Newly certified “A Team” members, from left, Erica Thanh Lam of Vietnamese Social Services; Dr. Meeock Park and Yoon Ju Park of Korean Service Center; Yi Li You of Chinese Social Service Center; Amay Vang and Tou Pao Khang of Hmong American Mutual Assistance Association. (Photos by J. Lee)
By J. LEE
AAP staff writer
ST. PAUL — Strong in their commitment to the people and the community, members of the Asian Pacific American Housing Consortium came together to overcome the barriers and challenges to helping those in need of housing, information, services, and assistance.
Formed to comprehensively cover the field of housing and development including a broad array of services, community development and stabilization, APAHC includes professionals and organizations from the related areas.
Despite racial and political barriers to state and federal funds for housing education, counseling and training – a number of APAHC members forged ahead and used their own money to get the certifications (similar to licenses) required by the State to help consumers.
APAHC service provider executive directors made personal commitments in going beyond the call of duty to help their communities. NeighborWorks America was created by Congress to provide education and training of professionals in the housing and development fields. They provide the national standards used by professionals and organizations in all states.
The certification enables professionals to work in any state and across state lines. This is especially beneficial to people with family or relatives or friends in other states, people who move or when the professional moves with family members, and because so many more people can be helped.
The “A Team” certified professionals cover pre-purchase homeownership education, homeownership counseling, foreclosure intervention and default counseling and education, financial and credit counseling and education, and post-purchase homeowner education and counseling including home improvement, rehab, rentals, and reverse mortgages. Certain professionals can provide legal assistance, homeless prevention assistance, and help for the homeless.
For purposes here, “homeowner” includes people who rent, live with family or relatives, or do not have ownership title to where they live.
Other A-Team members include Sunny Sinh Chanthanouvong and Pany Siharath at Lao Assistance Center. Other APAHC service provider members are in the process of having certified counselors and include Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota, Lao Advancement Organization of America, SEWA-AIFW, and United Cambodian of Minnesota.
Without NeighborWorks America conducting the certification trainings in Minnesota, APAHC members are forced to go out-of-state for certifications required by Minnesota. Until now organizations such as Children’s Hope International and R & R Family Centers with qualified volunteers in the housing and social service fields for many years were required to get certifications and at their own expense.
All APAHC service providers need your help and support in continuing the work. Funds are needed for programs, staff and certifications. Support funding APAHC at http://www.leg.state.mn.us, or contact Jean Lee at [email protected].