SELA Collaborative Partners with Local Nonprofits to Disburse $1.6 Million in Grant Funding to Assist Undocumented Community Impacted by COVID-19
Local nonprofit partners Alliance for a Better Community, Hub Cities Consortium and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice assist over 700 families with funds from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees
CIRF provides cash assistance—through nearly 60 local partner organizations—to undocumented Californians experiencing extreme hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund was set up by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) as part of a public-private partnership with the State of California. The separate state-financed immigrant relief fund, the first of its kind in the nation, distributed $75 million to 150,000 families.
"The SELA Collaborative has provided a lifeline to community members in the Southeast Los Angeles region at this critical time," said Aryah Somers Landsberger, Vice President of Program at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. "This region is often overlooked and under resourced by the philanthropic community. CIRF is honored to elevate the incredible leadership of the SELA Collaborative in strengthening its community, building collective power, and advocating for systemic change."
According to a recent report by Pat Brown Institute, SELA Collaborative, and Latino Decisions funded by the California Community Foundation, the COVID-19 pandemic has execerbated challenges that have existed in Southeast LA for decades. Substantial job loss, difficulty paying rent or mortgage, limited cash reserves, a fraying and unreliable social safety net and inadequate public health resources are among the obstacle's residents face during this crisis.
"All the [GCIR] funds went directly to families most impacted by this [COVID-19] pandemic," said Dr. Wilma Franco, Executive Director at SELA Collaborative. "We are proud of all the SELA partners that came together to work collectively in identifying families in the SELA Region. So many individuals have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay rent, bills, access healthcare and buy food while trying to also help their students succeed in school. The need is immense, and these dollars drive significant impact."
With the grant funds, SELA Collaborative partner Hub Cities was able to support over 600 families in Southeast LA in a period of 1 and a half months with rental, utilities and grocery assistance, with the majority of the families requested rental assistance. Many of them were 2-3 months behind on their rent. Hub Cities partnered with other SELA organizations and eight (8) municipalities in SELA to identify participants qualified for emergency cash assistance.
"We are very grateful for the opportunity to support the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Region residents with much needed financial support during the current pandemic," said Joe Martinez, the Executive Director of Hub Cities. "Through this grant, Hub Cities was able to provide crucial financial support to over 600 families with rental, utilities, healthcare and grocery assistance."
One of the participants Hub Cities assisted lost his job of five (5) years when the pandemic hit in March 2020. He was his family's primary source of income and his wife faced deportation. Unfortunately, due to the loss of employment the participant was not able to focus on his wife's deportation but rather try to pay rent, bills and provide food. He was two (2) months behind on his rent after having spent all of his savings on food and rent and was in need of financial assistance. With CIRF cash assistance, Hub Cities' Participant was able to pay one month's rent and bills. The Participant stated that the program was a blessing and he was very grateful for the financial assistance. Participant is now able to focus on managing his wife's deportation process.
Through CIRF funding, SELA Collaborative member ABC connected with 10 partner organizations to support 188 families primarily Southeast Los Angeles region. Fellow SELA Collaborative member EYCEJ was ABC's main partner during this process and was able to identify and disburse funding to 91 families.
"This form of support [ABC and EYCEJ] have provided will help alleviate the stress and anxiety my family has been going through for the past few months," said a parent from Huntington Park who was one of the fund recipients. "Thank you for always making us feel safe and always thinking about us - who need the support the most."
Dr. Wilma Franco expressed "how honored [the SELA Collaborative]
The funds were distributed through a collective effort between ABC, Hub Cities and EYCEJ and in partnership with the SELA Collaborative and a network of SELA Leaders. The SELA Collaborative helped secure and coordinate the funds and facilitate a collaborative effort amongst partners.
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Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative was founded in 2011 as a network of organizations that wanted to work together to strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector and increase civic engagement in Southeast LA. Through its 12 member partners SELA Collaborative works to strengthen the SELA community, build collective power, and encourage innovation to drive regional systemic change. For more information please visit www.SELACollab.org