Minneapolis, MN

Get to know CAPI's civic engagement programs

Paula Carlsen

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN — CAPI, formerly known to stand for Center for Asian and Pacific Islanders, strives to help clients who live below the federal poverty guidelines. CAPI is open to anyone. Although 60 percent of their clients are refugees and immigrants, 40 percent are low-income native-born Minnesotans.

CAPI works to provide jobs, housing, food, health education and senior social services to refugees, immigrants and low-income communities in order to foster economic independence, self-determination and social equality.

CAPI provides a culturally tailored food shelf, supports community gardens and makes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more accessible. We can also help with health insurance enrollment, vaccines, Hmong eldercare programs and caregiver support.

Individuals may also receive aids in finding long-term employment through educational and vocational training programs, job placement and intense case management by the organization. CAPI also functions as a Financial Opportunity Center, providing financial education, financial coaching, homeownership initiatives, homestretch workshops, tax preparation and ITIN services.

Additionally, CAPI helps immigrants participate in their communities by assisting with voter registration and participation, giving leadership and civic engagement training and promoting immigrant/refugee input into publicly funded activities. CAPI also hosts the annual World Refugee Day ceremony in the Twin Cities.

In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, a coalition of church groups established CAPI USA as The Centre for Asian and Pacific Islanders in 1982, to assist Southeast Asian refugees in Minnesota. In the decades that followed, CAPI welcomed additional refugees and immigrants from all over the world: East and West Africa, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand and Burma—among others. The agency's name was changed to CAPI USA in 2008 to reflect its growing multicultural focus and diversified client base.

CAPI built a new Immigrant Opportunity Center (IOC) in Brooklyn Center in June 2018 and combined programs at the IOC with the East Lake Street Center in Minneapolis. After the IOC was established, CAPI became the primary non-profit service provider for immigrants and people of color in Northwest Hennepin County.

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