COVID-19 takes financial toll on Middle Tennessee immigrants

Posted at 8:50 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 14:39:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As immigrants in Middle Tennessee are struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 outbreak, non-profit organizations are stepping up to help.

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) reports many immigrants have lost their jobs, while others who are essential workers worry about their health and safety.

TIRRC has responded by helping people pay rent, feed their families and access unemployment benefits.

Judith Clerjeune, the Policy Director for TIRRC, said a lot of unemployment resources aren't available in different languages, making it hard for some people to access the information they need.

"The health of our community depends on people having access to necessary resources," said Clerjeune. "We are trying our best to put folks in contact with resources that are out there."

Clerjeune said immigrants who don't have a social security number aren't eligible for federal stimulus money, even if they are currently working in the United States and pay taxes.

The TIRRC website compiles information on how to get tested for COVID-19, Governor Bill Lee's stay-at-home order, the location of food banks, and where small businesses can turn for financial assistance. All of the information is available in several languages.

Clerjeune encouraged people with questions to check out the TIRRC website, follow the organization on social media, or call them at (615) 833-0384.

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