Microsoft’s Landmark Pledge Means Fewer Evictions

By United Way of King County, on January 17, 2019 | In Fighting Homelessness, News

$500 million for affordable housing. You read that right. That’s today’s exciting announcement from our longtime partner Microsoft.

$5 million will go toward Home Base, our new effort with the King County Bar Association. A staggering 40% of Americans aren’t able to cover a $400 emergency expense. That means the threat of eviction can be just one paycheck away. To make things more difficult, landlords can start eviction proceedings just three days after rent is due.

Home Base helps fight evictions with, among other things, volunteer legal representation and the support of social worker. By keeping people in their homes, we can prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place. And that means less people stuck in Seattle’s homeless crisis.

Home Base started thanks to an initial donation of $3 million from the Seattle Mariners. Microsoft’s donation means we’ll be able to reach even more people on the cusp.

“It has been gratifying to see Home Base come together so rapidly and effectively, and to receive Microsoft’s donation to it,” said United Way of King County President and CEO Jon Fine.

The majority of the $500 million will go to projects that will build housing for  low- and middle-income earners. Homes to accommodate people in a variety of jobs across Seattle and its suburbs, who are getting squeezed out of neighborhoods that were once affordable.

As The Seattle Times put it: “The pledge is the largest in the company’s 44-year history, and, according to the company, is one of the heftiest contributions by a private corporation to housing.”

It’s an obvious choice, if you ask Microsoft President Brad Smith. Most importantly, communities can’t thrive when others are suffering. “You can’t build a successful business unless you’re part of a healthy community,” he said at the close of today’s announcement.

We’re inspired by Microsoft’s leadership. If today’s announcement moved you, take the first step in ending this injustice.

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