Casa San José is a nonprofit organization located in the Beechview neighborhood. It serves Latino immigrants throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County. To date, the organization has worked with approximately 1,000 and it continues to grow.
Since 2013, Casa San José has been focused on the Latino community’s integration and self-sufficiency, but now that includes survival as well. The main needs they have been filling during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine are food, housing, education for children, Spanish-language resources about the pandemic and their legal rights, connections to Spanish-speaking health professionals and clinics, and securing bond funds to release detainees enduring long waits for immigration trials in unsafe and infected prisons.
Since the local quarantine began in March, Casa San José has been on the ground, assisting families and distributing resources. While continuing to support its ongoing mission of engaging fully with the community to educate and advocate for the rights of immigrants, the center has:
- Distributed cash subsidies to families who have lost their jobs and cannot receive federal assistance. Through very generous donors and foundations, they have supported 322 families, and hope to increase that number to 500.
- Collected, received and delivered thousands of restaurant meals and boxes filled with produce, groceries and necessary daily supplies.
- Helped hundreds of families apply for rental assistance and housing subsidies.
- Worked with hundreds of school-age children at home to help them get classroom packets, internet access, online tutors and school lunches.
- Continuously posted reliable and accurate Spanish language bulletins, tips, notices and webinars on social media and online covering the coronavirus and other survival needs.
- Partnered with UPMC to host a Facebook Live information session on COVID-19, in Spanish, which reached nearly 3,000 viewers.
- Brought resource agencies to the center’s food distribution site, to explain about COVID-19, rental assistance, immigrants’ rights and the U.S. Census.
- Connected families to volunteer attorneys for free legal clinics and to help with DACA renewals, work permits, court accompaniments, ICE check-ins and documents. This action has resulted in the release of four immigrants from ICE detention, through the Fondo Solidario de Pittsburgh bond fund.
- Responded at any time of day or night to telephone requests for information and emergency assistance.
- Worked with dozens of donors, volunteers, community members and partner organizations, including 412 Food Rescue, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food bank and Dr. Mark Baratz’s Double Play Initiative.
- Launced a free virtual summer camp in June.