From Friday, March 13 and until further notice, the IRC’s offices in Tallahassee and Miami are closed and our staff is working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are adapting and continuing to serve our clients during this difficult time.
The IRC’s offices in Tallahassee and Miami continue to serve clients—refugees, survivors of human trafficking and unaccompanied children and their families—while the physical offices are closed and are closely following guidance from public health experts.
The IRC in Tallahassee: Refugee Services
Weekly Welfare Check-Ins
Our case management team is reaching out to all clients weekly via video chat to assess and address any needs and ensure all refugee families are updated with the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also identifying community resources and sharing with our clients weekly.
We have provided virtual training for our clients on completing the Census and reviewed a new IRC Health Curriculum in Swahili, designed to help our clients better understand the healthcare system. Topics will change on a weekly basis.
Thanks to a generous donation, we were able to provide all families with laptops. Our team are training clients virtually on how to use their laptops and navigate the web, including paying rent online.
Employment Search & Placement
Many of our clients have lost their jobs in the past few weeks due to the impact of COVID-19. Our case management team has been assisting clients who are eligible to file for unemployment and helping families apply for emergency rent and utility assistance offered by the city.
With support from our dedicated team of interns from FSU, FAMU and TCC we are seeking job placements, assisting with job applications, updating resumes and conducting weekly follow-ups with employers. When the opportunity for a job placement comes, clients will be supported through the entire process.
The IRC in Miami: Anti-Trafficking Program & Unaccompanied Children Program
Open to Referrals
Both our Anti-Trafficking program and Unaccompanied Children (UC) program are still receiving referrals during this time. We are providing client intakes and follow-ups via telephone or virtually using platforms such as WhatsApp, Facetime and Zoom.
All case management is being done remotely. Caseworkers are checking in with clients regularly to assess for food and housing instability. The team have also assessed safety, health and supervision plans with each client and provided information regarding free resources available in the community. Clients have received information on COVID-19 in their primary language.
For survivors of human trafficking, the IRC in Miami has been distributing emergency grocery and personal item bags, with thorough safety precautions in place. New assessment tools have been created to ensure our caseworkers can meet the emerging needs of UC clients and their families during this time.
Adapting to Virtual
Caseworkers are developing innovative ideas to continue serving clients remotely, including a private Facebook Group for our youth clients to provide information and social support.
Our Anti-Trafficking team are attending virtual trainings specifically around providing services to clients remotely.
Look out for more updates soon directly from IRC team members who continue to serve our new American neighbors during this pandemic.
What gives us hope is the incredible acts of kindness and welcome that take place in our communities every day. Thank you for the generous response to our COVID-19 Crisis Prevention Fund so far, you have raised more than $1,100 and donations continue to come in from generous community members. Refugee families, survivors of human trafficking and other vulnerable populations that we serve will be disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19 on our community in the coming weeks. You can help IRC ensure our clients have the resources and services they need to get through this trying time by donating here.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Florida and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.
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