News

CAPP Helps Over 200 Undocumented Families

Published 02/23/2021
When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law in March of 2020, it was impossible at that time to foresee the devastating, long-term effects the COVID-19 pandemic would have. Some Rhode Islanders lost their jobs or saw a drastic reduction in hours; schools and daycare centers closed sending parents scrambling to find alternate childcare or arranging to work from home. Many residents who fit into the income range specified in the bill received the first round of stimulus money from the federal government to help them meet any economic shortfalls the loss of work or reduction of income had caused.
 
There was no provision in the CARES Act to provide stimulus funds to undocumented Americans, who are already marginalized by their citizenship status and are disproportionally at-risk of contracting the virus due to the types of front-line or under-the-table jobs which are available to them. An estimated 14,000 to 17,000 undocumented Rhode Islanders do not qualify for any stimulus funds. In order to provide a much-needed lifeline to this vulnerable population, the Governor’s office announced the launch of the WeR1 Relief Fund in order to address the gap in aid by giving direct cash assistance. The fund was donor driven and provided gift cards in the amount of $400 to one adult member of each qualified households. The fund guidelines specifically provide this funding would go to those unable to participate in government-funded programs such as WIC, SNAP, or TANF because of their immigration status.
 
Due to our reputation in Providence County for giving aid to those most in need, CAPP is a recognized leader in supporting undocumented Providence County residents. Undocumented families are known to be self-isolated and difficult to reach due to a fear of exposure, legal repercussions and possible detention and deportation. CAPP is known for being a trustworthy organization which puts the needs of residents above all else; undocumented individuals know that if they come to us, they will receive any help we can provide. Through our efforts, 249 families were able to benefit from the WeR1 fund through the funds raised by private donors. Recognizing the extreme need, CAPP provided an additional $20,000 in aide towards the effort. CAPP was able to provide an additional $100 of critically needed support to the first 200 of those families we served.
 
Again, in December of 2020, many Americans received a second stimulus check under the federal CARES Act. But once again, undocumented Rhode Islanders were left out due to their status. CAPP was able to secure additional funding to serve 95 undocumented or blended status families. We were able to provide $200 in basic need gift cards to each of those families, bringing CAPP’s commitment to serving Providence’s undocumented and blended status community to just under $40,000 as of December 2020. CAPP joined with other nonprofits across the state to serve 5764 undocumented or blended families in benefitting from the WeR1 Rhode Island relief fund. These critical support are still needed. CAPP is proud to join the list of those supporting all Rhode Islands in their times of need.
 
More information to come about how CAPP is helping undocumented families stay warm this winter.

FREE TAX PREPARATION AT CAPP

Published 01/29/2021

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant program is an IRS initiative designed to support free tax preparation service for residents earning less than $55,000 annually.

We are excited to kick off the VITA program this coming Monday, February 1, 2021.

Unlike previous years where residents would come to CAPP and sit with one of our volunteers, due to the ongoing pandemic, tax returns will be prepared remotely. We will have designated days and times for document drop-off and intake only. Documents will then be securely sent to our remote VITA volunteer team for preparation. Once the return is done, they will reach out to clients for a quality review before final submission over the phone or Zoom depending on accessibility.

Residents can drop off their documents at 518 Hartford Avenue on Mondays 10:00am-2:30pm and Tuesdays 5:30pm-8:30pm.

For more information, please email Site Coordinator Wendy at vita@cappri.org

Now Recruiting! Free Virtual Training!

Published 12/03/2020

The Education and Job Development team is recruiting for a new Customer Service course beginning in January!

There is no cost to participate and those who complete the course will receive a certification.

Click here to register --> https://bit.ly/37kS8C2

Employee Appreciation During COVID-19

Published 12/14/2020

Ordinarily one Friday every July, the Community Action Partnership of Providence closes for the day and staff gathers at a state park in a gazebo. There’s a potluck lunch and drink provided by both the agency and employees. Staffs family is invited to attend.  There’s music and laughter and a general mood of celebrating each other’s successes. It’s an All-Staff meeting, work is discussed; ideas and plans for the future are presented but it’s a much more casual and warm atmosphere than a regular staff meeting that includes volleyball and typically ends in a water balloon fight.

But nothing about 2020 has been ordinary. 

