How you can help during the COVID-19 crisis
To all Friends and Partners of RAP:
RAP is completely dedicated to serving and helping resettled refugee families overcome poverty and other barriers to self-sufficiency. In light of the continued impact of COVID-19 in our communities, the executive board of RAP is implementing a new phase in our response to families in need.
June 13, 2020 marked the end of the first phase of our response to the COVID-19 crisis in which we, along with our partners, donors and supporters, provided as many as 120 refugee families with food, supplies, and medicine for 14 weeks. Read more about how we put donations into action.
Thankfully, the need for this type of support has abated as families receive long-delayed unemployment checks or food stamps benefits. In some cases, they have been able to return to work.
However, we know that the crisis is far from over for our families.
Having lost their jobs during the height of the crisis, many of our families were not able to pay their rent for several months. This past due amount (typical rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Elizabeth is $1200/month) will come into play once the New Jersey moratorium on evictions is lifted, which will likely be in the next few months. At that time, some of our families will face the real possibility of homelessness.
It's a cruel irony that refugees who waited and suffered for years and sometimes decades to finally find a home in the the U.S. are now at risk of losing everything again due to pandemic-related economic hardship.
RAP is committed to helping refugees in our community bridge the past-due rent gap as these extremely hard-working folks return to work. They want nothing more than to be able to return to their long-sought self-sufficiency. With your support, we can help them get beyond this crisis period.
Please consider donating to our rental relief fund, Phase II of our COVID response. One-hundred percent of these funds will be used to pay the accumulated back rental fees for families that are able to pay their rent going forward but cannot cover the large past-due amount.
Some families will need help with the full amount while others will only need a portion to be covered. And some families will not need our assistance at all. Because we work directly with our families and have a deep understanding of their unique situations, we are in a position to accurately assess critical needs and intervene rapidly and appropriately.
To donate, click on the Donate link at the top of this page and indicate COVID Rental Assistance to direct your donation. Any amount you can afford will make a difference – consider a percentage of your own rent or mortgage payment as a particularly meaningful way of honoring these brave families.
Updates will be emailed and posted on Facebook. Please continue to follow and support RAP’s important work. We have come so far in this pandemic to protect our vulnerable new neighbors – we must continue to demonstrate that they have not been forgotten or left behind. Through our collective efforts, we can continue to make a huge positive impact on the lives of these families!
We Choose Welcome!
In preventing an eviction notice to be filed against a family, we are preventing an entire cascade of problems, not just protecting their housing but protecting their entire livelihood. Once a family loses their permanent address, they lose:
the ability to apply for green cards
the ability to apply for a job
the ability to get, renew or replace a state ID or drivers' license
the ability to apply for a bank account, credit card, loan or other financial service
the ability to get a P. O. Box (a back-up street address is required to apply)
the continuation of welfare benefits (ironically, having an address is a basic requirement in order to receive SNAP, cash assistance, Medicaid and other public benefits).
the ability to communicate with the children's schools
the continuation of formal child care
the ability to receive postal mail, including receiving notices from essential agencies regarding eligibility status and appointments.
Because of these limitations, having housing in the form of a permanent address is actually more critical than food to be able to survive. Once an address is lost, so may be the job, child care, education, and ultimately food and shelter.
Please donate today
Help us Avoid Evictions and Prevent Homelessness