United Way of King County looks to help people impacted by COVID-19

SEATTLE -- The United Way of King County is investing $5 million into a program to help families impacted by COVID-19.

For about a year, The United Way of King County has worked to help people who have been evicted avoid homelessness. The Home Base program has assisted about 900 families.

Since there is moratorium on evictions, The United Way of King County is expanding the program to focus on people struggling to pay rent.

The program will help King County residents who have not paid rent for April, lost their job or hours due to COVID-19, and who make 50% or less of the median area household income.

“We’re trying to do everything that we can to keep people in their homes,” said Lauren McGowan, senior director of ending homelessness at United Way of King County.

The expanded Home Base program will be funded by $1.5 million from King County, a $1 million commitment from the city of Seattle, and a $1.5 million grant from money raised by the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, and from corporate and individual donors.

For one local family, they hope this program will help them get back to normal.

“I just got to make sure I can survive through it, and keep my head above water,” said Sunny Jones.

Jones is a single mother of two living in Federal Way. She says she lost her job working at a hotel when COVID-19 hit. Now, the dollars are disappearing, but the bills are continuing to pile up.

“You still have to pay for stuff, you still have to eat, you still have to get things for your kids, there’s medications. It starts to worry you and stress you out because you just have to look around every corner to figure out what you’re going to do next,” she said.

McGowan says in the first few hours of the program, thousands of people applied.

People who are interested in the program will be able to apply again Monday at 9 a.m.

For more information on the program click here, or call 211.