Posts By :

dcba

Community Navigators to Connect LA County Immigrants to Critical Services 150 150 dcba

Community Navigators to Connect LA County Immigrants to Critical Services

Finding accurate and up-to-date information from trusted sources is a challenge for many Immigrants in Los Angeles County. Despite the devastating impact of the 2020 economic crisis on immigrant households, new research from the Urban Institute demonstrates that 1 out of 4 adults in low-income immigrant families avoided government benefit programs and other assistance because of immigration concerns. The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), part of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, is rising to the challenge to deliver critical information directly to LA County’s immigrants through a new, groundbreaking private-public initiative.

Through the Immigrant Essential Workers Public Charge Outreach and Education Program, the OIA will partner with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) to train and deploy a cohort of trusted, culturally and linguistically competent community navigators. These navigators will educate the community about accessing LA County services and how use of these vital resources relates to the federal government’s public charge rules.

The Community Navigators program is funded by a grant from Blue Shield of California Foundation, with critical support from Weingart Foundation and California Community Foundation.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen how important it is for residents, regardless of immigration status, to receive information in a culturally linguistic and competent manner through the Promotores program,” shared Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Hilda L. Solis. “I am confident the Community Navigators program can achieve that same level of success and create a positive impact by increasing access to essential County services in a culturally sensitive way.”

“All immigrants and their families deserve to be safe and comfortable when accessing the County resources they need,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “We’re proud to provide this program to help vulnerable communities during these challenging times.”

“Years of surviving and fighting immigrant-bashing, as well as multiple deportations, have fostered understandable fear among our immigrant neighbors, with the result that 1 in 4 are reluctant to apply for services to which they are entitled,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Every immigrant in LA County has the right to receive resources, regardless of immigration status. That’s why this program is so important. It creates a safe space so that people who would greatly benefit from services can take advantage of them without fear.”

“The economic challenges of the past 18 months have affected people in all walks of life, including immigrants in Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Available programs are there to provide help, but only if people feel safe and secure enough to access them. This initiative should help immigrants bridge that gap and get the boost they need.”

“By wisely leveraging public-private partnerships, I applaud County departments, agencies and partner organizations for stepping up to provide critical assistance to vulnerable communities while we collaboratively maintain fiscal responsibility for all of our residents,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

“Educating the community is a critical component of our department’s mission,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director, LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “We are thrilled to bring together a partnership from public, private, and nonprofit sectors to provide the best, most reliable education to our County’s most vulnerable.”

“Fear runs deep in immigrant communities about using County support services,” said Rigo Reyes, Executive Director, LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs. “These trusted community-based navigators are essential to heal immigrants’ concerns and help them access the services they and their families need.”

“Too many California communities are facing the compounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration policy changes,” said Carolyn Wang Kong, Chief Program Director at Blue Shield of California Foundation. “Wherever possible, we need to support trusted community messengers in bringing accurate, actionable information to communities who need it most, so that they can access the public benefits for which they are eligible and that can help ensure healthier futures.”

“We are so pleased to partner with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs office in order to better assist immigrant families access the services and programs available to them. At a time when so many people feel forgotten and alone, our navigators will bring hope and guidance thanks to this well-thought and proactive initiative,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director.

“It is crucial for us to protect our immigrant communities,” said Miguel A. Santana, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “Many immigrants are frontline workers, healthcare professionals, and domestic and agriculture workers who have sustained our region throughout the pandemic. That’s why we’re proud to support LA County’s new Community Navigator program, which will help immigrant communities access vital safety net programs during this challenging time.”

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state’s largest and most trusted grantmaking organizations. Our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. For more information, visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org.

Office of Immigrant Affairs Welcomes Artist Phung Huynh as Creative Strategist 150 150 dcba

Office of Immigrant Affairs Welcomes Artist Phung Huynh as Creative Strategist

The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs is honored to welcome celebrated artist Phung Huynh to the department as Creative Strategist for the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) as part of the Creative Strategist Program administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture.

