East End Latino Advocates Meet with Hochul
The leader of the nonprofit that advocates for Latinos in need on the East End recently met with Gov. Kathy Hochul to lobby for more funding and reforming the process of awarding contracts.
Minerva Perez, the executive director of Organización Latino Americana (OLA) of Eastern Long Island, joined the leaders of three other nonprofits from LI for a Latino Roundtable at Hochul’s office on January 18.
“Larger nonprofit organizations have not met the needs of our full community,” said Perez, who urged the governor to improve the request for proposals (RFP) process through which government contracts are awarded. “A better RFP process is desperately needed, with funding opportunities available for smaller organizations.”
Also in attendance at the meeting suggested by the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association were leaders of the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association, Círculo de la Hispanidad in Long Beach and Housing Help, Inc. in Greenlawn.
Perez left hopeful that the governor may break up some of the standard RFPs and may make microfunding available to better assist smaller nonprofits. The OLA leader emphasized more needed to be done to address wage theft, housing exploitation and lack of access to adolescent mental health services.
“A clear and effective method to ensure accountability on the part of larger mental health organizations that have been challenged by the shifting demographics of our 24 East End school districts is what’s missing,” Perez said. “Solutions exist. One such way forward is to fully support OLA’s Youth Connect model that is actively engaging middle and high school students on difficult issues.”
The bilingual helpline — one of many services OLA provides — is available seven days a week along with programs to bring open dialogue between students and parents, peers and providers. The helpline can be reached at 631-810-9010.