Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Conference to explore services for Hispanics

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Officials from the education, housing and health care fields will meet today to discuss the needs of the Tristate's fast-growing Hispanic population, and ways to be more culturally sensitive and responsive to that ethnic group.

        Su Casa Hispanic Ministry Center, sponsor of the inaugural half-day Hispanic Collaborative Conference in Carthage, also invited social and public service groups to discuss ways the agencies can collaborate to provide services for Hispanics.

        Sister Margarita M. Brewer, director of Su Casa, said the Hispanic community is underserved. “The biggest problem is the language (barrier), besides the culture, of course,” Sister Brewer said. “If you can communicate, you can do a lot of things. Even paying a telephone bill; they get the bill and they don't know what they have to do.

        “We are not prepared in Cincinnati for the influx of Hispanics. The agencies that provide service, they cannot provide services for them because they don't know the language,” she said.

        Census figures show that Hamilton County's Hispanic population jumped from 5,198 in 1990 to 9,514 in 2000. The figures also shot up to more than 7,900 in neighboring Butler, Clermont and Warren counties.

        And, Sister Brewer says, “Those numbers are not even close to the number of people that we know are in the area.”

        Among those invited to the conference: Cincinnati Councilman John Cranley; Karla Irvine, executive director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal; and Cincinnati Fire Chief Robert Wright.

        Founded in 1997, Su Casa offers a range of social services for the Greater Cincinnati Hispanic community.


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