Phung Huynh is a Los Angeles-based artist and educator whose art practice focuses on drawing, painting, and public art. Her work explores cultural perception and representation. Known for exploring the complexities of Southeast Asian refugee communities through drawings that include the iconic pink donut box, Huynh will apply her artistic practice and her own experience as a refugee and immigrant to her work with OIA staff on strategies to build trust and increase participation in LA County support services.

Phung Huynh

Phung Huynh, Photo by City of Los Angeles COLA program

“The talents of immigrant artists have helped to make Los Angeles County the nation’s creative capital,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “Phung Huynh’s work speaks to the immigrant story and makes a perfect match to help the Office of Immigrant Affairs celebrate the contributions of immigrants that make LA County a vibrant and welcoming place for all.”

“It’s an honor to welcome Phung Huynh and her impressive artistry and ideas into our Office of Immigrant Affairs,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “We extend our gratitude to the Department of Arts and Culture for selecting OIA as a place where art can help us better engage and serve those who have made Los Angeles their home.”

“Artists have the power to inspire and advance belonging and identity in communities. The Creative Strategist Program brings that power and creative problem solving into the service sector,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Department of Arts and Culture. “We believe that this cross-sector partnership with the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the amazing, community-minded Phung Huynh will find innovative ways to build more access to arts and cultural resources for immigrants in Los Angeles County.”

“The role of artist is deeply connected to the role of cultural builder who serves the community,” said Huynh. “Intentional engagement and making art through a social justice lens are central to my practice, as well as my commitment to immigrant communities, women’s issues, and BIPOC solidarity. As an artist, educator, mother, and activist, I hope that when people engage with my work, they are positively impacted and rethink their relationships with their own communities and what sort of impact they can make.”

The Creative Strategist program is a recommendation of the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, which is implemented by the Department of Arts and Culture. The program places artists and creative professionals in residence at a County agency, applying artistic practices towards the development of innovative solutions to complex social challenges.

In addition to her new assignment with OIA, Huynh has been commissioned with other County public art projects and recently earned a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Individual Artist Fellowship through LA City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. As one of 14 COLA fellows, Huynh’s works are currently being featured virtually at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

Many Immigrants Eligible to Apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program 150 150 dcba

Many Immigrants Eligible to Apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program

If a loved one has died this year because of COVID-19—even if the deceased was undocumented—you might be eligible to receive financial help for their funeral expenses.

Los Angeles County residents can now apply through FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program. To be eligible for funeral assistance, LA County residents must meet all of these FEMA established conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified non-citizen who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.

LA County encourages eligible applicants to call FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Line at 844-684-6333 between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, or visit FEMA.gov for additional information.

FEMA COVID Funeral info in EnglishFEMA COVID Funeral info in SpanishFEMA COVID Funeral info in KoreanFEMA COVID Funeral info in Chinese

DCBA Investigation Leads to $10.5 Million Settlement for Latino Immigrant Consumers Harmed by Major Retailer 150 150 dcba

DCBA Investigation Leads to $10.5 Million Settlement for Latino Immigrant Consumers Harmed by Major Retailer

From March 9, 2021

Extensive, years-long investigative work by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) assisting the Office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has resulted in a $10.5 million partial settlement against Los Angeles-based retailer Curacao for business practices that unlawfully harmed primarily Spanish-speaking immigrant consumers and their families.

The settlement resolves multiple allegations included in a 2017 lawsuit filed by the Attorney General against Adir International, the parent company of Curacao, and its owner Ron Azarkman. The lawsuit alleged that Curacao lured in customers by advertising low prices and easy credit, then informed those consumers they could only buy at the advertised price after purchasing ancillary accessories, warranties, or installation services. In other cases, Curacao added items to payment contracts without the customers’ knowledge.

DCBA investigators spent hundreds of hours interviewing dozens of Curacao’s affected customers, nearly all of whom are Latino immigrants with low incomes who communicate primarily in Spanish, to collect and provide crucial evidence to support the Attorney General’s lawsuit and eventual settlement.

“Immigrants in Los Angeles County, particularly those whose primary language is something other than English, face significant challenges every day. The least they can expect is to be treated fairly and lawfully by businesses that serve and market to them in their preferred language,” said DCBA Director Rafael Carbajal. “We are pleased that the Attorney General has secured relief for consumers who need it most, and that we were able to play our part to help keep the marketplace fair for both consumers and businesses which properly follow the law.”

