As some Sonoma County residents learned that their children would likely not return to school this year and others faced layoffs, local organizations have stepped up to help, much like they did during the wildfires in 2017 and 2019.
“We are pretty versed in dealing with things like this,” said Kathy Kane, Assistant Director of Programs at Community Action Partnership. “As a result of COVID-19, we got a grant from the Community Foundation of Sonoma County to provide immediate assistance to community members.”
Community Action Partnership previously had a a disaster relief fund and rent and deposit assistance programs in place but recently received additional support for residents affected by the pandemic. “We are trying to maximize all of our funding sources to help people,” she said.
Kane also shared that they have seen an increase in help with rental assistance, childcare and food resources. There are eligibility requirements for their services, and, “we are focusing on more of our vulnerable communities, people who are lower-income, undocumented, self-employed and who aren’t able to access disability or other services,” she said. For more information, call their main office at 707-544-6911, resource center at 707-535-3349 or visit their website at www.capsonoma.org.
Undocumented residents may feel an additional sense of stress because they often are not eligible for aid, but UndocuFund is offering assistance to Sonoma County’s undocumented community. “We have already begun helping,” said fund coordinator Omar Medina. “We’ve assisted some day laborers and restaurant workers.”
Many residents were not anticipating the loss of income. “People were living paycheck to paycheck or day to day,” he said. “They went from income to no income, just like that.”
Resources for the fund are limited at the moment, but they are doing their best to help everyone, Medina said. Assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis and is being screened based on need. Eligible applicants must be undocumented and live in Sonoma County. To donate to the fund, or for more information on assistance, visit undocufund.org.
La Luz Center in Sonoma currently is not helping residents with financial assistance but is helping navigate people to support. “At the moment, we are helping our clients with connecting with places that they can go to in need of food and other resources,” said community outreach coordinator Yatziry Galvan.
Most of the calls they have gotten are seeking information about unemployment. “We are also helping people connect with rental assistance through Friends in Sonoma,” Galvan said.
La Luz Center currently is in the process of evaluating their emergency funds and creating a plan. Galvan said that the organization also is posting daily videos in Spanish on their Facebook teaching the community about the coronavirus, how to stay safe and updating them on how the county is responding.
“If we don’t have the answer, we will take your information down and call you back when we have those answers,” Galvan said. “We want to help the community as much as we can.”
For more information about assistance, call 707-938-5131 or visit laluzcenter.org.Click here for reuse options!
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