B.C. Dodge & R. Mordant Mahon talk to Minkailu Jalloh from IRUSA in this episode of “What a Relief!” — IRUSA’s official podcast.
This week, B.C. & Mordant continue on to part two of an interview with Minkailu Jalloh, a U.S. Programs Specialist at IRUSA. In this episode, Minkailu continues to describe his experiences in the Programs Department.
The discussion picks up where it left off, in Flint, Michigan, where Minkailu recounts his experience leading a major water distribution effort.
In Flint, IRUSA worked with a staffing agency to hire local Flint residents to do water distributions. This initiative brought economic benefit to a community that has been dealing with economic depression for some time. Minkailu describes the importance of putting money into the hands of the people.
“When there is economic difficulty,” he says, “the most effective means of improving that situation is to subsidize the people. Not businesses, not institutions, you have to subsidize the people.”
The rest of the episode centers around a nationwide program called Day of Dignity, an event that happens all over the country in the fall. This community day focuses primarily on serving the local homeless populations.
“Part of the idea is connecting people to the services in their community,” he says.
In addition to distributing food, warm meals and hygiene kits, the main aim of the Day of Dignity is to connect the underserved with local resources. IRUSA invites local housing services, food pantries, healthcare organizations and more to set up tables and provide information and a variety of services.
The location for this program that stood out to Minkailu the most was Las Vegas, Nevada. He recalls one of the largest and most diverse homeless populations he has ever seen.
“Vegas rises and falls with the economic tide much more strongly than a lot of other cities I’ve seen,” he says. “Homelessness takes a lot of different forms in different places in this county, and that’s the place it’s been the most arresting.”
In this episode, Minkailu also shares a story of a woman in Las Vegas that impacted him heavily on a personal level.
Tune in to this heavy, yet hopeful, episode to hear his story and to find out how you can support programs here at home in the United States. These programs range from food assistance to health services and beyond.
“Having seen it and felt it, it’s definitely going to bring benefit to people,” he says.