Spanish Coalition for Housing Continues to Increase Access to CHA Services
As Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH) completes its third year as part of Community Alliance, the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) Diversity Outreach Initiative, it continues to increase access to CHA programs and services for thousands of families in diverse communities through its hands-on workshops. Since Community Alliance launched in 2016, SCH has educated more than 3,800 individuals through these workshops, teaching attendees about affordable housing, senior housing, job seeking, Section 3 businesses, and more.
Furthermore, over 1,000 individuals have taken action from SCH’s outreach efforts, such as applying for senior housing, applying or updating housing assistance applications and creating Section 3 profiles in the CHA portal, which identifies low-income individuals who can benefit from HUD-financed employment and economic opportunities. To continue making a difference in Chicago’s diverse communities through this initiative, SCH plans to focus many of its marketing and outreach efforts towards increasing workshop attendance to educate and assist even more people in 2019.
“When we became a partner of the Community Alliance, we saw it as an opportunity to better connect individuals with cultural sensitivities and language barriers to CHA programs, as we offer bilingual, Spanish and English, services,” said Karla Valadez, CHA Project Coordinator, SCH. “We’ve clearly seen an increase in community participation of these programs since the program’s launch and gladly still offer these educational workshops in the communities.”
While the workshops are there for attendees to learn about available CHA programs, SCH also uses the sessions to learn about the residents within those communities. Within each session, SCH staff is able to personally meet with attendees to better learn about their specific needs and connect them to the valuable resources that they may need, such as financial education, foreclosure counseling or energy bill assistance. They understand that each individual is unique and treats every encounter with the attention it deserves.
“What I appreciate most about Spanish Coalition for Housing staff is that they really show they care. I am able to trust them,” said Israel Flores, SCH client. “I met Karla at one of the Senior Housing workshops, and since then she’s worked closely with me whenever I need help. She’s really gone the extra mile to help me understand everything when applying for disability and affordable housing. She even helped me download an app on my phone to help me keep track of my application status.”
Since the CHA opened its public housing and Project-Based Voucher waitlists this past December, SCH has consistently been assisting community members with registration. Understanding that applying for these waitlists can be a complicated process, SCH staff members invites anyone with questions or concerns to call, email or visit one of the three offices for dedicated assistance. (Main Office: 773-342-7575, 199 N. Pulaski Road; Pilsen Office: 312-850-2660, 1915 S. Blue Island; Southeast Office: 773-933-7575, 9010 S. Commercial).