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Victoria hotel chain partners with United Way to create emergency fund for families

Accent Inns has partnered with United Way Southern Vancouver Island to create an emergency fund for families who are in need of housing.

The two organizations say the fund was started after CTV News shared the story of Valma Sampson and Darcy Beuckert, who together with their daughter and two dogs were living in Accent Inn's Hotel Zed, and were just days away from moving onto the street because they could no longer afford room payments or find a suitable place to live.

"Once the local community learned about their story, people started calling into Hotel Zed offering to pay for this family’s stay," said United Way in a release Thursday.

"With all the calls of support coming in, Accent Inns reached out to the United Way of Southern Vancouver Island (UWSVI) to see what more could be done."

Together, the two organizations launched the Hotels for Families in Need Fund, which supports local families that are on the brink of homelessness.

Community members can donate to the fund, which will be distributed to families for accommodation costs or essential services like food or system navigation to find more stable housing.

"The past two years have truly tested all of us and our services," said Mark Breslauer, CEO of UWSVI.

"We recognize that the pandemic has had a significant impact on families," he added. "Job losses, rising housing and food costs are all added stressors for local families on top of health concerns and the rising cost of housing in the city."

According to the United Way, nearly 15 per cent of Victoria families live in poverty. That percentage roughly doubles for single-parent families, with nearly 1 in 3 living with "significantly low income."

Donations to the Hotels for Families in Need Fund can be made on the United Way website.

Families looking for more information about other emergency funds can check out the Community Social Planning rent bank.

In 2020, Accent Inns also partnered with United Way to start the Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund, which provided rooms to health-care workers in the early days of the pandemic when isolation policies were much stricter. Top Stories

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