Dear IFR Familia,
We are extremely grateful for your support and partnership during the most challenging year in Instituto’s history. The COVID-19 health pandemic and economic crisis impacted us in many ways, including an increased demand for services, lost revenue due to closures and program and event cancelations, and virtual program modifications, as well as other challenges. Despite all the loss and challenges we experienced, your support in 2020 allowed us to continue serving the most vulnerable Latinx and multicultural children, youth and families - thank you!
In the enclosed Our Resilience Fund report, you will see data and read stories of the tireless work of our dedicated staff to provide compassionate care, keep our families safe and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. You will also see how our work continues to reflect IFR’s pilares, our organizational philosophy. If you’d like more information on anything contained in this report, do not hesitate to contact Noris Chavarría, Development Director at [email protected].
Thank you for answering our call for help. We are truly in this together.
For over 42 years, Instituto Familiar de la Raza has promoted and enhanced the health and wellness of the Chicano/Latino/ Indígena community in San Francisco. During COVID-19, when our community is most at risk, this has been no different.
With your support, IFR responded.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latinos in San Francisco comprised a mere 14% of the population, yet were overrepresented and accounted for the highest rate of new COVID-19 infections (25%) and hospitalizations (51%). Although COVID-19 is a global health pandemic, its economic impact on the Chicano/Latinx community has contributed to the increase of new infections. Nine out of ten Latinos hospitalized as a result of a COVID-19 infection were monolingual Spanish speakers. While COVID-19 does not exclusively target Latinx, its disparate impact highlights the many inequalities facing the Latinx community. This disparity was not limited to San Francisco, but extended across all the United States. In many cases, Latinx only became aware of their infection when it was too late and were hospitalized.
In addition to medical emergencies, Latinx who work in the service and other industries experienced job loss and were ineligible for unemployment benefits due to their undocumented status. This resulted in little or no ability to secure food for their families, pay rent and utility bills; and while schools closed, our children and youth did not receive adequate education because they were not adequately prepared for distance learning, lacked home computers and/or reliable connectivity.
Meeting the Basic and Emergent Needs of the Community
With your support, Instituto Familiar de la Raza helped meet the basic and emergent needs of over 6,000 Latinx and multicultural individuals in San Francisco.
As part of San Francisco’s public health network, IFR continued to provide essential services throughout the pandemic. Our Care Managers connected families with food pantries, childcare, and other safety-net services. IFR Clinicians provided telehealth services so that our most vulnerable clients received critical social and emotional support. Our Program Specialists provided virtual support groups and other gatherings so that individuals remain connected and engaged in positive activities. Because we all experienced the disruptive impact of coronavirus on our day-to-day lives, we knew it was more important than ever to provide compassionate connections to our community. Tú eres mi otro yo.
From March 2020 to December 2020, Instituto provided $173,000+ in emergency cash assistance to community members experiencing extreme financial hardship. Below is the breakdown of the needs met with this support.
Please note that due to a high number of requests and limited funds, IFR was unable to support rent during the months of November and December. We anticipate receiving the same number of requests for support in 2021.
Casa Corazon families receive basic personal hygienic and household cleaning items, culturally-relevant food boxes, and personal protection equipment supplies to meet their daily basic needs. Food insecurity continues being a huge stressor for families.
In collaboration with Excelsior Works, Casa Corazón is able to complement food boxes for 300 families by adding fresh vegetables, rice, beans, flour, oil, tomato sauce and other staples to the food boxes.
As for other essential items, Casa Corazon is providing families with diapers, baby wipes, laundry detergent, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dish soap, sponges, bar soap, shampoo and other hygiene supplies. Personal protection equipment such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer were also provided in these boxes.
In addition to these supports, Casa Corazon care managers are actively supporting parents and community members access and navigate unemployment benefits when applicable, Cal-Fresh, medical and other supportive services for undocumented workers. Families continue to struggle to pay their rent and utility bills as they have lost their jobs and/or are barely working. For individuals and families that find themselves with more hardships IFR provides additional food gift cards and assistance with utility bills via IFR’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
Casa Corazón has been successful in adapting programming with a virtual eight-week parenting group with 16 active participants. Our Pequest on Facebook LIVE has been a success and continues to grow as more and more people have joined us on Friday mornings at 10am. Peques, a Friday morning workshop for parents of children 0-5 has been such a successful activity that it has reached families outside of the U.S. Families from Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala have been known to watch our Pequest on Facebook LIVE.
