In early April, Working Partnerships (WPUSA) launched COVID-19 Assistance Navigation (CAN) to support Santa Clara County residents through the COVID-19 crisis. An extension of WPUSA’s Fair Workplace Collaborative— a group of community organizations, legal advocates, nonprofits, and small business leaders that provides education and outreach to workers and small businesses— CAN assists residents in navigating challenges with rent, food and unemployment during the pandemic. Using grant funding received through SVCF’s Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund, WPUSA was able to hire 30 additional “staff navigators” for its CAN program and scale up support for the community.
WPUSA helps an undocumented couple navigate the system
Shelter-in-place orders and the mandated quarantine have made it difficult for many to access public assistance programs in person. Many immigrants, in particular, tend to feel more comfortable seeking trusted information through face-to-face interactions. One such undocumented couple was becoming desperate for assistance of any kind. The husband had been out of work for two months and was afraid of applying for unemployment insurance due to his citizenship status. Despite the fear of deportation, the couple reached out to Working Partnerships for help.
A CAN staff navigator eased the couple’s concerns about their citizenship status and helped them apply for both unemployment insurance and CalFresh, a food assistance program. The staff navigator attempted to follow up with the couple over the next 10 days. When he finally reached them to confirm they had received their benefits, the couple was stunned that CAN was able to help.
"They were shocked the navigator had followed up and were thankful for the persistence,” recalled Maria Noel, Deputy Executive Director of WPUSA. With assistance offered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Cantonese, WPUSA is able to reach many immigrant families similar to this couple who have fears about seeking assistance.
As of May 29, WPUSA has provided support to more than 4,000 people in Santa Clara County. Grant funding from SVCF helps WPUSA continue its mission to create an inclusive regional economy where workers and low-income communities of color thrive.
SVCF’s Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund provides flexible operating support grants to help nonprofit organizations such as WPUSA adapt to the increased need caused by COVID-19. To view the total amount of grants SVCF has distributed through its COVID-19 response funds, click here.
Check out the list of nonprofit organizations that have received grants from our Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund. The list is being updated regularly.
In the coming weeks, we will feature more stories of local heroes—donors, nonprofits, businesses—to highlight the power of our community coming together and helping lift each other out of this crisis.
To learn more about our COVID-19 response funds and to donate, click here.
*Images courtesy of WPUSA were photographed prior to the pandemic and physical distancing guidelines.