Bilingual International Assistant Services will be distributing $700,000 of federal CARES Act funding in partnership with the City of St. Louis. Eligible applicants will be residents of St. Louis City who are facing difficulty paying or staying current with rent or mortgage payments due to economic hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance will go directly to the landlord or mortgage company, and multilingual case workers will be working with these parties to ensure that city residents can stay in their houses and apartments. Case management may also be provided to assist with longer term housing solutions for residents with reduced income. Our partners at the St. Louis Area on Aging will be monitoring the program for the City.
At Bilingual International Assistant Services, we have spent the better part of the last four months adapting and expanding our programming to meet the emergency needs of the communities we serve. By working with the COVID-19 Regional Response Team, the United Way 2-1-1, the St. Louis Community Foundation, and the Homebound Initiative, Bilingual International provided daily deliveries of food, cleaning supplies, and PPE to foreign-born older adults and other homebound individuals in St. Louis City and County. “That was our immediate response to needs in the community: checking in on homebound and higher-risk people and dropping food, supplies, and care packages at front doors” explained Jason Baker, Executive Director. “Working to now keep some of these same community members in their homes feels like a logical and vital extension of this emergency programming.” While the program is open to all eligible residents, initial efforts will focus on immigrant/refugee families and older adults. Bilingual International will provide professional interpretation services to all participants free of charge.