If you believe you’ve been a victim of unlawful practices by any business, please contact DCBA at (800) 593-8222 or file a complaint online at dcba.lacounty.gov. DCBA provides free, one-on-one support for all residents of Los Angeles County and customers of Los Angeles County businesses.

As part of the Attorney General’s announcement, Curacao must provide $10 million in debt relief for consumers who were harmed by their conduct. The settlement also includes additional debt forgiveness for customers who are still paying Curacao for unlawful small claims judgments, plus $500,000 in civil penalties. The settlement also includes injunctive terms requiring Curacao to comply with California law and treat its customers fairly and ethically. Those terms include:

  • Curacao stores will prominently display a consumers’ bill of rights;
  • Curacao must sell items as they are advertised, and must provide additional disclosures in its advertising;
  • Senior management will review Curacao’s advertising for compliance with the court judgment;
  • Curacao must fully disclose all material contract terms before asking customers to sign contracts;
  • Curacao must provide customers with a contract in their language before asking them to sign;
  • Debt collection efforts will be limited to one phone communication per day with delinquent consumers;
  • Curacao will stop debt collection activities against, and clear the credit records for, consumers who had default judgments entered against them in unlawful small claims actions;
  • A corporate ethics expert will help Curacao create and maintain an effective sales incentive, compliance, and ethics program that incentivizes lawful behavior, and that includes annual ethical culture surveys and assessments; and
  • Curacao will regularly report its compliance to the Attorney General for several years and provide access to its records for review.

The settlement is a stipulated judgment that resolves part of the state’s lawsuit against Curacao. Unresolved claims related to Curacao’s illegal payment protection plans and insurance practices will be tried in Los Angeles Superior Court.

 

Investigación de DCBA concluye en un acuerdo de $ 10.5 millones para consumidores inmigrantes latinos perjudicados por un comerciante popular

El Fiscal General de California Llega a un Acuerdo Parcial Con Curacao en Una Demanda Alegando Múltiples Prácticas Comerciales Ilegales

Una investigación extensa, tras años de trabajo del Departamento de Servicios para Consumidores y Negocios del Condado de Los Ángeles (DCBA) asistiendo a la Oficina del Fiscal General de California, Xavier Becerra, ha dado como resultado un acuerdo parcial de $ 10.5 millones. contra Curacao, una cadena de tiendas basado en Los Ángeles, por las prácticas comerciales ilegales que principalmente dañaron a los consumidores inmigrantes hispanohablantes y a sus familias.

El acuerdo resuelve múltiples acusaciones incluidas en una demanda presentada en el 2017 por el Fiscal General contra Adir International, la empresa matriz de Curacao, y su propietario Ron Azarkman. La demanda alega que Curacao atrajo a los clientes anunciando precios bajos y crédito fácil, y luego informando a esos consumidores que solo podían comprar al precio anunciado después de comprar accesorios auxiliares, garantías o servicios de instalación. En otros casos, Curacao agregó artículos a los contratos de pago sin el conocimiento del consumidor.

Los investigadores de DCBA pasaron cientos de horas entrevistando a docenas de clientes afectados por Curacao, la mayoría de ellos siendo inmigrantes latinos de bajos ingresos que se comunican principalmente en español, para coleccionar y proporcionar evidencia crucial para respaldar la demanda del Fiscal General e informo el acuerdo eventual.

“Los inmigrantes en el Condado de Los Ángeles, particularmente aquellos cuyo idioma principal no es inglés, enfrentan retos significantes diariamente. Lo mínimo que deberían esperar es ser tratados de manera justa y legal por las empresas que los sirven y hacen llegar anuncios en su idioma preferido,” dijo Rafael Carbajal, el director del Departamento de Servicios para Consumidores Y Negocios del Condado de Los Ángeles. “Estamos contentos de que el Fiscal General haya asegurado compensación para los consumidores que más lo necesitan, y que pudimos desempeñar nuestro papel para ayudar a mantener un mercado justo tanto para los consumidores como para las empresas que cumplen debidamente con la ley.”

