API BENEFITS BANK
Through a $75,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, the Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF) launched the API Benefits Bank program to provide much needed screening, access assistance, and case management in the Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Korean communities. One of the greatest needs that transcends various Asian ethnic communities is access to public/government and community benefits and services due to cultural and language barriers.
Language and cultural issues are huge barriers for Asian Americans in accessing benefits and services that they are eligible for. One in three Asian Americans is limited English-speaking, with one in four households as linguistically isolated. In Los Angeles County alone, there are 45 distinct Asian and Pacific Islander (API) ethnic groups speaking more than 28 different languages. Most governmental agencies do not provide services in all the languages necessary to serve those in need throughout the API community. Once a client is deemed eligible for a benefit or service, s/he faces an additional hurdle of “navigating the system” to actually obtain the benefit or service.
APCF partnered with the Chinatown Service Center, the Filipino American Service Group, Inc., the Koreatown Youth and Community Center, the Little Tokyo Service Center, and Search to Involve Pilipino Americans to administer the API Benefits Bank program in each of the respective communities.
The API Benefits Bank served as a one-stop-shop for client screenings for basic needs, as well as for eligibility of government and other benefits and community resources, such as:
- Food, Clothing, Shelter
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
- Protective Services
The program also provided basic case management for clients, including information and referral, advocacy, coordination, follow-up, translation, and transportation for up to nine months as needed to access eligible and desired benefits and resources.
A total of 67 units equating to 153 people (comprised of Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, and Koreans) were served through this program, with the following outcomes:
- 5 hours of case management
- 620 hours of translation services
- 45 government-related appointments accompanied by the case manager
- 8 clients obtained jobs
Below is a partial list of benefits and services received by clients:
- Affordable, emergency, and permanent housing
- Afterschool and youth programs
- Counseling/therapy (mental health services)
- Dispute resolution
- Emergency food assistance
- Energy assistance
- Enrollment in furthering education
- CalFresh (food stamps)
- Immigration, naturalization assistance, permanent resident status
- In-home supportive services
- Legal assistance
- Rental assistance
- Setting up checking/savings accounts
- State Disability Insurance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
- Translation and interpretation
- Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Food & Nutrition Services
- Work (job) placement and assistance
PAG-ASA FUND: HELPING SURVIVORS OF TYPHOON HAIYAN
Photo by Pio Arce/Genesis Photos
On Nov. 8, 2013, the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda, also known as Typhoon Haiyan. Affecting more than 11.8 million people with more than 6,300 dead, 921,200 displaced ,and 243,600 houses destroyed, it became the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record.*
In order to support recovery and rebuilding efforts for the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF) created the Pag-asa Fund in response, with Pag-asa meaning “Hope” in Tagalog. The funds raised were intended to provide hope for the survivors – hope that they will have a home again, have their basic needs met such as food and clothing, and ultimately to arise from this tragedy.
The Pag-asa Fund aimed to invest in long-term efforts in Typhoon Haiyan-stricken areas, with funding going to organizations that are on the ground and making an impactful difference. It has become apparent in recent years following Katrina, Sandy, Haiti, and Japan among others that very little funding continues after 90 days. However, the recovery and rebuilding of these communities may take years.
With long-term impact in mind, APCF ensured that 100% of all donations were directed to organizations providing aid and assistance in recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Typhoon Haiyan-stricken areas, with APCF absorbing all its administrative costs.
*From the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published on 11/13/13.