As the pandemic progresses, the regional nonprofit Association of Village Council Presidents, or AVCP, is doing the best it can to meet needs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. AVCP Benefits Division Director Katheryn Nenneman outlined a series of programs available to help.
“We’re promoting clients to utilize the crisis benefit. We’re also promoting, if clients do not have direct deposit set up, let us know so we can send out the direct deposit form. And they can submit it electronically, and we can get that process started. And we are exploring ways to try to release the supplemental energy benefit sooner rather than later,” said Nenneman.
Nenneman encouraged tribal members to go ahead and ask for assistance for all the programs now, even though details are still being worked out. They need to call AVCP at 1-800-478-3521 so that staff can help them walk through the various programs and their eligibility. Be prepared to wait for the phone to be answered because most of the staff is now working at home. Nenneman warns that when staff return calls, it may show up on the phone as coming from a blocked number.
“Their phones are being ported to their personal cell,” Nenneman said. “So when they are making calls, calls are going out as private or blocked to protect our employees' confidentiality. So we’re really urging people that may be waiting for the benefits division to call them, if you see a blocked call, a private call, unknown caller, please answer it because it’s highly likely it’s one of us trying to get a hold of you.”
There are also more federal funds coming to Native organizations, but what amount and what the funds will be used for is still being worked out.