7 Days, 328 Applications, 442 Calls
I have a story to share with you.
In the past week, KAC helped 328 low-income community members apply to get on the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) Section 8 Wait List. We had over 442 calls and met people from all walks of life.
From a Bronze medal veteran who was stationed not too far from where I grew up as a child to a senior citizen who lost touch with her children years ago, the stories we heard were inspiring, at times heartbreaking, and moving.
Yesterday was our last day supporting Section 8 applications for the community, and one of the last people we helped was a mother who walked in with her son. She was unable to speak so she wrote on a tablet to communicate with me, and I'd like to share with you her note (after receiving her permission to share):
"I'm unable to speak because I just received throat surgery. I'm concerned about my son, he's mentally challenged and hasn't been able to do anything for the past 25 years. I'm 78 years old and I worry about what will happen with rent prices increasing. Will you help us so that even when I pass on my son is able to get assistance with housing? I don't know what to do, we live together in a bachelor unit without a kitchen. Can you help us get into low income housing? Thank you. :)"
It took me a while to look up and meet her eyes, because I felt my heart tear and tears swelled in my eyes. As a son, I think about my own mother, never fully appreciating her sacrifices, the heartache I've put her through during my rebellious years, and often taking her love for granted.
We serve the community, because as hard as it is, these are the moments that inspire us to be a better community. These are the moments that ignite the fire to continue to advocate on behalf of the voiceless among us.
I would like to thank and acknowledge the 16 volunteers who dedicated themselves to making a difference last week: Kay Hwang, Peter Lee, Seung Yoo, Regina Suh, Yeena Lee, Sehwa Yoon, Aya Ichida, Shanna Lim, Jackie Kim, Mique Hwang, Genesis Nochez, Evette Kim, Yonah Hong, Susie Oh, Cristina Hwang, and Audrey Jang.
Thank you for supporting the Korean American Coalition and being a part of our community.
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Korean American Coalition-Los Angeles
In order to ensure the effective and meaningful representation of the Korean American community in our voting system, KAC's Executive Director Joon Bang has stepped up to co-chair the Los Angeles County Language Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Media Coverage: Radio Korea, Korea Herald, Korea Times
During the summer of 2017, KAC's Summer College Internship Program (SCIP) interns pioneered a project to address the issue of Korean homelessness in Koreatown. Today, you can see what they found in a documentary titled "Invisible Neighbors: Homelessness in Koreatown, Los Angeles." What they discovered is that there is NO data on how many Koreans are homeless in Los Angeles, but Koreans experiencing homelessness do exist. They are our invisible neighbors.
The documentary is only the beginning. These interns are now launching a campaign at invisibleneighbors.funraise.org to address the problem they've uncovered. Now, we need your support to make a difference.
The goal is to raise $6,000 to start creating change: $2,000 to support the "Joy Giver" shelter and $4,000 to fund two student stipends for the collection of data on Korean homelessness in Los Angeles over a 5-month period.
Help us give voice to the voiceless today!
Media Coverage: Radio Seoul, Korea Daily, Korea Times, YTN Radio, Radio Korea
Section 8 is a federal Housing Assistance program that provides eligible low-income households with the opportunity to live in privately-owned properties. Participants pay about 30% of their income towards rent with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) paying the rest of the contract rent to the landlord. The HACLA Section 8 Waiting List has been closed since 2004, but HACLA will be selecting another 20,000 names through a lottery system during a two-week period this year: October 16 to 29, 2017.
KAC recognizes that there is a portion of the Korean American community that is not English proficient and, despite their need for this program, faces language barriers in applying for the Section 8 Waiting List. Therefore, KAC will be opening its doors to provide bilingual application assistance in Korean and English from October 16 to 20, 2017 between 11am and 1pm at the KAC office.
KAC asks that community members take part in this initiative by joining us as volunteers between October 16 and 20, 2017 from 11am to 1pm. We need your support. You can make a difference by joining us during these five days.
To do your part to assist Korean American community members in need, sign up to volunteer at https://volunteerforsection8.eventbrite.com. Volunteers will be asked to bring their own laptops and take part in a 15 minute training before their scheduled volunteer date and time.
If you would like to request assistance with applying for the Section 8 waiting list, please contact the KAC office at 213-365-5999 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The KAC staff received Certificates of Recognition from the LAPD Olympic Division and the President's Volunteer Service Award from the Unification of Disabled Latin Americans (UDLA) today. Thank you, UDLA and Olympic Division!
KAC would like to thank the office of Senator Anthony Portantino for inviting KAC to take part in the "Find Your Voice - Korean American Youth and Parents Conference" and hosting this space for Korean American youth and parents to discuss well-being and civic engagement in our community.