project leader
Alpha D
location
1158 Intervale Ave
(New York City)
latest update rss
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the project

When the coronavirus hit, New York City became the epicenter of the virus, and the Bronx had the highest rate of infections in the City, we immediately began to receive calls for assistance. We were able to rapidly and effectively respond to the pandemic because we had already built an infrastructure to bring critical services to our constituents. Within a couple of weeks, in April, the Pan-African CDI launched our Employment Disruption Program in response to the Covid-19 public health and economic crisis. Relief benefits failed to reach some of the neediest populations. In addition to the language barrier, many members are digitally challenged and/or illiterate: so that even forwarding a text message or taking photos of letters and documents is a challenge.

The Employment Disruption Program assists community members whose livelihoods have been hurt by the corona virus to apply for unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) benefits. We guide people through the entire process from creating emails and pins, to completing the applications and the weekly recertifications. We meet them where they are, with volunteers who speak English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Fulani (Puular), Krio, Moore, Dioula and Bambara. Moreover, we advocate for those who are unaware of or afraid to apply for City, State and Federal relief.

the steps

We spent over 100 hours per week and assisted 150 people to complete their unemployment insurance applications which will result in payments totaling over $225,000 per month and have held countless zoom and phone calls to guide other people through the application process.

We trained five volunteers, including two legal interns from Roger Williams University School of  Law,  to assist with the urgent demand for subsequent appeals  to the Department of Labor (“DOL”) for lack of payments, for reconsideration and to prepare and submit Small Business Administration (“SBA”) loan applications for small business owners and self-employed workers, such as taxi drivers and hairdressers. We also assisted cab-drivers in applying for Payment Protection Plan (“PPP”) benefits. All of the SBA and PPP applications were approved. Moreover, we made and received countless calls for advice and support, including from other states.

We referred legally complicated cases to our partner Legal Aid. These cases included wage theft and people losing benefits simply because they received letters from the Department of Labor (“DOL”) after the deadlines to submit paperwork. An effective client assistance program required that we kept building our knowledge, kept current with changes, and provided clients with continuity over a process that took days to complete: All this in voluntary capacity.

why we're doing it

This pandemic has lifted the veil of the institutional and socio-economic inequities in our society, and the fragile underlying conditions of working-class communities of color. Recent data suggests that 1 in 5 Bronx residents are unemployed, the highest unemployment rate of any county in NY State, which has led to a looming housing crisis and food insecurity.  A survey by Public Health Solutions showed that 1 in 5 of respondents had applied for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) 1 in 10 had visited a food pantry or soup kitchen. Also 1 in 3 residents are on Medicaid.

COVID-19 had a disproportionate impact on many of the City’s immigrant residents because they are the most exposed and without access to preventative healthcare, paid sick leave, affordable housing—made worse by an inability to access many federal programs intended to help. These are the marginalized communities that Pan-African CDI serves.

In this most unusual time, we are reminded of the fragility and resiliency of our communities as they set up food pantries, family support and burial funds. We are also reminded of the power of organizing and the need to build organizations.

budget

Our current fundraising goal includes:

Program Costs: Document translations, interpretations, Trainings = $10,000

Supplies: Computers, Printers, phone, Internet, Software = $5,000

Outreach: media and online adverts = $4,475

 



PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED = $24,475
ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
$525
TOTAL TO RAISE = $25,000

Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.

 

If we exceed this goal, we are also hoping to fund the following: 

Space Usage: Workshops = $5,000

Staff: Program Dir/Coordinators/Interns stipends = $20,000

updates

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photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

  • Rafatu S.
  • Kris W.
  • Alpha D.