SIDEBAR Summer 2021 - 17

MONTGOMERY B AR .O R G
Connecting with the Latino Community:
A guided approach to services
By Marion Hoffman Fraley, Communications Manager,
Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP)
B
uilding trust through conversation,
knowledge and mutual education is key
to a strengthened partnership between
ACLAMO and Legal Aid of Southeastern PA
(LASP). Funded by a HealthSpark Foundation
grant, ACLAMO, and LASP's collaboration
is part of HealthSpark's Blueprint for a Better
Safety Net, updated in spring/summer 2020
to address issues exacerbated by COVID-19.
According to the Brookings Institution and
Pew Research Center, COVID-19 has had a profound negative
impact on the economic well-being of Latino families.
The partnership connects ACLAMO's trust within the Latino
and non-English speaking community with LASP's expertise in
civil legal matters. The Latino population is frequently underserved
by safety net providers, and LASP is committed to
increasing access to its services for Montgomery County's Latino
population.
ACLAMO is a nonprofit community service organization
that provides educational programs, social services, and access to
health and wellness programs to Latinos and other community
members to empower them to fully achieve their life potential.
ACLAMO's Executive Director and CEO since 2015, Nelly
Jiménez-Arévalo has advocated for the Latino community in
Pennsylvania since emigrating from Venezuela in 1998. Sharing
her extensive experience in working with organizations to
improve service delivery to Latinos, Jiménez has reviewed LASP's
language access policies and provided feedback. " We are excited
to be working with legal aid to support building a lasting change
around language access and equity, " Jiménez-Arévalo said. " Our
partnership has helped us strengthen our relationship and trust.
We are thankful for the opportunity to find ways to work and
learn from each other. "
Shawn Boehringer, LASP Executive Director, said, " It's
important for strategic planning to get better connected with the
community, to get a better sense of how we can do outreach and
how we can address needs. ... Starting with the recognition that
everybody has implicit biases, a policy can show commitment
to serving diverse communities, but we have to go beyond the
policies and get a better understanding of the communities
from hearing people tell their stories and give their
perspective. I think that's really been valuable. "
Erica Briant, LASP Community Engagement
Unit Supervising Attorney, said the partnership
is already benefiting clients: " We've had a client
who was having a hard time applying for rental
assistance. " LASP provided warm referrals to
ACLAMO staff, to connect the client with
Emergency Rent and Utility Coalition (ERUC).
ACLAMO is one of six nonprofits administering
Your Way Home of Montgomery County's COVID-19 program
to help renters. " ACLAMO also works with people who are
receiving rental assistance but still have a landlord-tenant action
pending and need a legal advocate from LASP to help, " Briant
noted.
In addition, LASP attorneys presented training for
ACLAMO advocates on landlord-tenant law and unemployment
compensation, both of which have been high-priority issues
for LASP clients during COVID and are disproportionately
impacting the Latino community.
At one of ACLAMO's Facebook Live events, LASP attorneys
Alexandria Baland and Lily Austin, Independence Fellow, who
both speak Spanish, answered community members' questions
on landlord-tenant issues. LASP attorneys also will discuss public
benefits at an ACLAMO Facebook Live event soon.
Boehringer noted, " The lessons that we learn in Montgomery
County also will help inform our work with Latino communities
in Lower Bucks County and Chester County, particularly in
southwestern Chester County. "
Further reading:
* COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the economic
well-being of Latino families by Gabriel R. Sanchez, Edward
D. Vargas, and Adrián A. Pedroza (July 27, 2020): https://
brook.gs/3z5avb5
* Coronavirus Economic Downturn Has Hit Latinos
Especially Hard by Jens Manuel Krogstad and Mark Hugo
Lopez (Aug. 4, 2020): https://pewrsr.ch/3ipvAXN
SUMMER 2021 17
http://montgomerybar.org http://www.brook.gs/3z5avb5 https://www.pewrsr.ch/3ipvAXN

SIDEBAR Summer 2021

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