The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced grants totaling $600,000 to five Miami-based nonprofits to address short- and long-term challenges facing Haitians in South Florida following the devastating January 12 earthquake that struck Haiti.
The grants will be used to address basic needs assistance and counseling, legal services, and census and naturalization outreach to help the region's Haitian community cope with stresses resulting from the quake. Haitians in South Florida are struggling to provide support to relatives and loved ones in their home country, while at the same time many of the 10,500 American nationals repatriated from Haiti in the weeks following the quake remain in South Florida with relatives. According to local public school officials, as of mid-March nearly a thousand Haitian children had enrolled in Broward schools and more than nine hundred in Miami-Dade schools.
The grantees are Sant La/The Haitian Neighborhood Center, which received $250,000 for its work to encourage an accurate census count of South Florida Haitians and a naturalization campaign; the United Way of Miami-Dade, which received $100,000 in matching funds to help local agencies meet the basic needs of Haitians arriving in South Florida; the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center and Catholic Charities Legal Services, which each received $100,000 to help eligible Haitians in South Florida apply for temporary protective status and to train pro bono lawyers to help potential applicants; and Haitian Women of Miami, which received $50,000 to provide immediate counseling and assistance to earthquake victims and their families.
"These grants will not only assist South Florida Haitians in helping their family members," said Sant La/The Haitian Neighborhood Center executive director Gepsie Metellus, "but also strengthen the community so that it has a stronger voice locally while supporting the rebuilding of Haiti."