As part of Casa San Jose’s continued commitment to provide support to the Latinx community, we want to share with you how our organization is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. We understand that this pandemic is having a disproportionate impact in our communities. Thousands of immigrants have lost their jobs and will not be able to access the relief benefits designated by the government to alleviate the effects of this public health crisis. Therefore, our work in support to the Latinx community in Pittsburgh and surrounded areas is more relevant today than ever.

WHAT IS CASA SAN JOSE DOING TO RESPOND TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK?  

Customer Service: To comply with the guidelines provided by the CDC and to ensure the safety of staff and clients, Casa San Jose is operating via phone calls until further notice. Since March 13th, more than 150 people have received assistance through our dedicated phone lines. For all general inquiries, please call (412) 343-3111 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Emergency response: We continue providing assistance in cases of immigration emergencies through the line (412) 736-7167. Since March 13th, we have served 40 people and, thanks to our Bond Fund, provided assistance with the release of two community members from ICE detention. 

Food distribution: In just three weeks we have assisted more than 900 people in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. In close coordination with organizations such as 412 Food Rescue, Food Pantries, Food Banks, Churches and donors, we have delivered non-perishable food, and fresh produce like fruits and vegetables. Additionally, thanks to the fundraising support from Dr. Mark Baratz, we are not only helping feed our community but also purchasing meals from local restaurants, which helps keep businesses open and people employed.

Follow-up to individual cases: Since the beginning of our remote operation, we have assisted more than 60 families through individual intervention and monitoring of their special cases. With this individual attention, we help families connect with services that meet their needs in relation to housing, food assistance, access to health and other critical resources.

Information in Spanish about Covid-19: To fill the gap of accurate COVID-19 information in Spanish among the Hispanic community in Pittsburgh, we are sharing information from Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and health organizations at the state and national levels through our website and social media platforms. We had more than 1,300 visitors on our website during the last 4 weeks alone, 13% more compared to the same month last year. Similarly, more than 18,800 people have engaged with our content on Facebook in March alone, 251% more than the previous month. Furthermore, critical information is being disseminated through WhatsApp groups with the number (412) 452-5144.

Advocacy for the release of detainees: Casa San Jose is advocating for the release of detainees at the Allegheny County Jail and immigration detention centers. This work is in close coordination with MILPA, Abolitionist Law Center, PA Prison Society, ACLU of Pennsylvania and National Lawyers Guild.

Advocacy for the closure of the Berks Family Detention Center: We are actively advocating for the closure of the Berks Detention Center. Prisons and detention centers could be a potential focus of infection of COVID-19. Facilities are known for being crowded and lack proper sanitation. We understand that immigrant families have the right to be safe and healthy in their homes.

How you can help

Cash Donations: Our work in support to the Latinx community that has been adversely affected during this crisis is crucial, and we can’t do so without your support. Please consider a donation by using the link provided in our website.

Non-Perishable food and cleaning items: Some of the items needed are rice, dried beans, tortillas, masa, oil, diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, etc. For a complete list, please email srkaren@casasanjose.org.

Sign the petition #FreeThemAll: Casa San Jose, together with various organizations in Pennsylvania, are asking Governor Wolf for the release of detainees in prisons and detention centers. Among other things, we’re asking for a case-by-case review of people detained by ICE, including individuals with deportation orders. Learn more about the petition here https://bit.ly/2JADafv

Join the call to #ShutdownBerks:  We continue insisting that Governor Wolf immediately Issue an Emergency Removal Order to shut down Berks County Detention Center.  Please email him here or call: Governor Tom Wolf 717-787-2500, Lt. Gov. Fetterman 717-787-3300, or PA DHS Secretary Miller 717-787-2600. The families imprisoned there, with children as young as 2 years old, are dangerously vulnerable to the virus, and without proper medical care or sanitation.  Family detention is not only immoral, it’s illegal.https://www.facebook.com/ShutDownBerksCoalition.

Follow us and share: Follow Casa San Jose’s social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and help us share up to date information about the outbreak, our work and the needs of our community.