News for Amigos de Casa San José: Jan. 15, 2020

We were so pleased to see Casa featured in the Post-Gazette’s #LetsMakeaSEEN feature on Monday! Monica explained our mission eloquently – you can read it here.

Casa San Jose is part of a state-wide push to get undercounted populations to be counted in the census. We will be distributing these flyers to our community members, and then following up to help fill out the forms when they arrive. If you speak Spanish and are available to help, please call the office or email Katherine at interns@casasanjose.org.

In addition, the Census is looking to pay part-time workers up to $23 per hour. We would love to have Spanish speakers apply, so please share widely. Interested applicants can apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020.

URGENT:  Do you know of a house or apartment for our clients to rent who desperately need a more stable home?  This is a family of 3 adults and 3 children, preferably in East Liberty area but anywhere near a bus line is fine.  Rent approximately $900 plus utilities.  Contact Sr. Valerie at srvalerie@casasanjose.org.

We’ve begun our planning our annual fundraiser, Fiesta del Sol 2020! All skills and ideas are welcome – come join the team that creates this fun and community-building event that makes our mission possible. Please contact Sr. Karen at srkaren@casasanjose.org if you are interested.

At the start of the new year, we want to briefly look back at just some of our service achievements in 2019, and look forward to even more in 2020.

  • We addressed over 1000 requests for services, such as help finding housing, utilities, healthcare, schooling, legal advice, ESL, job searching, transportation, childcare, and much more.
  • We helped over 100 people affected by ICE detentions, including 7 people that we were able to help with our Bond Fund.
  • We expanded our summer camp to 2 sessions and provided summer educational opportunities for 40 children. We also hired 4 youth leaders to work there.
  • We trained 8 community leaders in leadership development and they will serve as an advisory committee for the board.
  • We knocked on over 3000 doors, held “know your rights” sessions and held 26 legal clinics throughout the year.
Casa joined the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and many other partners to celebrate the Fiesta de los Reyes Magos, with lots of food, kids’ activities, theater, music and community spirit.

We will soon be opening an office in Ambridge in a space and with support generously offered by the Good Samaritan Church, to serve the growing numbers of our community members in the Ambridge-Aliquippa-Cranberry area.

Casa San Jose is revving up our work to make sure every resident is counted in the 2020 Census. They started on Sunday when Sr. Janice spoke at the St. Catherine’s Church Spanish mass about the importance of participating and also alleviated fears of misuse of the data. We will soon have a new intern from the Coro Fellowship to help with this effort.

On Jan. 10, our director Monica Ruiz was sworn in as a new commissioner in Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, which advises the governor on policies and legislation that impact Latino communities. ¡Felicitaciones, Monica!

Many thanks to our generous supporters for enabling us to get a bigger van! Starting with $5000 in donations from our Christmas appeal, we purchased a used 12-passenger Ford Transit XLT, which has already been a blessing. Some of the uses are: taking parents and children to healthcare clinics, picking up food donations, delivering donated furniture and household goods, bringing advocates to government offices, taking our clients to obtain needed documents at consulates, transporting children to our programs, sports events, and museums. We can’t wait to use this for our summer day camp trips. It will be well utilized!

We had an amazing time at the 2nd Annual Charity Basketball Game this past Saturday. Funds from the event will help Hispanic youth access higher education. Thank you to the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Penn State Greater Allegheny for inviting the families!

We have new health care options for our community members who often have no insurance and who must wait until a crisis requires a visit to the emergency room – followed by enormous bills that drain meager budgets.

iHealth Clinic, opened this summer in East Liberty by Dr. Timothy Wong, does away with insurance requirements and offers a wide range of basic health services for a flat fee of $35 on a walk-in basis.  He also finds reasonably priced sources for medicine.  He has already treated a number of our clients (we accompany them to translate.)  Last week a father came to us, very anxious about his 11-year-old child with numbness on his right side.  We brought them to Dr. Wong, who examined the child, had tests done, diagnosed his Lyme disease, and put him on the appropriate medications (with discounted pricing), all in 2 days.  The boy felt better within a week.  Dr. Wong who did his residency at UPMC Shadyside, believes that everyone deserves decent healthcare, and is dedicated to providing an alternative to a system that discriminates against the poor and uninsured.  Many in our community will benefit from his practice.

Also, our long-time friend Dr. Diego Chaves-Gnecco, who for years has run a pediatric clinic in Pittsburgh for Spanish speakers, will soon open a mobile clinic in Beechview every Tuesday, very close to our office. 

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