Logo courtesy of Orange County United Way

OC United Way launches campaign to help families on edge of homelessness

As the nation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, Orange County United Way is responding to the needs of the community by launching its ‘OC Family to Family’ Campaign, dedicated completely to homelessness prevention efforts.

Donations of any size will be immediately put toward a $500 emergency debit card and given to an Orange County family on the brink of homelessness who needs financial assistance with rent, utilities, food, or other basic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign goal is to raise $1M to help 2,000 families in need due to job loss and income reduction from the current health crisis.

This campaign is part of Orange County United Way’s broader efforts to raise much-needed dollars for a Pandemic Relief Fund, which supports low-income individuals and families at imminent risk of homelessness, the current Orange County population experiencing homelessness, and vital social and human services.

“As we take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the dangers posed by COVID-19, it is imperative that we also take immediate steps to protect the livelihood of our Orange County community,” said Sue Parks, CEO of Orange County United Way. “There are many families struggling to make ends meet right now due to job loss or temporary layoffs. Our hope is that this money will help them make monthly rent and utility payments, or buy groceries. We’re grateful for support from the community and know we’ll be able to help many people.”

In the last three weeks, a pilot program has been initiated and executed, utilizing a portion of the Pandemic Relief Fund donations. Orange County United Way has worked with 21 service providers to help 564 households remain housed.

“I felt so relieved and grateful when I received the money. It gave me a hope that we’ll get through these hard times, and it reminds me I’m not alone. My family plans on using the money for bills, groceries and supplies for my kids who are now learning at home,” said Ashley, a pilot program recipient.

Additionally, The Lyons-Smith Foundation, created by UBS Financial Advisor Lawrence “Larry” Smith and his wife, Nancy Lyons, will match every dollar donated to the OC Family to Family campaign, up to $500,000.

“We know the needs of the community are great right now. We’re honored to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause and encourage other corporations and individuals to unite to help local Orange County families affected by this crisis,” said Smith and Lyons.

Donations of all sizes are welcome and appreciated. To make a donation to the ‘OC Family to Family’ Campaign, please visit UnitedWayOC.org/Family or text ‘Family2Family’ to 51555.


Today’s Orange County United Way is doing more for the Education, Health, Housing and Financial Stability of every person in Orange County. More than a fundraiser, we’re hands-on, delivering more than 50 Community Impact programs countywide. We focus on long-term solutions to the most critical interconnected challenges facing local children and families. United Way is doing more to make long-term measurable difference in the lives of children and families right here in Orange County. To learn more or do more with us, visit www.unitedwayoc.org.

This article was a courtesy release.