For Immediate Release
Funding will support 17 community-based organizations that provide critical services to residents experiencing hunger, loss of income, and housing issues
OAKLAND, CA – July 27, 2021- As cases of the Covid-19 delta variant continue to rise in California, the Resilient Fruitvale Collaborative continues to advocate for funding to provide needed safety-net services for low-income families and people of color. These populations have been the most devastated by the health and economic effects of the pandemic. The Collaborative, which has been serving hard-hit neighborhoods in the East Bay since March 2020, submitted a $40 million budget request to Alameda County to support its community-led Covid-19 response and recovery plan. Together, Resilient Fruitvale organizations have been on the frontlines and have served over 500,000 local residents since the beginning of the pandemic.
When Covid-19 hit in 2020, Resilient Fruitvale Collaborative took immediate action to address the shifting needs in the community and continues to engage in a long-term, collective-impact approach that will better serve our residents. The dedication of the organizations involved has enabled strong partnerships, enhanced services, and generated new programming opportunities for the community. The Collaborative’s $40 million budget request included support for the following:
- Continuing first responder efforts towards (a) food insecurity, (b) health and wellness services, (c) emergency economic relief/development, and (d) outreach and education.
- Covering unfunded costs associated with the Collaborative’s significant contributions to preserve public health for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), low-income residents, essential workers and immigrant communities.
- Funding for equitable economic and health recovery for our communities.
The member organizations of the Resilient Fruitvale Collaborative have already provided a wide array of services that are unfunded by Alameda County. Those include:
- Rent relief grants and financial support
- PPP grant and loan application assistance for small businesses
- Community learning hubs for children without Internet access (temporarily funded by OUSD)
- Eviction defense and housing clinics
Collaborative programs that are funded well below demand by Alameda County include:
- Food distribution to children, seniors and people infected with Covid-19
- Assistance with job searches and unemployment applications
- Mental health services
- Homeless and reentry support
Services partially funded by month-to-month contracts with Alameda County (exclusive to health clinics) include:
- Covid testing
- Vaccine distribution
- Contact tracing
- Covid and vaccine education and outreach (Note: the Unity Council’s efforts are funded by philanthropy and UCSF)
Services have been concentrated in areas where residents face disproportionate hardship due to historical and systemic racism and inequality. Over half of these families have incomes of less than $50,000 per year. Fewer than 35% of residents report that they have savings accounts, 43% of these households have families with children, and 20% of families receive food stamps. (Data: California Demographics and Census).
Because these families are acutely vulnerable, even a short-term disruption in income can lead to housing displacement, malnutrition, and additional mental health trauma for children already living in challenging environments. Covid-19 has accentuated these inequities, deepening a divide that already existed.
The data confirms that there is a need for immediate action in the critical areas served by Resilient Fruitvale organizations, which include the three zip codes most affected by the pandemic: 94601, 94603, and 94621 (current statistics are available at the official California state website, California All).
Resilient Fruitvale Collaborative Members emphasize the following:
“Every organization that is part of the Resilient Fruitvale Collaborative has been on the frontlines supporting the communities most impacted by the pandemic. We responded the day after the first shelter-in-place order and we have never left our post. We’re supporting the essential workers from East Oakland who enabled “knowledge economy workers” to work from the comfort of their homes. We will not leave our essential brothers and sisters behind who are still experiencing the crippling impact of the pandemic. For eight months, we have been advocating for funding to support our collective impact and we continue to do the work without a commitment in funding. The time to act is now,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO of The Unity Council.
“We, including small and big organizations, continue to distribute more than 200,000 meal equivalents per week to Fruitvale/East Oakland families, both housed and unhoused. The meals and groceries are shared in the spirit of mutual aid. Though everyone might not be starving or unsure about their next meal, the tyranny of hunger is being relieved, especially among children and seniors. The food relief allows families to save their resources for other household essentials such as education, healthcare, transportation, and childcare,” said Andrew Park, Executive Director of Trybe.
“Covid-19 hit Latino, indigenous, and Black communities the hardest due to inequities and lack of adequate resources that existed prior to the pandemic in Fruitvale and East Oakland neighborhoods. During this phase, we must ensure that our community partnership can employ the most equitable, comprehensive, and innovative strategies to provide access to information and education about the vaccine to our communities so they are able to make informed choices. We want to eliminate barriers to access to vaccines so we can continue to save the lives of those most affected. We are all essential human beings,” said Gabriela Galicia, Executive Director of Street Level Health Project.
“Throughout the pandemic, immigrants in Alameda County — and across the country — continued to perform in jobs that are essential to the functioning of our communities at great personal risk to themselves and their families. We have a responsibility to provide resources so they can access needed legal services and opportunities for protection and economic security, including immigration legal services. For immigrant communities, the ability to apply for and obtain work authorization is critical to improving economic opportunities. This helps them exit the informal economy and move onto better-paying jobs and towards greater financial stability,” said Maciel Jacques, Managing Director of Centro Legal de la Raza’s Immigrants’ Rights Practice.
“We thank the county government for its continued partnership. By the same token, we ask that it consider our ask through an equity lens and invest in Resilient Fruitvale as we continue to support the safety net in Oakland and the greater Alameda County,” said Aaron Ortiz, CEO of La Familia.
For more information about the Resilient Fruitvale Collaborative, please visit the organization’s website at: https://unitycouncil.org/who-we-are/resilient-fruitvale/
- Itzel Diaz-Romo, The Unity Council, (510) 302-7646 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Victoria Sanchez De Alba, De Alba Communications (for The Unity Council), (650) 270-7810 / email@example.com