New Emergency Fund Launched to Help Families In Need

February 3, 2022 / by United Way

New fund launched in response to the growing housing costs in Victoria

Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ territories | February 3, 2022 – Following the recent news of a local family of three living in an Accent Inns Inc. property, the hotel has teamed up with the United Way of Southern Vancouver Island to create a new Emergency Fund for families in need.

Valma Sampson, her partner Darcy Beuckert, and their daughter Lidia and their two dogs have been living at the Hotel Zed (owned by Accent Inns) in Victoria for the past month. Once the local community learned about their story, people started calling into Hotel Zed offering to pay for this family’s stay. 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.

“Since the pandemic hit we have been asking, how can we help?” said Mandy Farmer, CEO of Accent Inns and Hotel Zed. “Back in March of 2020 we partnered with United Way to start the Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund, so when we saw what was happening with families at risk here in our local hotels we thought maybe we can help again.”

Almost 15 percent of Victoria’s families with children live in poverty and the percent is even higher for single-parent families, with nearly 1 in 3 of them living with a significantly low income. At the same time, these families are facing increasingly higher monthly costs to meet their basic expenses. Victoria is one of the most expensive housing markets in Canada. Last year, a one-bedroom rent increased to $1,840 and a two-bedroom cost $2,300 (Zumper report).

Through the Emergency Fund for Families in Need, members of the community can support a family on the brink of homelessness. UWSVI’s Emergency Fund for Families in Need allows donors to help cover the costs of accommodation, critical expenses such as food, and system navigation support for those who are at risk. Families who are in need of support can reach out to the Rent Bank at Community Social Planning via their website.

“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. 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. Through this fund, we appeal to neighbours helping out  neighbours, as we never truly know what challenges a family in need may face during this difficult time.”

UWSVI has kickstarted this initiative with a donation of $5,000. For other members of the community looking to support this fund, please visit

Levels of support:

$50 helps cover support meetings with a housing crisis prevention worker to help families at risk

$150 helps a family with emergency expenses like food

$1000 helps a family with housing and food expenses for a week





So long stuffy and boring hospitality experiences, hello Accent Inns, Hotel Zed and Roar—the B.C. hospitality chain with big personality. With eight hotels and one restaurant across three brands in Victoria, Richmond, Burnaby, Kelowna, Kamloops and Tofino, we deliver more than expected in a way that big chains can’t. Third-generation CEO Mandy Farmer leads her team with love which spills over to our guests and our communities.


United Way Southern Vancouver Island (formerly United Way Greater Victoria) is a trusted leader, influencer and catalyst for change. United, we accelerate change to improve the lives of our neighbours who need it most, making our local community stronger. We believe everyone in the Greater Victoria region, which includes 13 municipalities and 11 First Nations and the Southern Gulf Islands should have the opportunity to reach their potential. Our priorities are focused on assisting isolated seniors; families in need; diversity, equity and inclusion; and individuals struggling with mental health challenges and/or addictions. Last fiscal year, United Way raised $6.2 million thanks to over 7,000 donors and 200 workplaces opening their offices to run employee giving programs. Through our community partnerships, over 125,000 people on Southern Vancouver Island received support. Show your local love today by making a gift to United Way at


Kathryn Wu, tartanbond, 604.968.5153 or