Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are three strategic ways to transmit information about COVID-19 to immigrant communities effectively. 

• How can donors help ensure that immigrant communities are getting the right information and services during this time? 

• Read more about how to support immigrant communities during the pandemic. 

As immigrant workers and families with low incomes across the country are disproportionately affected by the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, state and local communities are stepping in to fill the gaps left by limited federal relief efforts. Not only do these efforts need to be available and tailored to immigrant community needs, but they also must focus on creating effective outreach to immigrant audiences.

With offices closed, community visits limited, and ongoing virus transmission concerns as cities reopen, government agencies and service providers should explore innovative communications channels to assist immigrant families.

Early in the crisis, we scanned the responses of 10 metropolitan areas with large immigrant populations in a variety of state immigration policy climates and identified some ways localities were working to communicate to immigrant audiences. From our observations, we find effective outreach with immigrant residents depends on three key principles: translation of materials into multiple languages, accessible and trustworthy messengers, and creative ways to transmit information.

  1. Ensure information is available in multiple languages
  2. Create accessible and trustworthy messaging
  3. Transmit information through creative platforms

Although cities have launched many innovative efforts to reach immigrant audiences during the pandemic, gaps in recovery remain large. Local agencies face enormous resource challenges, and language access may not be deemed a priority amid the many urgent and competing demands to address the complexity of the crisis. This crisis highlights the importance of investing in language access infrastructure to disseminate urgent information to all community members.

Moving forward, local leaders who want to ensure well-being and recovery in their communities need to consider intentional and thoughtful communication strategies to reach diverse immigrant communities.

Read the full article about recovery information strategies to reach immigrant communities by Hamutal Bernstein, Sara McTarnaghan, Adaeze Okoli, and Carolyn Vilter at Urban Institute.