Making strides towards bilingual financial assistance available for local businesses

MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - As local businesses continue to look for help during this difficult time by applying for loans and other resources, some businesses are having to look harder for help when there's a language barrier.

In the Quad Cities, about 40% of businesses that work with the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce prefer to consume their information in Spanish.

In the Quad Cities, about 40% of businesses that work with the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce prefer to consume their information in Spanish. So when we see federal aid resources like the Paycheck Protection Program application only available in English, it makes getting help more difficult for some.

"The [jobs] are gone temporarily so a lot of Hispanics are struggling financially and they're scared. They don't want to go out. And they don't know where to get assistance," explains Coya Cafe's owner Blanca Moran.

Coya's Cafe has had to temporarily shut down its downtown Moline location. Their store on Fourth Avenue has seen a steady flow of customers despite growing concerns over COVID-19.

"The community has really supported us. So overall we’re doing okay but it’s a big change to what we were used to in doing in business versus what we’re doing now," says Moran.

That's why so many businesses like Coya's Cafe are applying for financial assistance and facing another issue. Moran says she is bilingual and understands both English and Spanish. " But I know some Hispanic owners when they fill out an application in English, you're not really sure if you answer them correctly. You’re afraid if you don't answer them correctly you're worried you won’t get the loan. So when you get the information in Spanish, it helps you a lot because you’re for sure understanding what they are requesting," she shares.

The Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is making sure Latino businesses have information available in the language they prefer. "I don't think anybody's intentionally trying to leave behind a community. It’s all that we’re trying to cope in this pandemic and get updates as quickly as possible. For us, it’s making sure there’s a voice for Latinos in our community and making sure our most vulnerable community members have what they need," says Zenaida Landeros, Executive Director of the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Nearly half of Latinos in the United States say someone in their household has lost their job or taken a pay cut, compared to one-third of all Americans, according to Pew Research.

Local businesses can find help in English and Spanish on the Small Business Administration's website as well as the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's website.