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Community Development

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Volume 21, Number 1, 2011

Natural Disaster and Manmade Recession Reveal Strengths and Needs of Haitian Diaspora


After a devastating 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, many of Miami's Haitian-Americans opened their homes and pocketbooks to help their friends and family back home. This outpouring further stressed a community already struggling with high rates of unemployment and foreclosures.

In "Natural Disaster and Manmade Recession Reveal Strengths and Needs of Haitian Diaspora," Ana Cruz-Taura, Regional Community Development Director with the Miami Branch of the Atlanta Fed, looks at how Miami's Haitian-American community has benefited from community-based organizations that joined forces to support the community in a number of different ways.

This network of organizations has become "an essential lifeline," writes Cruz-Taura. "They are helping those who have no one else to turn to, and are relieving some of the pressure on individuals affected financially by the earthquake."

One of the organizations is Sant La, which, along with similar organizations, has become a communications hub in the South Florida Haitian community, helping people look for work and for assistance with living expenses, says Cruz-Taura. Another is the Knight Foundation, which awarded $600,000 in grants to fund more services in Miami-Dade County.

According to Cruz-Taura, the Atlanta Fed is another of these organizations. It is working to encourage Haitian-Americans to establish relationships with financial institutions and partnering with other organizations on community-based initiatives.

To learn more about the efforts these and other organizations who have joined formal and informal networks are making to assist the South Florida and Miami Haitian-American communities, read "Natural Disaster and Manmade Recession Reveal Strengths and Needs of Haitian Diaspora" in the latest issue of Partners, now available online and in print.