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Special Initiatives

From the environment to economic empowerment, from health to hunger relief, the Federation seeks to improve the well-being of Latinos in every facet of life. Sometimes, this means addressing challenges that do not fit squarely within one of our core focus areas. However, If it is affecting the Latino community, the Federation is prepared and committed to act.

Currently, the special initiatives we are involved in are:

Mi Primera Casa/ My First Home

In the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, homeownership rates among Latinos in the United States began a long and steady decline. Since 2008, the gap in homeownership rates between households of color and whites has almost doubled. The wealth lost by Latino families—many of whom had most of their wealth tied to the value of their homes—during these years has been significant. Not only have individual Latinos found themselves in precarious financial straits, the communities in which they live have become less stable as well.

In order to address this crisis, in 2015 Hispanic Federation launched a new housing initiative, ¡Mi Primera Casa! or My First Home. In collaboration with the New York Urban League, Mi Primera Casa/My First Home is a public education campaign that encourages Latino homeownership, promotes opportunities to improve access to fair financing, and provides financial education to low-income and minority communities. In addition, the campaign advocates for increased access to credit, so that Black and Latino families, devastated by the economic and housing collapse of 2008, could once again start growing their individual and community assets.

For more information, contact Jose Dávila, Vice President for Policy and Government Relations.

Friends of Immigrant Refugee Minors (FIRM)

In 2014, the United States experienced a profound humanitarian crisis. Thousands of children—many of them unaccompanied by a parent or guardian—began to arrive at U.S. border with Mexico. Fleeing violence and hopelessness, these young people had endured long and often brutal journeys. Almost immediately, social media, newspapers and television news programs were filled with debate about the fate of the thousands of Latin American children who arrived at the U.S. border with Mexico in search of safety and security.

Hispanic Federation and its member agencies understood the need for a robust response to this humanitarian crisis. As the crisis unfolded, HF convened many of New York’s leading social service providers to lay out a roadmap of how best to help the children. At the same time, many of our member agencies provided health and educational services, offered legal counsel, and secured temporary housing. And in Albany and Washington, HF advocated for a humane and comprehensive state and federal response that guaranteed the children’s safety and wellbeing.

In the months after that initial crisis, many turned their attention away from the unaccompanied children. Hispanic Federation launched FIRM (Friends of Immigrant Minor Refugees) to ensure they not only continued to have access to the health and educational resources they need, but that they felt comfortable in their new home. FIRM events provide an opportunity for young people who have been through many hardships at a young age to be kids again, and to do so with others that have had similar experiences to them.

From hosting a special event for unaccompanied children with the legendary New York Cosmos soccer club to providing legal assistance, mental health services and housing, Hispanic Federation and its member agencies pledge to continue providing a helping hand.

For more information, contact Fryda Guedes, Program Coordinator for Immigration and Civic Engagement.

Disaster Relief Assistance

Disaster strikes randomly and without regard for the people affected. Imagine losing your home after a hurricane or receiving a call that a loved one is missing after a large-scale disaster. These are situations that we wish would not occur at all. But at the Hispanic Federation (HF), we stand ready to act and help during these times of urgent need. Latino victims affected by 9/11 and natural disasters in the Caribbean, Latin America and the U.S. have received millions of dollars in emergency assistance from HF. What’s more, we work with our family of Latino nonprofits to help affected families care for their loved ones and meet their basic needs.

For more information, contact Diana Caba, Director of Economic Empowerment.