Sustainability Services

The Sustainability Services department empowers clients to become self-sufficient through benefit access, economic development, and financial planning while providing opportunities for community engagement.

The Sustainability Services Department provides newly-arriving, low-to-moderate income, limited English proficient AAPI adults and their dependents with linguistically and culturally accessible services across Northeast Ohio.

Our team of bilingual caseworkers can provide culturally appropriate assistance to our clients so they get on a path to self-sufficiency. Team members are located in Akron and Cleveland and comprehensive, professional case management services. We offer services such as vocational skills training, supportive counseling, job placement, and retention services, and much more.

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Sustainability Services Programs

Promoting Self-Sufficiency and Growth in the Community

AFEO

Apex Fund for Economic Opportunities

MICROENTERPRISE LOANS

AFEO is a microenterprise lending program meant to promote small business startups in Northeast Ohio.

AFEO logo

This will help expand economic opportunities in the Akron area. It will address the types of barriers that prevent low-income entrepreneurs from accessing conventional loan capital.

Microloans can be used for:

  • Working capital
  • Inventory or supplies
  • Furniture or fixtures
  • Machinery or equipment

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO APPLY:

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

AFEO Flyer | Program Information

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Asset Building

FINANCIAL COUNSELING FOR HOMEOWNERS & TENANTS

Asian Services In Action is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) housing certified agency, and provides a multitude of pre and post-housing counseling, foreclosure prevention and rental counseling assistance.

ASSET BUILDING PROGRAMS

Financial Capability

ASIA offers credit building with financial coaching to help support individuals with building a budget, reviewing credit, developing a personalized plan to help reduce debt and improve credit scores, opening a checking or saving account, opening an individual develop account, money management and more. Individuals also can be helped to apply for a zero-interest loan through ASIA’s Lending Circles program* or Secure Credit Card to establish a credit history or improve their credit score. 

These programs aim to increase the financial literacy of our clients. These services are free, convenient and available in multiple languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Hmong, Burmese, Nepalese and other Asian languages.

For more information, please contact Rachel Chen at rchen@asiaohio.org

* If you are interested in learning about the Lending Circle program, you may visit LendingCircles.org. Lending Circles℠ is a social loan program managed by the Mission Asset Fund (MAF).

Home Ownership

As a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing certified agency, ASIA provides HUD-approved counseling services within a culturally and linguistically-appropriate curriculum in order to teach and guide individuals and families to better track their income and expenses, plan budgets, build equity and make responsible purchases.

Our counselors and financial advisors offer both one-on-one consultations and group workshops providing the knowledge and tools needed for clients to make sound decisions, improve the management of their finances and realize their financial goals. We help clients at all stages of financial knowledge: from opening a bank account for the first time to establishing credit and savings to purchasing a first home, from building credit to understanding the costs of homeownership and preventing foreclosure.  All these services are offered free of charge.

The following services are offered in Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Hmong, Korean and other Asian languages:

  • Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops
  • Financial Management/Budget Counseling
  • Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops
  • Pre-purchase Counseling
  • Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops
  • Rental Housing Counseling
  • Rental Housing Workshops
  • Foreclosure Prevention Counseling

For more information, please contact Rachel Chen at rchen@asiaohio.org.

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ETIC

Earned Income Tax Credit

TAX PREPARATION SERVICES THROUGH ASIA

ASIA, Inc. offers free tax preparation service for low-and-moderate income working families across Cuyahoga County. Our Cleveland site will also have interpreters for those whose primary language isn’t English. Services will be provided from mid-January through April – contact us for more details.

Our tax preparers have been trained to ensure high-quality tax preparation to hardworking families an alternative to paid preparers, many of whom assess high filing fees and expensive refund advancement products. Our tax preparers are here to help you. With quality customer service and interpreters on-site who speak Mandarin and Cantonese, our team will walk you through the entire process so that valuable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are claimed when a filer qualifies.

Schedule your appointment today! Ask for Joyce or Ivy.

