Access to Services
Houston is a city with a large population of immigrants from all over the world. We recognize that a diverse population also has divergent needs that social services providers are not traditionally structured to meet, particularly for vulnerable populations, including undocumented persons and mixed status families.
Our “access to services” bucket of work focuses on getting service providers to gradually become more immigrant accessible. The process incorporates training, including cultural safety training, followed by self-assessment of program inclusivity and accessibility, then integration of improved procedures and practices, and finally the commitment to remaining immigrant inclusive through collaborative engagement and regular reassessment.
HILSC’s collaborative conversations evolved to the stage where we regularly evaluate access issues, but there is more work to be done to build connections between the movements for racial justice and for immigrant access. We strive to move our collaborators from responsive problem solving to challenging the systems of power that purposefully maintain inequity for marginalized communities.
- Getting more social workers to step into the immigration advocacy space and outside of the clinical realm
- Educate and challenge attorneys with the benefits of working in collaboration with social workers, navigators, advocates, and organizers to support clients
- Creating balance between the professionals working for clients i.e. legal and social work
- Scalability of assessment tools and solutions
- Work with organizations to focus on vulnerable populations through changing practices and policies and recognizing autonomy of communities
- Engage in an open dialogue with advocates in the immigration space around burnout, empathy, wellbeing, and self care practices
Many service providers have the idea that if they build it, people will come. The reality is that many individuals are not able to access services due to limitations in transportation, language and literacy or even full understanding of the systems for enrolling in these services. Voices and experiences from directly impacted communities must be the guiding star for social services providers that aim to support inclusivity and accessibility for Houston’s diverse immigrant communities.