United Way Ottawa hopes to raise $21 million by March 31 to advance specific community priorities, the agency announced Thursday morning.

Last year, people donated $16.8 million for United Way's community’s priority goals, and $30.6 million in total for charity.

This year, its priority goals include helping children start school ready to learn, helping seniors remain in their homes and helping homeless people get off the streets permanently, according to a media release.

The agency's three focus areas continue to be: Growing Up Great, Belonging to Community and Turning Lives Around.

United Way said it's focusing on tracking donor dollars to show people how their contributions actually work.

The media release also assured people they can continue to give through United Way to more than 80,000 other registered Canadian charities.