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woman standing in the kitchen
DCBA Stories: Providing Hope 1024 799 Tenny Minassian

DCBA Stories: Providing Hope

DCBA Stories is an ongoing series of articles showcasing the many ways the staff of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs answer the call to help the people of Los Angeles County.

The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs has led the way in government sector service for and partnership with immigrant and undocumented communities. Here is a story of a family that was helped by Anai, a member of DCBA’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA).

The connection began when Ms. Picuru’s* dire circumstances were referred by the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis to OIA. A native of a Central American nation, she sought to provide for her family as best she could in the San Gabriel Valley. Reuniting with her teenage and adult daughters, as well as meeting her grandchild for the first time, was bittersweet. Despite working when possible, caring for her toddler, and lending her support to her recently arrived family, Ms. Picuru moved closer to homelessness.

Anai, a counselor with OIA, received the referral and immediately began to assess her client’s needs. She assisted the family with their application for CalWORKs, CalFresh, and Medi-Cal through the Department of Public Social Services. She also helped the family receive a cash assistance grant from Thai Community Development Center. Ms. Picuru used these funds to search for a more stable and habitable place to live. Anai also connected Ms. Picuru to a counsleor from the Department of Mental Health. The entire family is now receiving on-going counseling services.

In line with her commitment to service, Anai was determined to make the 2021 Holiday Season memorable for Ms. Picuru and her family so she organized an Adopt-a-Family project among her colleagues who were eager to support. On the week of Thanksgiving, Anai and her coworker Amy dropped off boxes of clothing, food, and gift cards. Ms. Picuru and her family were grateful for their unexpected gifts. So too was the entire OIA family for being able to serve in partnership with the Picuru family.

The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs helps all immigrants learn about available services for them and their families. For more information visit immigrants.lacounty.gov. Counselors like Anai are ready to support by calling (800) 593-8222 or by appointment to have a counselor reach you at the best and most convenient time.

* Note: Some names and specific details of cases featured in DCBA Stories have been adjusted to respect the privacy of our team members and the people we serve.

OIA Creative Strategist Explores the Immigrant Experience of Donut Shops in New Art Exhibit 150 150 dcba

OIA Creative Strategist Explores the Immigrant Experience of Donut Shops in New Art Exhibit

Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) hosted a community resource fair for Unaccompanied Minors and their sponsors when an unexpected sight may have been encountered. Artist Phung Huynh, has always had a passion for art and its ability to spark conversations about culture, customs, and representation, and continues to share her craft nationally and internationally. Huynh was selected as DCBA’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) Artist and Creative Strategist through an innovative program created by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture which uses art to explore creative solutions to complex challenges.

Children's artwork hangs from portable booths at a community event.

At a Welcome Fair at East Los Angeles College, Phung Huynh creates a welcoming environment that encourages expression through art and displays attendee artwork.

Huynh proudly recalls the moment a child visited a community fair booth three times because they wanted to express themselves through art. Reflecting on her selection for the post, she says: “I am honored and privileged at the chance to make an impact through art and working with the community. I help uplift the narratives of those we serve.”

“This is a perfect opportunity to connect art to OIA. My work contributes to immigrants feeling welcome and safe in a festive and fun environment,” she said. The latter an intentional recognition on her part that all residents deserve joy.

As a Southeast Asian refugee, Huynh found peace, solace, guidance and belonging through a neighbor’s connection to art and the Cambodian diaspora by way of Paris, France.

Donut Whole exhibition promotional artwork. Exhibition runs from March 12 to May 27, 20222Those in Los Angeles have a limited opportunity to see Huynh’s work in her latest exhibit Donut (W)hole at Self Help Graphics and Art which opened on March 12, 2022 and runs through May 27, 2022. It explores the nexus between the Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee experience and donut shops through a unique medium – the synonymous pink boxes popularized by these shops.

Huynh shares that this exhibit is for everyone of all ages. Those that relate to the California experience and who visit donut shops regularly will reminisce. This exhibit is also for those that have sensed “a feeling of other” or “not able to find their name.” She says it honors the names and histories of refugees in pursuit of their own American dream.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register for this event at selfhelpgraphics.eventbrite.com as this exhibit has garnered extensive coverage on local television, digital, and food-based news outlets.

Visitors to the Donut Whole art exhibition draw their own donuts

Donut (W)hole exhibition attendees create artwork that reflects their cultural identity.

