Catholic Charities rounding up funding to support Latinos
Catholic Charities of Glenwood Springs has raised money that puts it on the road to taking over the work of the now-defunct Asistencia Para Latinos.
Director Tom Ziemann has raised $68,000 toward the $80,000 he needs to establish the program. He appealed to the Garfield County commissioners Monday for the $5,000 they budgeted for Asistencia before it shut its doors in September.
Asistencia assisted Latinos with immigration and advocacy issues.
Ziemann said the new services will continue Asistencia’s work. He said he plans to hire two advocates for offices in Glenwood Springs and Avon.
He will also hire a paralegal to handle immigration issues, beyond the level Asistencia offered, since Catholic Charities is federally certified.
“Asistencia provided some services without INS certification. They promoted themselves as that. Catholic Charities has done immigration service for 27 years and is certified by the Board of Immigration Appeals,” he said.
Catholic Charities has a full-time immigration attorney in Denver who will oversee the paralegal in the Glenwood office, he said.
In order to be awarded the money earmarked for Asistencia, Catholic Charities will have to apply for a grant to the county Human Services Commission. A grants committee will review the application and make a recommendation to the county commissioners, who ultimately approve or deny the request.
With a $25,000 grant from Eagle County already in hand, Ziemann is ready to hire an advocate for the Avon office. He said he is also close to being able to fund the paralegal position as well. He also plans to hire a bilingual receptionist.
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