Volunteers help immigrant businesses during pandemic
Added 08-08-20 01:22:02am EST - “Culture differences, language and often other barriers can stand in the way of immigrant business owners who could benefit from assistance programs to help them navigate the new world created by COVID-19.” - Washingtontimes.com
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MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Culture differences, language and often other barriers can stand in the way of immigrant business owners who could benefit from assistance programs to help them navigate the new world created by COVID-19.
A newly organized New American/Foreign Born/Immigrant Advisory Board to the state departments of Health and Human Services has taken on the task of raising awareness and educating immigrants on the state’s new Economic Resiliency Grant (ERG) program, designed to help businesses adjust their services and increase consumer confidence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The challenge is that immigrants often don’t know grants are available to them, said Iredia “Ray” Osadolor, Minot, a member of the advisory board. Even when they are aware, it can be difficult for them to determine whether they are eligible and could benefit, he said. Immigrants tend to be careful about applying for grants or other opportunities because they don’t want to make a mistake that could affect their legal status or cause other harm, he said.
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Kouadjo Bini, a Minot board member who has been reaching out to the immigrant communities in the Williston area, told the Minot Daily News that immigrants fear an unintended error could reinforce the societal stigma they already face.
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