Latino nonprofits are especially capable of overcoming barriers and aiding some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents, according to the Latino Legislative Caucus and Latino advocacy groups which called for fair funding of Latino nonprofit organizations during a press conference on Wednesday.
Along with State Sen. Andres Ayala (D-Bridgeport) and state Rep. Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven), speakers stressed the need for maintaining the Hispanic Human Development budgetary line item and for fully funding non-profit Latino agencies in Governor Malloy’s proposed 2014-15 budget.
Central to the concerns expressed at the event was the future of the Hispanic Human Development budgetary line item. For more than two decades, the line item has existed in the budget for the state Department of Social Services to recognize that many nonprofit community organizations face language and cultural barriers when serving Connecticut’s Latino population.
“Many families still struggle in this difficult economy, and it is critical that these non-profits are protected so that they can continue to provide the culturally and linguistically appropriate services that they are uniquely able to deliver,” Ayala said. “Families rely on the services that Latino nonprofits provide, and that is why we are standing in their defense today.”
“Safety Net programs and services are critical to the core foundation of support for low income and poor communities,” Candelaria said. “Although we fully understand that tough and painful decisions have to be made to balance our budget in these difficult times, we stand together to protect the already limited resources that have historically been allocated to our minority agencies. They simply won’t be able to survive and provide the vital services they offer to our most vulnerable families and citizens who desperately count on them.”
Legislators and advocates expressed concern that any budget cuts could shut down organizations that already operate on narrow budgets. They stressed the importance of maintaining the Hispanic Human Development line item, and maintaining funding for these vital non-profits.
“CAUSA is the largest network of frontline poverty agencies in the state; we serve so many with so little already, eliminating the Hispanic Human resource Development Program line item will cause enormous problems to the Latino community we serve,” said Magali Kupfer, board president of CAUSA.
“As Connecticut continues to recover from the largest recession in recorded history, LPRAC strongly recommends the state preserve funding for non-profit Latino agencies, which cannot endure future cuts,” said Werner Oyanadel, LPRAC Acting executive director.
Legislators spoke alongside representatives from the Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC) and the Connecticut Association for United Spanish Action (CAUSA