MORE TAX PREPARATION INFORMATION

More About the Earned Income Credit

ASIA, Inc. is a member of the Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition (CEITCC) as part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that promotes economic prosperity by helping low-income families make use of the earned income tax credit (EITC) and other asset building programs. The EITC is the largest, most effective poverty relief program in the country. It is designed to fill the gap between what low-wage workers earn and what is required to meet the basic needs of their families by providing an increase to their income with a refundable tax credit.

Working families with incomes below $41,646 and childless workers with incomes under $15,880 often qualify. Generally, you must have earned income as an employee, independent contractor, farmer or business owner to qualify. Taxpayers under the minimum retirement age who receive disability payments from an employer plan may also be eligible.

If filing… Qualifying Children Claimed
Zero One Two Three or more
Single, Head of Household or Widowed $15,270 $40,320 $45,802 $49,194
Married Filing Jointly $20,950 $46,010 $51,492 $54,884
ASIA Tax Preparation Flyer

Giftbags

Food Pantry

AND EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE

ASIA’s Emergency Food Assistance and Food Pantry is OPEN. Families or individuals are eligible. If you need food, please call our office.

For more information, please contact Summer Xiayi Tan at 216-881-0330 ext 8819 or xiayi@asiaohio.org or Ama Kamar at 330-535-3263 ext 5326 or akamar@asiaohio.org.

FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE Contact us today:

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ESOL

English for Speakers of Other Languages

CLASSES & RESOURCES

The Asian Services in Action office in Akron is an official site for FREE ESOL classes offered by Project Learn of Summit County.

ESOL CLASS INFO & ARCHIVE

Class Schedule | Check back for updates

Schedule info will be updated when it is available. You can also check for news on the Project Learn website.

News Release | Akron Children’s Hospital Residents Connect with Southeast Asian Refugees at ASIA

AKRON—Since 2012, residents from Akron Children’s Hospital have been visiting ASIA to connect with members of Akron’s Southeast Asian refugee community.  These visits became part of Akron Children’s residency program in response to the rising volume of immigrant and refugee patients at the hospital, particularly at the emergency room and Locust Pediatrics Care Group.  The residents participate in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes taught at ASIA by Dr. Mary Dee.  This experience allows residents to better understand and serve limited English-proficient (LEP) patients.   Meanwhile, the students gain insight into how to best communicate with health providers.

The partnership began when Akron Children’s staff contacted Sandy Lin, manager of ASIA’s Interpretation and Translation Services.  “They were familiar with me because I help provide medical interpreters [to Akron Children’s],” said Mrs. Lin.  “When they were looking to send their residents somewhere, of course I thought of Mary’s class.”

When they arrive at ASIA’s Akron office, residents are briefed on ASIA’s programs and services before joining the ESOL class.  The majority of ASIA’s ESOL students are refugees from the Mon and Karen ethnic minorities of Myanmar (formerly Burma) and the Hmong ethnic minority of Laos.  While the residents may simply observe, Dr. Dee always invites them to present impromptu on certain health topics or conduct mock office visits with the students.  “These activities give the students an opportunity to apply their communication and listening skills.  They help make visits to a doctor’s office less intimidating,” said Dr. Dee, adding, “And it gives the residents a chance to interact with the students and to be aware of the challenges they face. Overall, it is a win-win partnership.”

During her Monday, January 14, visit to ASIA’s ESOL class, Dr. Katherine Prowse raised students’ awareness of the severe flu season by presenting on flu prevention, tips in the treatment of young children, and the differences between cold and flu symptoms.  Dr. Todd Jacobs and Dr. Dan Smith made a similar presentation on Monday, January 28.  Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Smith also taught the students how to characterize pain to health providers and identify abnormal symptoms in their children.

The interaction between the residents and the students is important to improving communication skills on both sides.  Immigrant and refugee community members build confidence using English to ask questions of and describe health issues to their doctors.  For their part, physicians better grasp the need to check especially carefully for patient comprehension.  “Being here reminded me that I need to get a feel for what [an LEP patient ] understands before I start talking,” said Dr. Jacobs, adding, “It’s good to see this ESOL class raising awareness of the health system, and good to know that we can refer patients to this resource [ASIA].”

