Since efforts to contain the pandemic effectively shut down the California economy in late March, more than 1.3 million Los Angeles County residents have become unemployed. Among them is Henry, a 69-year old washing-machine operator and driver for a restaurant supply company who provides for himself and his wife. When he lost his job, he knew he would need unemployment benefits to pay rent and keep food on the table.

But Henry, a Mandarin speaker with limited English proficiency, couldn’t navigate the complex unemployment application process, which was only available in English and Spanish. Henry reached out to NLSLA, and our advocates helped him to successfully apply for unemployment insurance. Henry and his wife can now stay in their San Gabriel home and pay for basic necessities.

“While the state has distributed billions in unemployment insurance benefits, there are so many people who have been left behind,” said NLSLA’s Sandra Chung, who supervises the organization’s unemployment work. “Here in Los Angeles County, we know that the people who are falling through the cracks are also some of the most vulnerable.”

People with language barriers, disabilities, and countless eligible applicants who have been wrongfully rejected are in danger of hunger and homelessness if they can’t access the assistance they need and deserve. NLSLA is here to help them get the immediate assistance they need, and to ensure they are also able to access other critical benefits such as food assistance and health insurance.

In addition to individual consultations, we are launching a clinic to provide technical assistance, education about the various types of benefits, and help completing applications for limited-English proficient Mandarin and Cantonese speaking individuals and other community members who may face challenges in completing the application on their own. For more information, contact (800) 896-3202 or complete an online application by visiting nlsla.org.