UPO CARES about YOU2022-05-26T20:15:06+00:00

See which programs are perfect for you!


You can rise into the middle class, no matter where you start.

  • If you don’t have your GED Diploma, you can earn it in a class for English speakers or for ESL (English as a Second Language). Our student support services help you overcome obstacles and succeed!
  • Start your own Cleaning and Sanitation business through our training program. First, you earn a national certification in the Environmental Maintenance industry. Second, UPO will give you start-up support to buy equipment and supplies and will partner with the Small Business Association (SBA) to help you get a small business loan.
  • Raise your IT skills to the next level with Security+ or Network+ courses. You’ll graduate with a national certification.
  • If you’re certified with a Food Handlers License, you can become an apprentice through a partnership for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Industry Workers. UPO gives you a stipend during 6 months of on-the-job training. The goal is that after the training, you get hired for a full-time job.
  • High school seniors can attend Career Exploration in the Construction Trades to discover alternatives to college.


Are you or your family on the edge of homelessness, or are you without a home now? We have your back.
Our targeted supports can help reduce how long you experience homelessness. You will receive further help as needed, such as job training, rental assistance, mental health counseling, and connections to other resources.


UPO provides Care Packages and food to individuals or families who are required to quarantine for 2 weeks as a result of contact tracing. During this period, UPO case managers will identify your needs and coordinate assistance.


Let us help you with medical bills, baby supplies, summer camp, and burial support.


UPO coordinates weekly grocery and household food distribution for the people who need it most. We place special emphasis on Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8.


Your life has been disrupted because of COVID. If you’re having trouble, we’re here to help.
Reach out to us for an appointment with a licensed mental health provider.
Don’t wait.
Don’t suffer alone.
(UPO offers this program in coordination with the DC Dept. of Behavioral Health.)


Join the E.P.I.C. Book Club for grades K-5— we make reading FUN! It helps children with academic enrichment opportunities and their social-emotional wellness.
Students meet weekly with program aides. They learn skills and strategies that help them understand and interpret their emotions.


UPO is using a place-based strategy to expand job readiness, case management, and employment services in 3 Community Impact Zones: Brentwood (Ward 5), SW Neighborhood (Ward 6), and Benning Terrace (Ward 7). We see real progress happening, because the forces that drive change are collaborating to achieve a shared vision.


UPO provides targeted emergency response assistance to families with children enrolled in Early Head Start who are displaced or experiencing homelessness. We assess their needs, provide direct assistance, and connect families to additional partners to give them relief.


UPO chose community-based organizations so they could run high-quality summer programs. Each curriculum uses best practices to engage youth in academics and/or enrichment.


All UPO programs are open to individuals and families who live in the District and earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level. For example, if you’re eligible (see the chart), you can join any of our job training programs and the only cost is your sweat — you bring the same commitment as you would to any other program, but here your wallet doesn’t get any lighter.

(If your home has 9 or more people, add $4,540 for each additional person to show the income limit.)

We’re here to help you rise! Reach out to us. Today.

(Note: CARES Act funding continues through September 2022)

Text UPOCARES to 41444

Hotline: (202) 231-7992

Email: UPOCARES@upo.org

Address: 3938 Benning Road NE, Washington, DC 20019

Her computer is “a blessing”

For Sharon Gray-Rush, securing a laptop was a game-changer, especially during the pandemic:

“It’s been a blessing.” Thanks to UPO, she not only pays bills and does her banking online, she also buys groceries and has them delivered. This saves her from going to the store, carrying bags, and activating her arthritis. Ms. Gray-Rush sympathizes with many people in her community who don’t have reliable access to the internet. She says access is so important because “everything is online now.”


She can stay in her home

Our CARES Act team enables UPO to help more people during the pandemic. For example, when Ms. A came to UPO, she was desperate to stay in her home. We helped her get back on her feet by paying her landlord $4,900 in back rent. She said:

“People are out here working but they are still behind, and they need to know there is HOPE, that there is help. I have told many people about [UPO’s] program and they don’t believe me … I can only lead them to the water – I can’t make them drink. But I am so glad I went to that water and drank – and it was COOL water!”


A Mother’s Ambition

The UPO CARES program helps people turn their passion into action — and the only cost is their sweat. Look at Lena Coleman, a DC native with three children and a passion for education. She needed a Child Development Associate (CDA) certification to pursue her goal of becoming a Childcare Director, but she could not afford the cost of training and testing.

She reached out to UPO, learned that she was eligible, and jumped right into our free CDA Training program – 3 weeks after she gave birth! Even with a newborn by her side amid a pandemic, Coleman thrived. Now she is a certified CDA and one step closer to her goal.


Our Construction Trades Workshops open the eyes of high school students to new career paths. Some students go further and graduate from our certification programs, which will lead them to skilled careers with job security. Watch this NBC4 story to see how we help people lift themselves up.

“This laptop has given me peace of mind.”

As a senior with a low income, Victor Kolako couldn’t afford to repair or replace his old, glitching laptop. Our CARES team gave him a brand-new one.

“Some people do not have the means to get a laptop. And laptops help all of us … NOW! So UPO assisting people is good. And the laptop is expensive, but UPO offering it for free for senior citizens – I really appreciate it.”


Now she can reach her goals

Alexis Simmons is a DC native who always knew that education was her calling. When she saw a UPO CARES Act flyer about Child Development Associate (CDA) training, she leaped at the opportunity. Simmons soon completed our program and became a certified CDA.

This achievement gave her a boost of confidence and opened many doors. Now she teaches at DC Prep Public Charter School and is enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia to get her BA in Early Education. Bravo!


“I’m going forward.”

UPO opens doors of opportunity so a customer can come charging through, becoming the change agent for their life. Take Alexis Scott for example, who sought out our Food Sanitation certification program and quickly graduated with new job skills. She said, “It made me feel good about myself…I can go out there and conquer anything!”

Scott is determined to work in the food industry and is studying for her GED. She is focused! “I’m not going backwards. I’m going forward.


We are changing lives every day:

Homelessness Prevention 

630 people can breathe again because they received emergency rent and utility assistance.

Collaborations with the UPO Workforce Institute:

Cleaning and Sanitation

23 students graduated with their certification in Cleaning and Sanitation and intend to start their own businesses. 25 students are enrolled for the current class, with 50 on the waiting list for the next one.

Construction Trades Workshops

135 high school students discovered new careers thanks to our teachers (as you see in the NBC4 story above).

Workforce Development

We trained 341 people so they were ready for new jobs, we referred 318 of them to jobs, and 64 people gained new jobs.

Food Support, including Quarantine Support

  • 419 families received 7,000 bags of groceries.

  • UPO helped 335 people who had to quarantine because they were exposed to COVID. We not only gave them packages of food and household items; they also turned to us for counseling, health care, and vital UPO programs.

Personal Protective Equipment 

We are distributing masks and hand sanitizer worth $1 million to schools, nursing homes, and the Community Impact Zones where UPO has place-based strategies (in Wards 5, 6, 7 and 8).

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