Lastly, Casa Corazón through its collaborations in the Mission Family Resource Center and the Chicano/Latino Family Resource system, and in partnership with the City and County of San Francisco and Bay Area Community Resources, Casa Corazon identified 100 Latinx families facing the greatest need to receive support. As a result of an effort led by SF Board President Shamann Walton, 100 families received $1,000, totaling $100,000 in direct financial assistance.
Sí a la Vida - HIV Integrated Services
Sí a la Vida program was an IFR’s early response to the HIV epidemic in the middle 80’s and since then the program has grown in size as well as in adapting to the emerging needs of the Latinx LGBTQ community. SLV team possesses vast experience and skills to reach out to the hard-to-reach segments of the Latino community.
Between March and April of 2020, the team distributed 250+ meals to day laborers in different areas of the Mission District. Additionally, SLV distributed 160+ grocery bags to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Following health measures staff informed clients via text message that their food bags would be left at their front door. Delivering food bags at their doorstep was our way of reminding clients that though they are isolated, they were not alone. All clients expressed being greatly appreciative.
Sí a la Vida also got creative when the traditional end of the year celebrations approached. Instead of hosting Thanksgiving dinner 40 to-go meals were prepared and delivered to clients. For Christmas, 120 clients received store gift cards and of those sixty of them are clients living with HIV; 20 additional clients received cash gift cards as emergency support.
Indígena Health and Wellness Collaborative
One of the unique components of the Indígena Health and Wellness Collaborative is utilizing cultural traditions to support community wellness. In times of COVID-19 this is no different.
Thanks to the leadership of promotores Joseluis Monarca and Conchi Cruz, and others in the community IHWC procured and distributed 6,000 handmade masks.
The homegrown mask-making project grew out of the need to keep our community safe. In partnership with the Sí a la Vida team, indigenous community members - most of whom work in restaurants and lost their job - received culturally and linguistically appropriate COVID-19 information, handmade masks, hygiene kits and culturally and nutritiously appropriate food boxes. To date IHWC has distributed 1,060 food boxes to a rotating list of over 60 families.
Hygiene Kits to Roadmap to Peace (RTP)
As a result of a supply drive led by Credit Karma employees, Roadmap to Peace received hygiene kits for its youth. Kits included deodorant, q-tips, feminine products, and personal protection equipment (PPE). RTP tapped its Fellows and other participants and Care Managers to distribute products to their colleagues. RTP Fellows were able to provide hygiene kits to 12 RTP participants. With the remaining products, the Fellows provided kits to families at the Essential Resource Hub as a way to give back to the community. Muchas gracias Credit Karma!
Care Packages for In-custody Youth
In addition to financially supporting the most vulnerable Latinx youth in San Francisco to meet their needs ranging from hygiene, food and legal fees to class enrollments and court orders, RTP Fellows led an effort to put together care packages for youth who spent the winter holidays in custody. It was important for RTP youth to share and let their in-custody peers know that they were not forgotten. Get a taste of RTP in this video the youth produced in partnership with Power Youth Movement documenting this beautiful act of kindness. In true IFR spirit, RTP embodied our principal of Tú eres mi otro yo.
Meeting Our Community’s Mental Health Needs
Not surprisingly, the impacts of COVID-19 on adults and children have led to an increase in mental health needs in our community, among Latinxs of all ages. As a result, La Clínica, IFR’s outpatient mental health clinic experienced an upsurge of new clients since the start of the pandemic. For both children and adults, La Clínica provided an increase in mental health services, crisis interventions, and case management supports than in previous years. Our Mental Health Specialists and case management support team provided telehealth services, virtual programming, and in-person support as needed.
La Clínica also addressed multiple non-mental health inquiries for individuals needing help with financial assistance, employment, legal services (eviction & immigration), food security, and domestic violence.
IFR in Early Childcare Education and School-Based settings
IFR’s Early Intervention Program (EIP) actively provided telehealth mental health consultation services at the system, program, classroom, and individual family levels. The work was been done in strong collaboration with the community and leadership of the various systems of care in an effort to enhance and strengthen the safety net for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged families. EIP continues to strengthen the well-being of both care providers who are supporting families as well as our teachers and administrators. Activities during the pandemic included a weekly Charla to support Latinx family child care providers, wellness groups for preschool and elementary school teachers, support groups for parents in a number of school settings, provider support groups, and partnering to support ECE leadership. Additionally, the EIP has maintained a range of consultation services including weekly consultation to ECE teachers who provide on-site care as well as to teachers providing distance learning; virtual classroom observations and consultations to parents.
