency partners are getting creative to keep people in shelters safe and deliver services in new ways.  

The United Way team is in full ‘innovation mode’—working tirelessly to live up to our status as an Essential Business. 

The teamwork win this week?   

The Rental Assistance site is in full swing. Thanks to your donations, we’re offering one month of rental assistance to people who qualify. Help is going to King County residents who have lost part or all of their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are behind on their April rent.  

Not only does this require quick coordination between front-line providers like Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Wellspring Family Services, Solid Ground, and Open Doors for Multicultural Families—it includes partners you may not think of: 

  • Landlords. In some cases, we’re asking landlords to accept payment slightly lower than market rate amounts (we’re paying HUD payment standards). This helps our dollars go further – and is also a good example of everyone doing their part during this trying time. 
  • Translators at 2-1-1. So many people who have lost their jobs consider English their second language. When you’re talking about forms and finances, having this information in your native language can be a real stress-reducer. Thanks to the folks answering calls at 2-1-1, people needing assistance can receive immediate translation in 155 languages. 
  • Local governmentThe City of Seattle and King County have stepped outside of traditional funding processes so they could quickly provide $2.5M—and are reducing some of the typical requirements that could slow down the process of getting funds out quickly. 

Racial Equity Matters

People of color are already over-represented in homelessness and poverty in King County because of historical inequities. The income and wealth gaps in the Seattle-King County area is vast – and a crisis like this will widen them even further. 

Our provider partners—Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Solid Ground, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and Wellspring Family Services—fight institutional racism year-round and have deep roots in south King County and other areas in the region where the need is especially high. 

In addition to the online application and the multiple languages supported by 2-1-1, a fifteen-member Racial Equity Coalition has identified community members who need rental assistance and are unable or uncomfortable with using technology to access the fund. 

In the spirit of team, take a listen to what Wayne Wilson, Impact Manager for Homelessness has to say about what frontline agencies are experiencing:  

Thanks for all you’re doing to be part of this community-wide team  and stay safe! 


Abdellah Tahri
April 13, 2020

I’m outta of work and I’m in a need to pay my rent.

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United Way of King County
April 13, 2020

We are sorry to hear, Abdellah. Please visit our Rent Help page for more information about rental assistance for April.

All comments are approved before they are posted to the site.

All comments are approved before they are posted to the site.