Those who attend the exhibit might make comparisons to public works of art, and rightly so. Huynh’s distinct style and prominence has been rewarded with opportunities to share her work at Metro light rail stations, Los Angeles Zoo and other Los Angeles County facilities. Those works, as well as her future works and exhibits can be found at phunghuynh.com.

Whether through a traditional art exhibit or helping children find their artistic philosophy, Phung Huynh excitedly looks forward to the next opportunity that intertwines the power of expression, reflection, and hope.

Housekeeper washing the dishes wearing protective mask
LA County, Partners Announce “Your Home is Someone’s Workplace” Campaign to Help Protect Domestic Workers 1024 645 Tenny Minassian

LA County, Partners Announce “Your Home is Someone’s Workplace” Campaign to Help Protect Domestic Workers

The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) hosted a media forum to promote a new campaign: “Your Home Is Someone’s Workplace: Domestic Work in Los Angeles County” to raise awareness of how LA County can help protect and advance the well-being of domestic workers.

“Your Home is Someone’s Workplace” highlights how domestic workers have contributed to the County’s economic survival during the pandemic, how private-household and other employers can provide fair and responsible workplaces, and how the media can help the County’s efforts to support all workers in LA County, including domestic workers.

The media forum coincided with this week’s approval by the Board of Supervisors to create the Office of Labor Equity within DCBA. The new office will target enforcement on key industries, including the domestic work industry. The Office of Labor Equity will build on the successful track record of DCBA’s Wage Enforcement program, which has investigated complaints of minimum wage violations in unincorporated Los Angeles County and helped put millions of dollars in back wages and fines back into the pockets of for workers. DCBA also helped to implement the innovative worker protections the Board put into place during the pandemic, including paid vaccine leave, Hero Pay for grocery store workers, and health and safety anti-retaliation ordinances.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who authored the motion to create the new Office of Labor Equity, co-hosted the forum with OIA. They were joined by the California Domestic Workers Coalition, and Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network.

“People are leaving the workforce because they don’t feel valued, and how can employees feel valued if their employers put employee health at risk by failing to enforce vaccination or mask mandates, don’t pay a minimum wage, or fail to pay overtime?,” said Kuehl. “Employers need to understand the root causes of The Great Attrition, and step up to provide a high level of workplace safety, wage compliance, and flexibility to their workers. LA County‘s recovery will not go well if workers continue to leave our local economy.”

“The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs is committed to protecting LA County workers by enforcing several worker protection ordinances and securing back wages owed to workers,” said DCBA Director Rafael Carbajal. “The new Office of Labor Equity will be equipped to expand our efforts to ensure workers, including domestic workers, are treated equitably throughout the county.”

“The majority of domestic workers are immigrant women of color. This media forum underscores the importance of applying the immigrant lens to understand the unique experiences of immigrant workers in the County,” said Rigo Reyes, OIA Executive Director.

“The California Domestic Workers Coalition is honored to be part of this event. Media forums like these and initiatives such as the creation of the Office of Labor Equity are how we will continue to create a path that centers, uplifts and makes visible the stories of the thousands of domestic workers that are caring for our families every day, but also seeking dignity at their workplaces,” offered Kimberly Alvarenga, Director of the California Domestic Workers Coalition.

“There are 2 million households in California that hire for childcare, housecleaning or homecare. Due to the invisibility of this work, most of these households don’t realize they are considered employers with responsibilities. Today’s L.A. County forum on domestic work is an incredible opportunity to invite journalists to be partners in educating domestic employers about how to follow the law and treat their employees fairly,” said Stacy Kono, Executive Director of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network.

This forum was moderated by Annabelle Sodano, Emmy Award-winning journalist and Univision anchor and reporter. You can watch a recording of the forum here and watch a short video announcement here.

Click here for more information about “Your Home Is Someone Else’s Workplace” campaign on domestic workers.

Click here for information about the County’s wage enforcement program in unincorporated areas.

Father Hugging Son Sitting On Steps Outside Home
Together again: One family reunited in Los Angeles County 1024 683 Tenny Minassian

Together again: One family reunited in Los Angeles County

Earlier this year, as thousands of migrant children crossed into the United States without parents or guardians, the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs, part of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), joined with other County agencies and the federal government for a unique humanitarian mission to care for these vulnerable children.

When the mission was over, more than 8,000 children were reunited with their loved ones and sponsors.
We invite you to meet one family reunited in Los Angeles County.