The S.P.A.R.K. (Strong Parents and Resilient Kids) team provided services both through telehealth and in person to families living in public housing and families involved in the foster care system. The team also was able to respond and open new cases providing a critical safety net to families deeply impacted by the dual pandemics.
Indígena Health and Wellness Collaborative
As a result of the outreach done with the day laborers or jornaleros, Super Winiketik was born. Super Winiketik (Supermen in Tzeltal language) is a gender-specific male group dedicated to meet the needs of the disconnected jornaleros.
Jornaleros are usually unaccompanied males from different Latin American countries and indigenous backgrounds. They often congregate in key areas, risking their lives to look for low-paying jobs to make ends meet, and support their families in San Francisco and in their home countries. In this newly formed group, jornaleros receive one-on-one care management that connects them with appropriate resources, and provides psychosocial peer support to help reduce isolation, depression and substance abuse. In an effort to always meet the community where they’re at, groups were conducted on the weekends to avoid interfering when jornaleros are out looking for work. With the continued support from you, our goal and hope is to continue Super Winiketik programming to decrease isolation, foster a sense of belonging, interdependence and community among jornaleros, and provide cultural enrichment. La Cultura Cura.
Promesa Supporting the most vulnerable LGBTQ+ Latinx and Multicultural Youth
Promesa is part of Sí a la Vida program serving the LGBTQ+ youth community. Since the shelter in place mandate came into place, weekly support groups moved to a digital platform, where youth have been regularly meeting. Individual services have also been modified to accommodate COVID-19 related mandates. Promesa staff has assisted program participants to obtain basic communication tools through community resources and navigation of different services. Some clients were assisted in obtaining Wi-Fi in their homes to support them with distance learning.
Through the program funds a family was provided with a laptop to facilitate the new school learning modality. In addition, various youth were assisted with basic home needs, like toilet paper, food, cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, and navigation of City resources. Many of the program participants expressed struggles with their mental health as a direct result of COVID-19. Promesa staff worked tirelessly to find referrals for them to receive urgent mental health services as well as to identify and apply for mutual aid to be able to receive in-house therapy.
La Cultura Cura Supporting San Francisco’s High and At-Risk Youth
La Cultura Cura (LCC) supports youth and young adults in their journeys towards healing and self-discovery through case management, therapy, and group services. However, when Shelter-In-Place orders were instated LCC services were deeply impacted. The LCC team responded immediately and pivoted service delivery to meet the needs of youth and young adults by providing hybrid services through telehealth/and limited in-person visits.
From April through May 2020, the LCC team coordinated and delivered 630+ lunches to 41 youth and their families. Meal delivery allowed LCC staff to connect with the harder-to-reach youth at a safe distance for check-in and to remind them that despite the physical distance - they were not alone and that they had community support.
Latinas Unidas: LCC's school-based gender-specific programming that addresses the reunification, bi-acculturation, gender and identity development, health and wellness, and resourcing needs of young Latinas, shifted programming to ZOOM and despite the turn of events with COVID-19, twelve (12) participants were fully engaged in programming. The LCC team closed out their programming with a final ZOOM session where the young women, created care packages that were delivered to other youth in June to support them in developing self-care routines and to continue to keep the community safe at home. These young women accomplished so much despite the very challenging times. They are resilient, resourceful, and leaders despite the obstacles that are placed in front of them! Sí se puede!
The LCC Mental Health Specialist provided telehealth services, with increased support for participants with higher risk factors (History of suicidal ideation/attempts, systems touched, higher risk of engagement in street and dangerous activities). Due to the high demand, and following the CDC and San Francisco safety guidelines, in May LCC began providing limited face-to-face services in community settings that met. LCC care managers continued to actively engage participants at least once a week to follow up with their case management/ mentoring goals and to identify creative ways to meet them during Shelter-in-Place. Additional support provided to participants included tutoring and assessing for basic needs, as well as linkages to available resources (Food Banks, Free School Lunches, Medical, Housing, Health, Rental Assistance, Probation, legal support, prenatal care).
