Nonprofit Gets More ARPA Relief Money From Brooklyn Park To Help Immigrant Population
The city of Brooklyn Park once again distributed a portion of its more than $11 million in federal COVID relief money–part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act–to community organizations and non-profits.
“This was a priority for the community for a way to spend the funds,” said Felicia Jappah, the city’s project coordinator for pandemic response, in August 2023. “Our experience, or working with the community partners, has shown that this is a really good use of these funds.”
In the second round to be administered in 2023, CAPI Immigrant Opportunity Center once again received $50,000 in grant money. CAPI started more than 40 years ago as non-profit to help Asian Pacific Islanders in their resettlement efforts following the end of the Vietnam War. It has grown to include resources like financial wellbeing courses, home ownership assistance, food shelf assistance, and so much more to residents in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Minneapolis.
“When people get their financial independence, they start making informed decisions,” said Patricia Aguilar, financial empowerment director for CAPI. “They understand that, yeah sometimes you have to work harder than other people to get what you want, and we’re here to support during that process.”
Aguilar said the more than 50 staff members for CAPI speak 18 different languages and offer support to those who are brand-new to this country or even those who may have lived here their whole lives and, like generations of their family before them who originally emigrated, never got any formal education about finances, home ownership, or even how to work in the U.S.
“They do all the work. We just provide information, support, guidance,” Aguilar said. “They really are the ones that make the changes needed to move from Point A to Point B.”
CAPI will use the new round of ARPA funding to help 12 people earn certification as nurses assistants.
“They will get six weeks of vocational training, but also they will get six hours of financial education and six hours of work readiness,” said Aguilar. “So they will be culturally trained for the U.S. workforce culture.”
She said the organization hopes to one day expand its location on Brooklyn Boulevard. She hopes that CAPI can continue to serve those who need help connecting the dots of city help, non-profit assistance, and work in the private or public sectors.
“They suffered enough back home. Here we have the resources and the knowledge and we’re willing to help,” she said.