As COVID-19 spreads in our communities, our hearts go out to everyone who is impacted by this situation. The Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) through its humanitarian and social services program MAPS-MCRC (Muslim Community Resource Center) is mobilizing additional resources to support those facing hardships in these unprecedented times.
We especially can reach vulnerable populations given our established decade-long service in the wider community, cultural sensitivity and language support, access to many populations not otherwise reached through other organizations, and partnerships with many organizations.
We are already seeing increased call volumes from individuals and families – especially those working in hourly jobs – who have been impacted by the shutdown caused by the virus. These individuals and families are looking for emergency rental and utility assistance that will allow them to remain in their homes and pay for utilities.
Many of the requests for assistance that we have received in the last two weeks come from immigrants and refugees, including recent arrivals. Some of them have lost their income from the gig economy (like Uber/Lyft drivers) and are unable to support their children or families. The immigrants/refugees who reach out to us often do not have the proper information about what is happening with COVID-19 in a language they can understand, and do not know where to go for assistance from other sources. Our services support all, regardless of language ability, national origin or documentation status.
MCRC usually does not provide direct financial assistance. Instead, it connects those needing emergency financial assistance with organizations in our community that are set up to provide such assistance.
Each of the mosques in our community have a Zakat/Sadaqqa fund set aside to help in such cases. In addition there are sister organizations such as MAPS-Al Sadaqa who can provide such assistance.
MCRC can facilitate connections with these organizations and help those seeking such assistance to comply with paperwork or documentation requirements of such organizations.
It is only only dire circumstances – when families are facing eviction or utility shut off – when all other resources are unable to help, that MCRC as a resource of last resort – steps in to help pay the rent and utilities for families needing assistance