Young people’s daily routines were completely altered as SFUSD and colleges shifted to remote learning, which also brought on other challenges. In these cases, the LCC team worked directly with youth and their families to help them gain access to laptops and reliable internet access to continue working towards their academic goals. Lastly, towards the end of the calendar year LCC mental health specialists facilitated two (2) virtual school-based Psycho-Educational Support Groups for students at Balboa and Thurgood Marshall High School. Additional services included coordinating and co-hosting a virtual resource fair, and a Serenade (Serenata) for Las Posadas during the holiday season.
Latinx COVID-19 Collaborative
Sí a la Vida - HIV integrated Services has cultivated an incredible expertise in addressing HIV and creative wellness programs for the LGBTQ Latinx community. Their successes have encompassed prevention, education, and outreach efforts. Since these are also key areas of expertise required during a pandemic, it wasn’t surprising that the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health asked this team to undertake outreach to the Latinx community.
As the lead Latinx health and wellness organization in San Francisco, IFR naturally took a leadership role in the newly formed Latino COVID-19 Collaborative. IFR serves as the fiscal agent as well as providing Contact Tracing/Case Investigation/Isolation & Quarantine work. Through a partnership with SFDPH, IFR Contact Tracers contact monolingual Spanish speaking individuals to provide culturally and linguistically responsive services and support in navigating COVID-19 health protocols and services. Individuals receive referrals for supplemental services such as short-term case management, PPE supplies, and culturally appropriate groceries and hot meals.
Our goals for the Latino COVID-19 Collaborative is to 1) decrease the spread of COVID-19 and provide rapid support to infected individuals and families in the Latinx community; 2) establish a coordinated and integrated network of collaborative prevention outreach and psychosocial services that promote COVID-19 testing, engage in contact tracing and linkage to medical care; 3) better identify, target and accelerate service delivery to the most vulnerable pockets of individuals and families, particularly monolingual Spanish and non-Spanish speakers who are undocumented in the Mission, Excelsior, Bayview and other highly impacted neighborhoods; and 4) establish a sustainable collaborative infrastructure for vaccine education and access.
We are grateful for all the support this collaborative has received thus far, and equally grateful to all five partners who stepped up to do this important work. The Latino COVID-19 Collaborative is composed of Centro Latino de San Francisco, Mission Neighborhood Centers, La Raza Community Resource Center and Cultura y Arte Nativa de San Francisco (CANA), and IFR. Each partner organization is tasked with leading and addressing an emergent need in the Latinx community.
IFR Continued to Grow to Meet the Demands of the Community
Meeting the demands of the most vulnerable in San Francisco during the COVID-19 pandemic is no easy task. That is why Human Resource hiring activities continued virtually from day one of Shelter-in-Place. From March 2020 to March 2021, IFR has made a total of 27 hires. Thirteen of the positions were specifically created to support COVID-19 related efforts including the development of the Latinx COVID-19 Collaborative, and expanding mental health support to address crises exasperated by COVID-19. The resiliency of our workforce is extraordinary, and it showed in our eagerness to accept the invitation by the San Francisco Department of Public Health to be the first non-profit in San Francisco to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in recognition of our important work as healthcare workers in the community.
Continued Need in the Community
With the new year, new leadership at the federal level, and as vaccines become more available and accessible to our community, we are hopeful for better days. However, we know families continue to struggle with basic needs, and experience growing anxiety about inceasing rent and other debts. The eviction moratorium has been lifesaving, but how will families address accumulating rents and the tremendous stress around increasing debt?
Additionally, there is tremendous hope as SFUSD schools unveil their reopening plan. However, this too has created a lot of tension, divisions and uncertainty in the community. When schools reopen and students transition back to a classroom setting, experts agree that we are likely to see significant increases in behavioral and mental health issues with students and educators. There is a significant need for additional funding for schools to be equipped for these challenges.
With your partnership in 2021, IFR hopes to continue to support the most vulnerable Latinx and multicultural children, youth, and families with education, linkages to resources, and our COVID-19 client emergency fund that provides direct cash assistance to prevent eviction and homelessness, increase food access and security, and ultimately decrease new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
The true test of community is how we come together during the harshest of times. We think most will agree that 2020 qualifies as the harshest any of us has ever experienced. We hope you feel as we do – that IFR worked compassionately, creatively and diligently with the City, our partners, and our supporters to pass this test.
We are in this together! Sí se puede!
Thank You to our Funders, Partners and Supporters
Instituto recognizes that all of our work would not be possible without support from all of our institutional and individual funders, partners and dedicated supporters. Thank you for your help, flexibility and trust during this unprecedented time. Because of your support we were able to save countless lives.