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Social Capital Work During COVID-19

For years, UNP has dedicated its efforts to building intercultural and linguistic connections to integrating incoming populations, disenfranchised community members, first generation students, University faculty, staff, students, community-based organizations, and government agencies around the development of a local model of mutual understanding and benefit. These efforts are evident in the wreath of partnerships UNP connects with, and the diversity of its staff’s gender, racial, ethnic, cultural, and age backgrounds.

This year, UNP drew on this social capital, built through nearly 20 years of presence in west side neighborhoods, to help everyone stay connected and respond to COVID-19 emergency needs. Through interconnections among people in different positions within different institutions people were able to share information on resources such as testing, housing and rental assistance, schoolwork support, and support with mental health and citizenship status.

The Glendale-Mountain View Community Learning Center has provided food and basic needs supplies to residents. A partnership with Salt Lake City Library is allowing us to support families in navigating the digital divide. The Wellness Bus, the Salt Lake County Health Department, the Utah Partners for Health Mobile Clinic, and University of Utah Health have provided COVID testing in the neighborhoods.

Funding from the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs and the Utah Office of Heath Disparities allowed the assembly of a team of Cultural Navigators to reach individuals and families regarding their most pressing needs. Collaborations happened in multiple languages including Spanish, Nepali, Somali, Burundi, Arabic, Swahili, Samoan, Tagalog, Karen, Bhutanese, and more. Connections happened via phone calls, emails, social media, zoom meetings, Google apps, and home visits.

The west side is a fascinating microcosm of multicultural strengths and a willingness to understand, respect, and support each other with spiritual needs, basic material needs, and connecting with institutional resources. Moving from isolation and surviving to integration and thriving has been the 2020 challenge for all of us. We have all suffered the loss of friends and family. We are navigating through sickness, unemployment, housing and school difficulties, emotional and mental health disturbances, fear for the future, and much more. Yet, we have also stood together to work towards eradicating division, racism, and any kind of hate or separation discourse. We joined the city and community in large efforts to innovate, reimagine nature, protect the Jordan River… and we will continue striving towards a community coming together in mutual benefit.

Content provided by Teresa Molina, Associate Director, UNP


University Neighborhood Partners, among others, is partnering with the City of Salt Lake to offer
Raise Up Salt Lake. The project is providing critical cash relief with $500 debit cards to those facing unique hardships due to their personal situation or immigration status. The best way to lift up Salt Lake City is to come together as one SLC community to help ensure that all our neighbors have the resources and opportunities they need to be healthy and safe. 

Additional Resources & Supports

COVID-19 Vaccine = or call 1-800-456-7707
Rides to Vaccine Appointments = or call 1-888-826-9790
COVID-19 Testing = or call 1-800-456-7707
Rental Assistance =
Mortgage Relief = NeighborWorks Salt Lake,
Utility Assistance = HEAT at or call 801-521-6107
Food Distribution = or
General Assistance (such as child care, medical, financial, disability, or unemployment insurance) =