The Newcomers Family Support Center is a program that provides newly-arriving low-income Asian Americans adults (including their dependents) with linguistically and culturally accessible employment assistance and family stabilization services in the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than 35,900 Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) – majority of them immigrants and refugees – reside within Cuyahoga County with the largest Asian American population in Cleveland (12% of the total Cuyahoga County’s Asian American population). In addition, Cuyahoga County has seen a 67% growth rate of Asian Americans compared to the national average of 44%. Among Asian Americans there are over 23 languages and dialects spoken (just within the Chinese communities there are over a dozen dialects, each unique and distinctive). Witin the population over 40% are considered limited English proficient and 2/3 are from low- to moderate- income households.
Due to unique language and cultural barriers, low-income Asian Americans in Cuyahoga County have trouble finding jobs, do not make consistent income progression associated with job promotions and new opportunities, lack limited basic work skills and knowledge especially if they are arriving from developing worlds (hygiene, resume writing, etc.), have trouble navigating the County’s social service system to stabilize their families, and know little or nothing about western concept of personal asset building.
The Newcomers Family Support Center strives to assist people to move further along the path of self-sufficiency and financial independence. The program is comprised of two core components:
o Basic or remedial skills support (many of our clients come from developing worlds with little understanding of personal hygiene and western standards of work ethic such as being on time)
o Work-ready computer and adult literacy classes
o Pre-employment training, one-on-one coaching
o Retention and wage progression support
o Employer development (assist employer to identify benefits and strategies to hire viable newcomer workforce)
o Assists consumers to access low- income benefits such as medical benefits, supplemental nutrition assistance program, emergency food, childcare assistance, home energy assistance program, telephone bill assistance, water affordability program, housing rental, WIC, EITC, income tax preparation, and SSI
o Enroll dependents both children and aging family members into programs and services in the county and at ASIA (e.g. Community Adult Mentoring, an afterschool tutoring program and Golden Bridges, service coordination program for older adults)
o Assist individuals and families to build assets to purchase first home, buy a car for work, save for post-secondary education, or to start a small-business.
In 2005 ASIA completed the first ever Asian American Cuyahoga County Community Needs Assessment (which was generously funded by the Cleveland Foundation). Two of the key recommendations were:
o to support a comprehensive program that addresses the self-sufficiency and acculturation needs of Asian Americans
o to ensure greater utilization of services currently available by low-income, limited English speaking Asian American population in the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.