To end poverty, we must tackle it from all sides. It’s important we help struggling individuals and families, but it’s not enough. We must advocate policies and programs that fight the root causes of poverty at all levels of government.
Here are our top priorities, and how you can get involved.
Working individuals in poverty may earn just enough to disqualify them from public benefits, but not enough to afford basic needs. We support policies that gradually decrease benefits as income rises.
We support successful implementation and future expansion of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), reauthorization of federal EITC and Child Tax Credit improvements, and expansion of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
California’s lowest-income renters spend a median of 68% of income on rent. We advocate policies and programs that increase supply and improve conditions for all families to secure safe and affordable housing.
Wages for the lowest paid workers in the Bay Area have failed to keep up with the sharp increase in cost of living. We support policies that help close the gap between poverty and self-sufficiency.
Improved alignment within our education and workforce systems can lead to more effective strategies to address the widening skills gap. We support policies and strategies that help individuals to be career-ready.
As the political climate evolves and shifts, our policy priorities must too. Check out this living document to find our latest policy agenda.View Our Policy Platform (PDF)
From a quick call to your legislator to sharing a post on Facebook, we make it easy for you to join the fight against poverty. Join our email list and follow us on social media to get the latest action alerts and updates.
Want to partner with us in the fight against Bay Area poverty? Tell us how your request aligns with our mission and policy agenda, and our team can reach out. Request UWBA Policy Involvement
Together with our health coalition partners in Contra Costa County, United Way helped build community support and testified before public hearings to successfully advocate for expansion of Contra Costa CARES. This county health program will now cover 4,400 uninsured low-income adults, including undocumented immigrants.
Affordable housing is perhaps our region’s most pressing issue, for low- and moderate-income families alike. We proudly endorsed bond measures in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, and organized phone banks to educate voters on their importance. Both measures passed with 2/3 voter support, generating $1.5 billion for affordable housing.
UWBA was wholly committed to advocating for a California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), including a public endorsement, joint op-ed with Assembly member Tony Thurmond, and client testimonial at the State Capitol. Since its passing in 2015, the state and federal EITC have helped lift an estimated 255,000 Californians out of poverty.
While the cost of living in the Bay Area has skyrocketed in recent years, salaries for our region’s lowest paid workers was stalled. United Way was a leading advocate for raising the minimum wage in 2014, endorsing ballot measures in Oakland and San Francisco. Both passed, benefitting around 190,000 workers.
Director of Policy + Government Affairs
Will provides policy analysis, advocacy strategy and implementation, and program support. He also leads regional public policy efforts for United Ways of California. Will has a BA in History from NYU and MA in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from the New School in New York City, and is an experienced community organizer.
Focus areas: Income (minimum wage, tax credits for working families), Health, Basic Needs (housing, food security)