CENTRAL AMERICAN RESOURCE CENTER- CARECEN Overview
Programs: ? Legal Services: over 4,500 individuals yearly are helped in filing for residency, work authorization, citizenship, and many other immigration-related matters.
? Community Support Services: provides orientation on and access to social services, performs translations of letters and documents, helps resolve misunderstandings or disputes with employers, landlords, or vendors, and makes referrals to other agencies. In addition, victims of violent crime are assisted in gaining access to compensation from the District?s programs and in dealing with the judicial system if a case goes to court. Talks and workshops on the importance of filing tax returns correctly and on time are given throughout the year to clients in CARECEN?s waiting room, to our citizenship students, and to groups in the community.
? Citizenship and English as a Second Language: at least 200 people each year take citizenship classes that help them prepare for the U.S. naturalization exam and interview. Approximately 80 of these opt to take the related ESL module to increase their ease in the English language.
? Housing and Community Action: individual renters may be helped in resolving disputes with their landlords; first-time low-income homebuyers are counseled on how to qualify for a mortgage and may receive financial literacy training. More than 80 tenant associations to date have been organized and trained to take action to have their apartment buildings brought up to code; in cases where the owner is selling the building, the associations are helped to qualify to purchase it, or to get the best buy-out deal if they choose not to purchase.
? Civic Participation: Tenant associations and community action groups have gotten involved in coalitions and community action projects to fight discrimination, to improve legislation that affects them, and to get involved in local decision-making spaces like advisory neighborhood coalitions. CARECEN trains the community and participates at its side in advocacy on issues of importance to the Latino community, along with its community membership base which is several hundred people strong.
? Within all of our programs, CARECEN disseminates much-needed information to individuals and in community forums or at events on topics such as housing, employment, financial counseling, job opportunities, immigration laws and employee rights.
CARECEN meets the legal and social service needs of new Latino immigrants and facilitates their transition to life in the United States, provides Latinos with the resources and leadership skills necessary to promote community strengthening and development, and supports the creation of wealth and assets in the community through economic development efforts. Since all staff members are bilingual, and more than half are members of the Latino community, CARECEN serves its clients in a culturally comfortable atmosphere.
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