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San Diego’s Somali Community Desperate For Help As Coronavirus Takes Financial Toll

A pedestrian surrounded by cars crosses El Cajon Boulevard in City Heights, J...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: A pedestrian surrounded by cars crosses El Cajon Boulevard in City Heights, Jan. 11, 2017.

Business closures and job losses caused by the coronavirus can be especially tough for San Diego's immigrant communities. One that's been hit especially hard is the Somali community in City Heights.

San Diego is home to the second-largest Somali community in the United States, some 10,000 strong. It's primarily low income, and community leaders say the virus is making life more difficult than ever.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.

Said Abiyow heads up the San Diego branch of the Somali Bantu Association of America. He said the Somali community faces a big barrier when it comes to asking for help.

Reported by John Carroll , Video by Matthew Bowler

"Our people are limited of language skills, their lack of language skills, and nobody will understand them about the issues that they have," Abiyow said.

The Somali Bantu Association helps with translation. But in this time of crisis, as people are losing their jobs, the association is becoming overwhelmed in providing the things people in this community need to survive.

Abiyow said the community needs help with several things.

"Rental assistance... helping with the food, water and medical supplies," he said.

Abiyow is working on partnering with the United Way, but that hasn't happened just yet. He said they need assistance right now.

All the information on what association needs and how to help is on its website,


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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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