Juntos de nuevo: Una familia reunida en el Condado de Los Ángeles

A principios de este año, cuando miles de niños migrantes cruzaron a los Estados Unidos sin padres o tutores, la Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del Condado de Los Ángeles, parte del Departamento de Servicios para Consumidores y Negocios (DCBA), se unió a otras agencias del Condado y al gobierno federal para una misión humanitaria única para cuidar a estos niños vulnerables.
Cuando terminó la misión, más de 8.000 niños fueron reunidos con sus seres queridos y patrocinadores.
Conozca a una familia reunida en el Condado de Los Ángeles.

Juntas de nuevo: Una familia reunida en el Condado de Los Ángeles | Together again: One family reunited in Los Angeles County from Los Angeles County Newsroom on Vimeo.

LA County, Partners Host Unaccompanied Children, Families 150 150 Tenny Minassian

LA County, Partners Host Unaccompanied Children, Families

Youth participating in arts and crafts during the Office of Immigrant Affairs' Welcome Day

Youth participates in arts and crafts during the Office of Immigrant Affairs’ Welcome Fair.

On Saturday, September 25 the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), and its partners hosted a free community event to provide vital information and services for unaccompanied children and their families.

The Welcome Fair for Unaccompanied Children and their Families was a one-day event at East Los Angeles College, bringing together dozens of County departments, LA City agencies, and community organizations to provide services in a welcoming, safe and supportive environment. Available resources were provided to the families in attendance, including immigration orientations; educational access services; employment and career guidance; health and wellness information; nutrition and food resources; and arts, culture, and recreational activities.

Along with OIA, co-hosts included Los Angeles County Chair of the Board of Supervisors Hilda L. Solis; Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project a program of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles Inc. (Esperanza); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE); and Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).

“In launching the emergency intake site for unaccompanied children at the Pomona Fairplex in partnership with President Biden, I made a commitment to ensure unaccompanied children would be welcomed by our community and network of organizations, including our County family,” shared Chair Solis. “I am so thankful to today’s partners in helping us make sure that youth and their sponsors receive the support they need to live healthy and productive lives.”

“Los Angeles is a place of belonging, where immigrants have made their homes for centuries,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We are proud to welcome these children and their families, and help connect them with the support and resources needed to start a new life.”

“This Welcome Fair demonstrates the power of community,” said Rafael Carbajal, DCBA Director, “where organizations and individuals come together to serve young people and their families in a time of need.”

“The LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs is here to welcome all immigrants and their families into the LA County family, and to help them get access to wraparound support services,” said Rigo Reyes, OIA Executive Director. “From health and nutrition to arts and culture and everything in between, there is always valuable help for everyone.”

“Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project serves thousands of unaccompanied minors by providing free legal representation and community education,” said Kimberley Plotnik, Esperanza’s Director. “The Welcome Fair communicates a powerful and timely message – that all immigrants are welcome in Los Angeles and that local stakeholders are standing together to support them.”

“We know that these children and their families will need to overcome many barriers to learning as they navigate through uncharted territory in a completely new environment,” said Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo, MSW, Ed.D. “These resources are essential to ensuring that all students have equitable access to a quality education that addresses the needs of our most vulnerable school communities.”

Other agencies providing services included: LA County Dream Resource Center; Los Angeles Unified School District’s School Enrollment Placement and Assessment (SEPA) Center; Math on the Border; Johns Well Child and Family Center; La Linterna at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Clínica Romero; Amanecer Community Counseling; USC Telehealth; International Institute of Los Angeles; The Echo Park Refugee Welcoming Center; Homies Unidos; YMCA; Opportunities For Youth; San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center; and Los Angeles-based artist and educator Phung Huynh.

El condado de Los Ángeles y organizaciones comunitarias acoge a niños no acompañados y sus familias en la Feria de Bienvenida

LOS ÁNGELES – El sábado 25 de septiembre, la Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del Condado de Los Ángeles (OIA), en el Departamento de Servicios para Consumidores y Negocios (DCBA), y sus socios, organizaron un evento comunitario gratuito para proporcionar información y servicios vitales para los niños no acompañados y sus familias.

La Feria de Bienvenida para Niños No Acompañados y sus Familias fue un evento de un día en East Los Angeles College, que reunió a docenas de departamentos del Condado, agencias de la Ciudad de Los Ángeles y organizaciones comunitarias para brindar servicios en un ambiente acogedor, seguro y de apoyo. Se proporcionaron los recursos disponibles a las familias asistentes, incluyendo orientaciones de inmigración; servicios de acceso a la educación; empleo y orientación profesional; información sobre salud y bienestar; nutrición y recursos alimenticios; y las artes, la cultura y las actividades recreativas.

