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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Latino Community Development Agency is opening a new location in the Historic Capitol Hill District during Hispanic Heritage Month.

The new extension of the LCDA replaced what used to be the newsroom and offices of the local Spanish-language publication El Nacional de Oklahoma before they moved into a different building nearby.

The building on the southwest corner of the intersection between South Harvey Avenue and Southwest 25th street is becoming an extension of one of the largest agencies that operates south of the river.

The location will offer services for the Hispanic community in the metro area. The new extension will focus on health services, economic development, family support, school counseling and financial literacy.

The agency has been serving the Hispanic and Latino community in OKC and recently celebrated their 30th birthday with a luncheon.

During the luncheon held on Wednesday September 22, Mayor David Holt praised the Latino community in OKC and the LCDA’s effort in helping the city grow together. 

According to the 2019 U.S Census Bureau, Hispanics or Latinos occupy the second largest racial or ethnic group amassing 11.1% of the Oklahoma population.

To learn more: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/OK

“Great agency”

Lissette Valle, single mom Latina born and raised in Oklahoma City, trusts the agency’s daycare program with her two kids. Both of them attend Tony Reyes Bilingual Child Development Center.

“It is such a great agency. They do a lot and they really care and are genuine, making sure everyone is okay,” Valle told Free Press. 

The agency’s 26 programs cover a wide variety of needs specific to the Hispanic and Latino community in Oklahoma. For more information about all the LCDA programs visit their website: https://lcdaok.com/

LCDA Health Department

Yuliana Reyes has overseen the LCDA’s Health Department for more than 5 years. Reyes and the Health Department are moving into the new location. 

The HIV and STD program is funded by the Oklahoma State Health Department and offers counseling, testing, prevention and treatment. 

Furthermore, the nutrition program funded and guided by Unidos US assists families with food coupled with 9 hours of nutrition education. From Calle Dos Cinco, the LCDA will offer help with the enrollment of people to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. For more information on SNAP in Oklahoma visit: https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/snap.html

All Health Department programs are 100% free and all the staff is bilingual -Spanish and English-. The department also offers a health care navigator that can assist with SoonerCare and Marketplace Insurance enrollments. 

Other programs

LCDA President Dr. Raul Font is in charge of the rest of the programs offered in the new extension on Capitol Hill. 

The agency is helping the OKC youth through its school counseling program, especially since Covid had a major impact on kids and their day-to-day lives. Taking a gap year and helping parents run the family’s business through dire times, are examples of the pandemic’s pressure onto OKC families and youth.

The scholarship program, which has already given out 650 million dollars to Latino college students, is set to expand as funding grows. 

Both youth-centered programs will be overseen within the new Capitol Hill extension. 

Dr. Font is also coordinating the economic development program and the family support program which aids members of the community who encounter difficulties in meeting basic human needs.

By offering clothing, food, help with rent and utilities, assistance in finding jobs, and whatever else might come up, both programs look to empower Latino families who are struggling to make ends meet amid the coronavirus crisis.

Funding new programs

The agency continues to look for more funding. The LCDA already spent $300,000, given by their partners as Covid relief, which went directly into the community with food, clothing and other basic necessities.

The funding for some of the newer programs originated from three proposals submitted by Dr. Font recently. 

The first proposal, already accepted by the Hispanic Federation, gave the LCDA $50 million. Half of that money will supply a food pantry and the other half will go to the LCDA scholarship program.

The second proposal was submitted to the National League of Cities as an effort to get funding to help small business owners gain and develop financial literacy. 

Last year, the U.S. government offered economic covid relief for small business owners. However, small business owners, especially minority-owned, struggle with the upkeep of records required to access relief funds.

The headquarters of the LCDA, 420 SW 10th, in the Riverside community near Little Flower Catholic Church (La Floricita) will continue to provide mental health services to the community. (PABLO ANGULO-GONZALEZ/Okla City Free Press)

Hence, the LCDA will offer free training to small business owners so they can have better financial documentation, overall understanding of financial management and bookkeeping needed to access governmental aid.

The last proposal was submitted to three agencies altogether. The proposal, sent to the National League of Cities, the Greater Chamber of OKC and the OKC Alliance of Economic Development, will help develop programs that encourage members of the Latino community to enter job fields where they are needed by elevating their qualifications. 

Banks, hospitals, health care systems and human resources are in need of professional bilinguals who can assist and communicate efficiently with the community. 

The agency will still operate from its main headquarters just south of the river east of South Walker Avenue and the new extension will help alleviate the burden of serving approximately 40 thousand clients every year.

The older main building and headquarters of the LCDA will focus on mental health assistance for the community. 

Last Updated September 26, 2021, 10:35 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor