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The city of San Francisco (15.1% Latino population) has long been a hub for the Latino community. However, as the city by the bay has grown in importance as one of the centers of the U.S. tech industry, many long-time Latino residents are struggling to keep up with the cost of living there.
A new organization has been formed to help serve the low-income Latino communities in the area connect to community resources. The San Francisco Latino Parity and Equity Coalition conducted a study of heavily Latino-populated neighborhoods in the city (including the Mission, Bayview, Tenderloin, and Visitacion Valley areas).
The coalition, which is made up of over a dozen groups, including the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Jamestown Community Center, the Mission Language and Vocational School, and the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), has also recommending adjusting city policy to address the needs of the low-income Latino community in a more efficient manner.
“Housing is fundamental to the stability of a family, but that many Latino families frequently face the awful choice of whether to pay for food or housing,” explained Mario Paz, the executive director of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center in an interview with Mission Local. “That is just unconscionable in one of the richest cities in the world.”
The group determined that Latinos in the area are more likely to visit the emergency room for preventable health conditions, are overburdened by rent, and that Latino children lag behind on several key educational areas.
To address these concerns, the Coalition began to petition the city government for funding for “targeted services, education, and outreach campaigns.”
An additional recommendation by the Coalition was to promote healthcare to the Latino community by educating them about options available to them, including Medi-Cal. The hope is that by understanding what is available through healthcare they can eliminate the emergency room visits.
The group is also focused on the growing obesity problem that is plaguing the Latino community. According to a study by the Coalition, this impacts over 70% of the Latinos in San Francisco. The group has asked for more bilingual nutritional information and education in schools and improving access to healthy food options.
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