Instead of a summer day in the park, staff members met up in September on the large wide open grounds of our Broad Street location. There are too many employees to meet indoors all at once, so everyone was instructed to wear masks, maintain a six-foot distance from each other and stand outside. Social distancing has become standard procedure but it was still difficult for co-workers to socialize while the sound of their voices was muffled by masks and soaked up by the autumn sky.

And then came the drizzle. A mist that was just annoying enough to fog up everyone’s glasses but not enough to need to adjourn the meeting for a sunnier day.

Executive Director Rilwan Feyisitan, Jr. is not a man who needs a megaphone. His voice carried to all 50 staff members as he gave praise to everyone for the way they came together to ensure the CAPP’s mission of supporting 33,000 Providence residents living at or below the poverty line continued in the face of the global COVID-19 health crisis.

“We serve residents in need, people in crisis and (COVID-19) has put extra pressure and stress on everyone. But, I’m proud of how our staff has come through and come together to support our Providence residents and families in need,” he said.

Proceeding to praise the agency’s hard-working staff in how they adjusted to the “new normal” operations and procedures, Feyisitan presented several members of staff with special commendations for going above and beyond.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Supervisor Eskalina, who started with CAPP as a volunteer and has steadily climbed the ladder, was praised for always maintaining a positive attitude and serving the LIHEAP department with distinction.

Receptionists, Grisell (Gini) and Virginia were celebrated for being the first point of contact for every individual who enter the building. On top of her regular duties, Gini (one of CAPP’s longest-serving employees) has been helping to deliver meals to members of CAPP’s senior program who are no longer able to gather for communal meals at 807 Broad Street. Virginia is known for being a perpetually helpful and cheery presence behind the reception desk and has always been willing to take on new tasks and responsibilities in her job and excels at every turn.

   

To say that the coronavirus outbreak has CAPP’s one-man maintenance staff busier than ever before would be a massive understatement. Yet, Jose rises to the occasion, keeping the main building’s doorknobs, railings and high-touch surfaces are sanitized, ensuring the dispensers of hand soap and sanitizer are full in addition to his regular duties. Jose has also been helping to deliver meals and supplemental food pantry items to isolated seniors and disabled or immunocompromised residents.

No agency program can run seamlessly without a support staff who is capable of thinking quickly and being adaptable. CAPP’s Weatherization and AMP program is no exception. State-issued guidelines and mandates have affected most programs but perhaps none as much as Weatherization. Auditors for a time were unable to enter residents’ homes to perform their work. However, virtual audits and  boiler replacements continued in emergency situations only as COVID spread. Any time a roadblock or unexpected complication has arisen, Weatherization Clerk Joy-L has come up with options and presented solutions making her an invaluable member of the CAPP team.

Congratulations Eskalina, Gini, Virginia, Jose and Joy-L!

As a way of trying to keep gatherings small, the meeting was held in two sections, the main staffers partook in the early session. They were treated to food cooked on the grill for them by CAPPs Executive Director. An Ice-cream truck was rented for them and then they were allowed to have the rest of the day off. The Management Team stayed for the latter half of the meeting. They received a highly informative briefing on the recent changes to COVID-19 era guidelines and mandates from the HR department and were able to ask questions about virus symptoms, knowing when to call out of work if they or someone at home was sick and other protection measures.

In a fleeting moment of normality, the management team was later able to engage in some socially-distanced games and pizza after the awards were presented. Intentional or not, the metaphoric symbolism of antipoverty employees playing giant Jenga during a pandemic wasn’t lost on anyone.

    

Free Masks on Hartford Avenue!

Published 09/29/2020

Thanks to our ongoing partnership with ONE Neighborhood Builders, CAPP is happy to announce that we are now a FREE MASK site to ensure our residents have access to necessary PPE during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These cloth masks are individually pre-wrapped.

The mailbox is located outside our main office on the corner of Hartford Ave and Petteys Ave and will be replenished daily while supplies last. Residents are welcome to take what they need but we do ask that they leave some masks for others.

 

Friends Helping Friends!

Published 09/25/2020

CAPP is excited to participate in a fundraiser through Boscov's department store!

Shop in-store or online on October 14th & 15th and mention the CAPP is your charity of choice! 

You save 10-20% on your purchases, CAPP receives 5% of your total purchase price!

Visit www.boscovs.com/friendshelping friends for more information!