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Amid pandemic, Haitian-led organizations change service delivery to meet community needs

By Sam Bojarski

From mental health counseling and youth programs, to assistance for immigrants, Haitian-led community-based organizations (CBOs) provide essential services to residents throughout Brooklyn and Queens. 

But the novel coronavirus pandemic that forced an economic shutdown in March has impacted their service delivery in a variety of ways. At the same time, the communities that CBOs serve have dealt with the consequences of the virus, including the emotional impact of losing loved ones, financial difficulties and lack of access to technology. 

Rachel Dure, who works directly with seniors to connect them with health care and housing, as a case manager for the Haitian-American Community Coalition (HCC), said she now speaks to clients every two weeks, via the video conferencing platform Zoom. More than 90 percent of the people HCC serves are of Caribbean descent. 

HCC Executive Director Dr. Andre Peck, at a food distribution July 18. Photo by Sam Bojarski

“A lot of our clients are not tech savvy, so trying to teach them Zoom has been a feat,” said Dure, who noted that many clients have to call in on their phones, since they lack smartphones, tablets or a strong Wi-Fi connection. 

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Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski has been covering Haiti and its diaspora for The Haitian Times since 2018. He is currently covering New York's Haitian community as a Report for America corps member.
Sam Bojarski
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Jul. 25, 2020