EUREKA – Hundreds of people in Humboldt County sleep outside every night. Cooperation Humboldt, a local social change organization, believes that health and housing are human rights. On August 24, 2021, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors awarded an Emergency Grants Program (ESG) grant for Emergency Solutions (ESG) of $ 404,601 through the Department of Health and Human Social services at the Humboldt Cooperation Street outreach project.
Over the past several months, Cooperation Humboldt community health workers have spoken to homeless residents to build relationships and listen to people’s ideas, concerns and stories. These conversations are the first step in Cooperation Humboldt’s human-centered design process – involving those served in the design of their own solutions. With funding from the ESG grant, Cooperation Humboldt will conduct a needs assessment of each person enrolled in the program, and then work with each person to create an individualized, client-focused plan to address that person’s urgent physical needs as well as those on the list. other needs. They will then put these residents in touch with available housing and health resources and support them throughout the housing search process. Cooperation Humboldt plans to train and employ several program participants as peer community health workers to participate in this work.
The street awareness project was started by Eureka City Council member Leslie Castellano. Castellano is also part of the Cooperation Humboldt care and wellness team.
âThere is a great need in Humboldt and Eureka County for innovative, people-centered approaches for the well-being of the community. I deeply appreciate the community health worker model and am delighted to support this work. As a society, we must continually strive to meet the changing needs of our community in such a way that we offer brilliant possibilities for what is possible, âsaid Castellano.
The project is part of Cooperation Humboldt’s larger community health worker (CHW) collaboration. Using a human-centered design approach with support from ThinkPlace, they co-develop and implement programs with direct participation and leadership within the communities they serve, ultimately leading to the development of organizations. independent, self-governing and self-managed non-profit organizations.
The collaboration of community health workers has already fostered the development of two independent groups of community health workers: the New Rising Hmong association and the Comunidad Unida del Norte de Arcata (CUNA – âcradleâ in Spanish).
New Rising Hmong Association is a group of Hmong women establishing a non-profit organization in Eureka. The group was formed to better connect individuals from the Hmong community to health and social services. Lindsay McCovey, a member of the Native American Pathways CHW Collaborative, serves as their mentor, sharing her experience of building an organization with similar goals on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. McCovey works with Cooperation Humboldt Community Health Officer Sabrina Miller to support the continued development of New Rising.
Christina Vang, founding member of New Rising, said, âWhat attracted me is to make positive changes in our community and strive for excellence because I see that even though the Hmong community is in the America for over 30 years, we’re always late, and I just want to see us move forward because I know we can do better.
Yanly Yang, founding member of New Rising, said it was important to her that Hmong residents “don’t lose sight of who we are, but can improve our education and knowledge, and then go from there by connecting young people with older. generation. The more dispersed and disconnected we are, the more we lose our language, culture and religion. “
Mai Chang, founding member of New Rising, said, âI focus more on young people because they are the future. We have to be sure to connect the young with the older generation so that our culture is not lost. “
To the question âWhat inspires you? Lindsay McCovey of Native American Pathways, a member of the Hoopa Valley tribe and descendant of the Yurok and Chimariko tribes, said, “I strive to be a resource for Indigenous people by connecting them with services that support their lives. well-being and their success. And I know our community is resilient, and together we’ll come out stronger than before. “
CUNA was formed in response to the need for Latino-led community organization and advocacy to address the unmet needs of people living in the Western Arcata Valley region. Their long-term goal is to open a community / family resource center in Valley West, possibly on the Laurel Tree Charter School campus, once the school moves to its new location in McKinleyville.
CHW collaboration partner Lucy Salazar de Cumbre Humboldt and Oscar Mogollon, member of the Humboldt Care Cooperation team, coordinate the group.
According to Salazar, âA large number of minority and disadvantaged residents live in the unserved northern part of Arcata. A resource center in Valley West with Spanish-speaking staff would help meet the many needs of these hard-working families and individuals: social services, food distribution, and educational and recreational opportunities.