A Year of Great Change
Since our inception in 2005, Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN) has served Georgia’s vulnerable immigrant community with pro bono legal representation for victims of crime and persecution. When the stay at home orders interrupted our traditionally in-person model of client assistance and legal training, GAIN’s staff pivoted to provide programs virtually. By transitioning to a virtual model of service, we were also able to address our clients’ language, tech, and cultural barriers and expand access to our services in rural areas across the state. Despite the pandemic’s effects last year, our staff of ten served 573 men, women, and children across 40 counties through intakes, advice and counsel sessions, and full legal representation.
After their case is filed, GAIN clients can wait months or even years to receive a decision in their case, and many of them find themselves vulnerable to housing and food insecurity, among other concerns. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, GAIN clients have overwhelmingly suffered from income loss and housing insecurity, while struggling to access some forms of relief that are available to others.
GAIN’s Client Empowerment Fund, originally founded in honor of the late Trinh Huynh, assists our clients with case-related costs such as interpreters and translators, transportation, or court fees. As the COVID-19 crisis hit Georgia, GAIN swiftly responded by retooling the fund to provide immediate financial relief for clients in crisis. In 2020, GAIN distributed or raised over $200,000 in direct relief for our communities, including utility payments, grocery gift cards, in-kind donated laptops for children’s remote learning, and over $120,000 in rent paid directly to the landlords of clients in need.
The Client Empowerment Fund
At GAIN, we know that our clients have needs beyond their immigration case. Clients may have transportation issues, require specialist interpreters, or have emergency housing or mental health needs. That’s why GAIN has created our Client Empowerment Fund.
Our clients, who are immigrant victims of crime and persecution, are particularly vulnerable to the loss of work many have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also experience specific barriers, including fear of deportation, and lack of access many services, including financial relief, health care options, and more. Currently, our clients desperately need help with rent and utilities, groceries, and safe transportation options.
At GAIN, thanks to the generosity of funders like the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Ormewood Church, local foundations, and donors like you, we were able to launch our fund and begin providing assistance to our clients in need. However, the needs of our clients have not stopped as the crisis has worn on. Your gift can help us continue to offer relief in 2021 and beyond.
How You Can Help
- Donations to GAIN are critically important. Sustain GAIN’s ongoing work with a monthly or one-time donation, or give a one-time gift to help build our client empowerment fund.
- We are also seeking new and returning volunteer attorneys to represent GAIN’s clients. For more information on volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.