The holiday season is about acts of kindness and generosity to your loved ones. Under this new normality of uncertainty and change, caring for others can seem difficult to assimilate, but we’ve actually been doing it for decades. Still, there’s more work to be done, especially given the impact of COVID-19, and, with thousands of families in our region also grappling with devastating loss due to the wildfires.

53% of Oregonian tenants paid their monthly rent during the pandemic by cutting back on food and medications. Half dipped into savings.*

34.8% of tenants now owe back rent and 56% of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) tenants owe back rent.*

*According to a survey conducted in September 2020 by Portland State University and the Community Alliance of Tenants.

Even before the pandemic, 1 in 3 families in our region was unable to pay for basic needs, having to make agonizing choices between paying for rent, utilities, childcare or healthcare.

This year has further highlighted persistent inequities across our country. BIPOC communities have been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, at a time when they were already struggling disproportionately.

Now is the moment to act. We can no longer wait to help the people in our community who are being left behind.

For 100 years, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette (UWCW) has been working to meet the needs of vulnerable families in our region. No matter the crisis, we have always remained steadfast in our commitment to LIVE UNITED and take care of our community.

As we move toward reducing the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic, we’re committed to rebuilding and reimagining more equitable and resilient communities. United Way’s Resilient Families Fund  will provide supportive housing services, prioritizing families of color with the highest risk of being displaced and divert these families from becoming houseless. 

Through nonprofit partners across our four counties (Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington Counties, OR and Clark County, WA), UWCW will provide rent and utilities assistance so vulnerable families can remain stably housed. 

This in turn will enable families to focus on their mental health and well-being, including mitigating potential chronic health issues related to being houseless.

Your gift will help families like Lisette, who along with her 13-year-old son Elijah struggled moving from place to place in temporary shelters and sometimes even having to sleep in her car. But when her car broke down they ran out of options. Being a single parent with no place to live, she was terrified of losing Elijah because she couldn’t provide a safe place for him.

Without a vehicle and being out on the street without a place to stay made it incredibly hard for Lisette to feel like she was able to fulfill her duties as a responsible parent and making sure Elijah had a place to do homework. -Read the full story about Lisette and Elijah

“I can’t provide a safe place for my son. That is my worst nightmare, the biggest fear I have.” – Lisette

Double your impact this holiday season! Thanks to the generosity of Al and Nancy Jubitz, each gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000. 

This holiday season, we need your support to help our community recover, become more resilient, while building a more inclusive and equitable region where all families have the resources and opportunities to thrive.

When families are stably housed, they can focus on their health and well-being, including their children’s education. All of which increases a child’s ability to thrive later in life. 

But it starts with a safe place to call home and it starts with YOU

Donate today to give a family the gift of a safe place to call home