The physical health and safety of our staff, our clients, and our communities is the International Rescue Committee’s top priority in Los Angeles. As of March 12th, our physical IRC-LA office has closed in accordance with public health guidelines, and staff are working from home until further notice. Despite this, staff are continuing to provide critical services remotely to newly arrived refugees, unaccompanied minors, asylees and immigrants here in LA—and you can help!
- Resettlement and Unaccompanied Children: Caseworkers are providing virtual home visits, informing clients on the importance of social distancing and staying home, and best hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the virus, in addition to usual services.
- Citizenship and Financial Coaching: Our teachers are in the process of moving citizenship classes to virtual platforms, so students may continue studying for their exams without missing a beat. Our financial coaches are continuing to provide financial coaching sessions via telephone, which is especially important as clients may have heightened fears and loss of income due to COVID-19. Coaches are prepared with financial resources to help them cope with the economic impacts of the pandemic.
- Census Outreach: With the census fast approaching, our census team is hard at work continuing outreach to the immigrant and refugee community in Los Angeles via telephone. They are ensuring that IRC clients receive critical census information, and that everyone is counted for the 2020 Census.
- Immigration: Although USCIS in-person appointments are temporarily suspended, our immigration staff are continuing to monitor cases and deadlines to ensure that all of our citizenship, green card, and family reunification applications are safely in the pipeline.
How you can help:
Many refugees will be vulnerable to the economic consequences of this virus—newly-arrived refugees will be subject to hiring freezes, and many newly employed refugees work in the restaurant or hospitality industries, where they will likely see a reduction of hours. If you would like to support our emergency fund for refugees during these uncertain times, you can make a donation here.
If you would like to volunteer or are in need of services, please reach out to Carly Boos, Community Relations Coordinator, at carly.boos [at] rescue.org. If you have any questions about our response, please contact Martin Zogg, IRC-LA Executive Director, at martin.zogg [at] rescue.org.