Editor’s note: This story was corrected on September 25, 2022 about funding sources for the new initiative.
Hayyan – The arrival of 48 Venezuelan immigrants, most of them from Venezuela, to Martha’s Vineyard has sparked concern Housing Assistance CorporationIts latest initiative emphasizes that it can remain true to its core mission but can help other people in crises, according to agency leaders.
CEO, Alyssa Magnotta, said the Humanitarian Response Fund and the Volunteer Coordination Initiative will serve the displaced whether it is due to migration, domestic violence or displacement.
While the agency’s primary mission is the Cape Cod housing crisis, the Flexible Emergency Relief Fund aims to help bypass red tape to help people. State and federal programs are not designed to meet unforeseen emergencies, according to the organization, leaving the need for a flexible emergency relief fund.
“It’s sad that our employees say ‘no’ when people ask for help,” Magnotta said during a phone interview on Thursday. “That’s what we’re doing is trying to put resources together so they can say ‘yes’.”
more:New housing subsidy supports child care workers, those who work with people with disabilities
The fund is similar to previous efforts
This effort reflects how housing assistance has responded to local residents’ loss of jobs and income during the pandemic with the launch of the Workforce Relief Fund. Between this initiative and other state and local funds, HAC said in a press release that it has settled 1,764 residents and injected nearly $10 million into the local economy.
more: Immigrants living in Joint Base Cape Cod decide where to go from here
Magnotta said the fund will financially support donors and foundations.
“We know we have the ability to help the locals and help the people who want to come here,” Magnotta said. “We just have to have the courage and discipline to make these important investments.”
The catalyst was the immigrants on Martha’s Vineyard
Forty-eight immigrants, mostly from Venezuela, came to Martha’s Vineyard without warning on September 15 on two Texas-chartered planes pushed by the state of Florida. Their arrival was coordinated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. His representative said the immigrants were moved to Martha’s Vineyard as part of “the governor’s promise to disembark illegal immigrants in progressive nations.”
Magnotta said the news helped complete the idea.
“We’ve been thinking about it, but that was definitely the catalyst that got us across the finish line where you have a group of people who don’t have anything and need the resources,” Magnotta said.
Some immigrants are temporarily housed in the Cape Cod Joint Base, where they decide what to do next. Some have since moved to other parts of the country to connect with friends or family.
The nonprofit Hyannis is among the local organizations and agencies on the base that provide assistance to immigrants, along with Brockton’s Father Bell & Main Spring, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
Magnotta said more will be learned about the migrants’ immediate needs as work continues.
earlier: ‘I simply feel misled:’ immigrants speak by air to Martha’s Vineyard; DeSantis pledges to continue relocating immigrants
more:Can Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Prepare for More Migrants? This is what the officials say
“They may need a bus ticket, they may need help with the rental, or they may have the information they need,” Magnotta said. “So we will be working very closely with the other agencies on site and the other resources available to try to bridge that gap.”
The nonprofit also lent a hand to New Orleans residents who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and who were temporarily housed at the then military base, and Afghan and Haitian refugees.
How can you help
Donations can be made to the fund by visiting https://haconcapecod.org/humanitarian.
Prospective volunteers can email Volunteer@haconcapecod.org, especially native Spanish speakers and those who would like to direct immigrants to appointments within or outside of Cape Cod, including Boston.
According to the HAC website, donors interested in learning more about the fund should contact Anne B. Van Vleck, Chief Development Officer, at email@example.com or by calling 508-771-5400, ext. 228- Those interested in contributing in-kind gifts should contact Lin Grace Rohr, Director of Community Engagement and Donor Supervision, at Volunteer@haconcapecod.org.
“Really, what we do is respond to what we see in the community,” Magnotta said.
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