IRCCW was founded by Iraqi refugees and continues to be managed by members of the communities it serves. IRCCW is well known and respected in the Iraqi community and has gained attraction in the growing Syrian community as well as Afghans and other Muslim refugees. IRCCW is viewed as an inviting space that welcomes all refugees and our office often serves as a communal meeting area for clients daily.
Families in our communities used to accessing a deep familial community who care for their children. Grandmothers, aunties, sisters are all involved in raising children, a true collective, village effort. With COVID-19 our community is feeling more isolated and untethered from the community supports they once had, something our families experience tremendously and could have a long-term trauma impact. Our families are experiencing hostile health climate, isolation, and are disproportionately suffering from this crisis. This takes a dramatic toll on individual lives leading to chronic stress, potential further COVID-outbreak, instability and depression, conditions that can further isolate and deepened communities marginalized.
As the COVID -19 pandemic grows in our region it will greatly impact the low- income, non-English speaking refugee and immigrant community that we serve. At this time it is imperative that community members are provided accurate and timely information and services from providers that are trusted and have the language and cultural capacity to serve the areas Arabic and Muslim communities. The IRCCW has served the community needs for almost twenty years in King County and our leadership, staff and volunteers share a common lived experience as refugees and new immigrants.
Over the past several months we have seen increased demand from community members seeking information and services related to:
Accurate Health Department Advisories and Recommendations related to COVID-19 Information on childcare resources and services due to the closure of schools
Actions that they can take to protect their children, elders and families (social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing)
Process for filing for unemployment (many community members have been layed off or experienced severe work shortages due to the reduction in Uber/Lyft and other gig economy needs of the general public)
Assistance with rental and other eviction prevention measures