Junto con OIA, los coanfitriones incluyeron a la Presidenta de la Junta de Supervisores del Condado de Los Ángeles, Hilda L. Solís; Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, un programa de Caridades Católicas de Los Ángeles Inc. (Esperanza); la Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del alcalde de Los Ángeles, Eric Garcetti; Clero y Laicos Unidos por la Justicia Económica (CLUE); y la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Los Ángeles (LACOE).

“Al lanzar el sitio de admisión de emergencia para niños no acompañados en el Pomona Fairplex en asociación con el presidente Biden, me comprometí a garantizar que los niños no acompañados sean bienvenidos por nuestra comunidad y red de organizaciones, incluida nuestra familia del condado,” compartió la presidenta Solís. “Estoy muy agradecida con los socios de hoy por ayudarnos a asegurarnos de que los jóvenes y sus patrocinadores reciban el apoyo que necesitan para vivir vidas saludables y productivas.”

“Los Ángeles es un lugar de pertenencia, donde los inmigrantes han hecho sus hogares durante siglos,” dijo el alcalde Garcetti. “Estamos orgullosos de dar la bienvenida a estos niños y sus familias, y ayudar a conectarlos con el apoyo y los recursos necesarios para comenzar una nueva vida.”

“Esta Feria de Bienvenida demuestra el poder de la comunidad,” dijo Rafael Carbajal, Director de DCBA, “donde organizaciones e individuos se unen para servir a jovenes y a sus familias en momentos de necesidad.”

“La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del Condado de Los Ángeles está aquí para dar la bienvenida a todos los inmigrantes y sus familias a la familia del Condado de Los Ángeles, y para ayudarlos a obtener acceso a servicios de apoyo integrales,” dijo Rigo Reyes, Director Ejecutivo de OIA. “Desde la salud y la nutrición hasta las artes y la cultura y todo lo demás, siempre hay una ayuda valiosa para todos.”

“Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project atiende a miles de menores no acompañados al proporcionar representación legal gratuita y educación comunitaria,” dijo Kimberley Plotnik, Directora de Esperanza. “La Feria de Bienvenida comunica un mensaje poderoso y oportuno: que todos los inmigrantes son bienvenidos en Los Ángeles y que las partes interesadas locales se unen para apoyarlos.”

“Sabemos que estos niños y sus familias tendrán que superar muchas barreras para el aprendizaje a medida que navegan a través de un territorio desconocido en un entorno completamente nuevo,” dijo la Superintendente de Escuelas del Condado de Los Ángeles, Debra Duardo, MSW, Ed.D. “Estos recursos son esenciales para garantizar que todos los estudiantes tengan acceso equitativo a una educación de calidad que aborde las necesidades de nuestras comunidades escolares más vulnerables.”

Otras agencias que brindan servicios incluyen: LA County Dream Resource Center; Centro de Colocación y Evaluación de Inscripción Escolar (SEPA) del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles; Matemáticas en la frontera; Johns Well Child and Family Center; La Linterna en el Hospital de Niños de Los Ángeles; Clínica Romero; Consejería Comunitaria Amanecer; USC Telesalud; Instituto Internacional de Los Ángeles; El Centro de Acogida de Refugiados de Echo Park; Homies Unidos; YMCA; Oportunidades para los jóvenes; Centro de Niños Refugiados del Valle de San Fernando; y la artista y educadora Phung Huynh, con sede en Los Ángeles.

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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.

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Celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month with Us!

June is Immigrant Heritage Month and we’re celebrating by sharing stories from our staff!

L.A. County is home to more than 10 million residents, with 140 cultures and over 224 languages represented. One in three Angelenos is an immigrant.

We’re also one of eight California counties with the largest population of refugees. We’ve partnered with the Department of Public Social Services to share these inspiring stories for Refugee Awareness Month and Refugee Awareness Day on June 18.

Join us by taking a selfie or video and posting your immigrant or refugee story using #WeAreLosAngeles.

Make sure to tag us @LAC4Immigrants on Twitter and Facebook and tag @LACountyDCBA on Instagram.

We’re here to help you! Contact us at (800) 593-8222 to get connected to resources for immigrants.

Share your story! take a selfie or video and post using hashtag we are los angeles

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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.

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