Si cree que ha sido víctima de prácticas ilegales por parte de cualquier empresa, por favor comuníquese con DCBA al (800) 593-8222 o presente una queja en línea en dcba.lacounty.gov. DCBA brinda asistencia personalizada y gratuita para todos los residentes y consumidores del condado de Los Ángeles, independientemente de su estado migratorio.

Según el anuncio del Fiscal General, Curacao debe proporcionar $10 millones en alivio de la deuda para los consumidores que resultaron perjudicados por la conducta de la compañía. El acuerdo también incluye el perdón de deudas adicionales para los clientes que todavía están haciendo pagos a Curacao por juicios de reclamos menores obtenidos ilegalmente, más $500,000 en multas civiles. El acuerdo también incluye medidas cautelares que requieren que Curacao cumpla con la ley de California y trate a sus clientes de manera justa y ética. Esos términos incluyen:

  • Las tiendas de Curacao exhibirán de manera prominente una declaración de derechos de los consumidores;
  • Curacao debe vender los artículos tal como se anuncian y debe proporcionar divulgaciones adicionales en su publicidad;
  • La alta gerencia revisará la publicidad de Curacao para verificar el cumplimiento de la sentencia judicial;
  • Curacao debe revelar completamente todos los términos materiales del contrato antes de pedir a los clientes que firmen contratos;
  • Curacao debe proporcionar a los clientes un contrato en su idioma antes de pedirles que lo firmen;
  • Los esfuerzos de cobranza de deudas se limitarán a una comunicación telefónica por día con los consumidores morosos;
  • Curacao detendrá las actividades de cobro de deudas y limpiará los registros de crédito de los consumidores a los que se les haya dictado sentencias por incumplimiento en acciones ilegales de reclamos menores;
  • Un experto en ética corporativa ayudará a Curacao a crear y mantener un programa eficaz de incentivos de ventas, cumplimiento y ética que fomente el comportamiento legal y que incluya encuestas y evaluaciones anuales de cultura ética; y
  • Curacao informará periódicamente su cumplimiento al Fiscal General a lo largo varios años y proporcionará acceso a sus registros para su revisión.

El acuerdo es un juicio estipulado que resuelve parte de la demanda del Estado contra Curacao. Los reclamos no resueltos relacionados con los planes de protección de pagos ilegales y las prácticas de seguros de Curacao serán juzgados en el Tribunal Superior de Los Ángeles.

El acuerdo de hoy se documenta en un juicio parcial estipulado que está disponible aquí.

OIA Statement: Supporting LA County’s AAPI Communities 150 150 dcba

OIA Statement: Supporting LA County’s AAPI Communities

 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Office of Immigrant Affairs Supports LA County’s AAPI Communities and Calls on Angelenos to Unite Against Hate 

The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs is saddened by the violence that occurred in Atlanta this week and mourns the tragic loss of eight lives, including six women of Asian ethnicity. This heartbreaking loss of life is compounded by the anti-Asian bigotry, hate, and misogyny that underlies the violence and many other incidents over recent months.

Los Angeles County’s cultural diversity is a source of strength and pride. The over 1.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) who live in LA County, many for several generations and others who are immigrants, represent an integral, rich part of the fabric of the County. Many members of our AAPI communities continue to serve heroically on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as essential workers in all fields, including healthcare, law enforcement, and government, and as small business owners. AAPI Angelenos have been forced to deal with the fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic while also confronting growing hate and discrimination. Anti-AAPI hate has no place in our nation, and certainly no place in Los Angeles County.

The Office of Immigrant Affairs encourages all Angelenos to use this week’s tragedy as a call to action to heal, to grow, and to learn. The LA vs Hate campaign encourages and supports all residents of LA County to unite against, report, and resist hate. If you have been a victim of a hate incident, please call the County’s 24/7 multilingual hotline at 2-1-1 to report the incident, and to receive support and resources. Immigrants are encouraged to access these services without fear related to their immigration status. Persons who still have such concerns, or who wish to be connected to wraparound services from LA County, can contact the Office of Immigrant Affairs for assistance: (800) 593-8222; oia.lacounty.gov.

 

X