Older Americans Month: Latino Empowerment
The Central Coast Centers for Independent Living (CCCIL) wanted to help residents at Sherwood Senior Housing in Salinas to understand the implications of the Affordable Care Act. What started out as a health academy has led the mostly Latino seniors group learning political empowerment. After two bad car-pedestrian accidents at an intersection they must cross regularly, the group contacted the City of Salinas and achieved important upgrades in the Bernal Drive and N. Main St. crosswalks. More crossing time was added with a countdown and chirping signal for pedestrians, and new Watch for Pedestrians signs were added for motorists. The group recently tested the new crosswalk with Public Works Engineer James Serrano.
“Now they know how to work with City Council members, and how to make presentations to the Planning Department,” CCCIL Executive Director Elsa Quezada said. “Now they want to take their show on the road and create leaders within other housing complexes.”
She said that the HIP California Age Wave grant allowed her agency to dedicate staff time to its Aging Latinos in Action (ALA) project. Central Coast Centers for Independent Living is part of a national network that provides advocacy, education and support to people who have disabilities, as well as their loved ones.
The nonprofit also benefited, Quezada said, from already having a relationship of trust with Sherwood Senior Housing’s administration and from being willing to listen to the concerns expressed by the older Latinos and understanding which barriers they most wanted to address.
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