The New York Times reports that Haitians in New York City have rushed to respond to the earthquake destruction by increasing remittances to relatives in Haiti, welcoming others who are fleeing the destruction, or mourning the dead. Two of the city’s major charities are pitching in to help: the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the United Way of New York City. These groups have announced their collaboration to start of the NYC Haitian Community Hope and Healing Fund, which will issue grants to local nonprofit groups that help Haitians with a variety of services, including immigration assistance, literacy and other educational programs, employment training, and grief counseling.
The initiative, which its organizers say is unique among the Haitian diaspora in the United States, is driven in part by the expectation that the number of Haitians in New York will surge as people flee the quake’s destruction. The Obama administration’s offer of temporary legal status to many illegal Haitian immigrants could also bring thousands of people out of the shadows to seek formal educations and legal work.
The article stresses that, while the fund is intended to address immediate needs, its administrators also hope it will help to strengthen organizations for the long term with job training, institutional development, and building improvements. Many Haitian social service groups in New York are operating on shoestring budgets, overwhelmed by both the recession and the surge in their clients’ demands since the earthquake. Strengthening those groups will help New York’s Haitians work together and give them a more visible presence and a greater sense of community.
For full article, see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/nyregion/11haitians.html?ref=americas
Photo from another Hope and Healing site (Visitation Hospital Foundation) http://www.visitationhospital.org/events/hope-and-healing-haiti