Hope for Rent Assistance in May

By United Way of King County Posted on May 4, 2020 In News

With a new month comes new obligations, including rent payments for many people in the region who have lost income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

While United Way of King County launched a rent assistance program in April that helped hundreds of households, many others couldn’t get the help they needed due to a shortage of United Way funds available.

Many of the same people who needed help in April need it again this month, and the number of families who need help keeps growing.

One of the people who was helped in April was Thomas, a community college student and single father of a three-year-old son. Thomas and his son were in a car accident, and Thomas sustained a brain injury and was hospitalized. His son was also injured and he, too, was hospitalized. Then Thomas lost his job due to COVID-19 but still had to pay his rent. Thanks to InterCultural Children and Family Services and support from United Way’s Bridge to Finish program, Thomas was able to pay his late rent and stay afloat for one more month. His son is now out of the hospital and receiving physical therapy.

Gordon McHenry, Jr., president of United Way of King County, talked about the program and the urgent need for more funds to help more people pay their May rent during an interview with KING 5.

“The real issue is that our ability to help these families, help these households, is directly linked to the amount we’ve been able to raise,” said McHenry, who also added that the organization continues to raise money and “hope we can begin to help with the May rent later this month.”

“We knew that there was a lot of need in the community before COVID, and we anticipated it would be dramatically exacerbated by COVID, both in health and economics, and that’s exactly what’s happened. It’s really hard on our communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities.”

Gordon McHenry, Jr.

McHenry also spoke about the disproportionate impact this economic and public health crisis has had on people of color.

“We knew that there was a lot of need in the community before COVID, and we anticipated it would be dramatically exacerbated by COVID, both health and economics, and that’s exactly what’s happened,” McHenry said. “It’s really hard on our communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities.”


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