Brings services together under one roof
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) --The Latino Community Association in Bend has expanded and moved into a new location that provides benefits for the organization and those it serves.
The organization was started about 20 years ago, and now has four locations in Central Oregon.
According to the latest census, the Latino population in Oregon grew by 30% over the past 10 years.
“Here in Bend, we finally achieved a space that’s almost 6,000 square feet. It has a community room for events and classes and child care,” Executive Director Brad Porterfield said Friday.
The new location, off NE Twin Knolls Drive, will allow all the services LCA offers to come together under one roof.
Prior to moving into the new building, some of the services offered by the association in Bend were held at different locations.
“Bringing it in house -- it creates a family environment, a community center environment, a culture of advancement, which we are promoting. It really helps our Latino families feel like they have a home,” Porterfield said.
The Latino Community Association provides resources such as American citizenship preparation programs and English language learning classes, which Oscar Gonzalez, the empowerment programs manager, says are crucial to the advancement of Latinos is the area.
“Many Latinos here in Central Oregon, unfortunately, are found out to still not have any immigration status," he said. "So they fall through the cracks, in being able to get whatever public service benefits are available to the rest of us, who are residents or U.S. citizens.”
Porterfield said some immigrants in the area are not reaching their full potential after moving to the U.S.
“Let’s say you have a nursing degree in the country you came from, you come here and you can’t work as a nurse, either because of immigration status or even if you have immigration status, your credentials are not recognized here,” Porterfield said.
He said he is trying to create a bridge for Latinos to thrive in the area.
“We’re under-utilizing the skills and capacities of so many immigrants here in Central Oregon, and it's unfortunate,” Porterfield said.
The Latino Community Association is looking for volunteers to help teach its English classes and computer education courses.