Dr. Smith stressed the importance of empowering patients to ask questions, saying that many immigrant and refugee patients do not speak up when they do not understand their doctor.  “Encouraging them to ask questions is the one thing I would emphasize the most.”

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HAPI Fresh

Healthy Asian Pacific Islander Fresh Program

ORGANIC FARM & MARKET

The Healthy Asian Pacific Islander Fresh Program (HAPI Fresh) Farm is a four-acre, USDA organic certified farm committed to producing high-quality vegetables at an affordable price.

HAPI-Fresh-logo-with-Farmers_-Market

HAPI Fresh Farm provides job and training opportunities for refugees whose age and limited English proficiency pose employment barriers.

Located on the Schmidt Family Farm in Medina, Ohio, the HAPI Fresh Farm was established in 2009. We work with limited English proficient individuals from Africa, Bhutan, and Burma to enhance and supplement their farming skills for the purpose of self-sufficiency.

The program provides agricultural job training through farming and management education while providing healthy, locally-grown ethnic produce to Northeast Ohioans. HAPI Fresh refugee farmers bring unique expertise, a strong work ethic, and resilient spirit to our community. The farmers practice cover crops, soil fertilization, crop rotation, and more. Annually, our farmers participate at farmers’ markets, including five Cleveland area markets.

The program is funded by Cuyahoga County’s Refugee Employment and Training Services, United Way of Great Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation and USDA. Ultimately, HAPI Fresh helps participants by reducing or even eliminating employment barriers and improving literacy and employment-related skills.

ADDITIONAL MARKET INFORMATION

Market Details | 2020 Season

Location: 381 Ontario St., Akron, OH 44310 
Season: July 8 to September 30, 2020
Time: Every Wednesday from 4pm-7pm

Available vegetables:

  • Beets
  • Lettuce Mix Red Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Green Onions      
  • Snow Peas            
  • Parsley                  
  • Homaz
  • Cilantro
  • Mustard Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Kale (limited)
  • Spinach        
  • Pumpkin Leaves (limited)

WE ACCEPT: cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, WIC & Senior Vouchers, SNAP/EBT (we match $1 for $1 to $20 per customer)

For more information, contact Malissa Xiong at
mxiong@asiaohio.org or 330-535-3262 Ext. 5313

Market Flyer | 2020 Season

Video Highlight | Refugee/Immigrant Agricultural Project of Northeast Ohio
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Newcomers

Family Support Center

Support Services for New Families

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.

CORE PROGRAM COMPONENTS

Employment Assistance
  • 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)
  • Work-ready computer and adult literacy classes
  • Pre-employment training, one-on-one coaching
  • Retention and wage progression support
  • Employer development (assist employer to identify benefits and strategies to hire viable newcomer workforce)
Family Stabilization
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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.
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Passport Photos

AVAILABLE THROUGH ASIA INC.

ASIA is now providing passport photo services at both our Cleveland and Akron locations. Please contact us to confirm this service is available during the pandemic.

亞洲民眾服務協會即日起推出護照相片拍攝服務.

每份 2 張,只需美金$ 8.

預約拍照,請撥打 (216) 881-0330 (克利夫兰德处) 或 (330) 535-3263 (阿克伦处).

The cost is just $8.00 for two photos. To make an appointment, please call (216) 881-0330 in Cleveland or (330) 535-3263 in Akron.

LOCATIONS

克利夫兰德处 | Cleveland Office

3631 Perkins Ave., Ste. 2A-W
Cleveland, OH 44114

阿克伦处 | Akron Office

730 Carroll Street
Akron, OH 44304

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Public Notary

and IRS Taxpayer Representative

TAX PREPARATION SERVICES THROUGH ASIA

ASIA offers public notary and IRS taxpayer representative services at a nominal cost. Our public notary staff are credentialed by the State of Ohio.

AKRON

Chandra Ghalley

CLEVELAND

Summer Tan

The cost of notarization is $2.00/per document. Document translation is also available. For a price quote, please contact Ching Lo, clo@asiaohio.org

We have an IRS Taxpayer Representative on staff who is able to represent clients at IRS hearings regarding disputes and issues related to the clients federal taxes.  This service is offered on a sliding scale.

Helping families develop roots in Northeast Ohio.