Welcome Center helps new immigrants

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2001


Thursday, July 05, 2001


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Liliana Silvestry, director of the Welcome Center for new immigrants in Austin, described the organization’s work at Tuesday’s Mower County Board of Commissioners’ meeting.

She said the Welcome Center has now established a "very important track record" of accomplishments.

In addition, the Welcome Center has established partnerships with other agencies to avoid duplication in the delivery of services as it continues to help new immigrants in such area as housing, employment, immigration status and education.

She said only recently five immigrant families, who had been renting homes in Austin, were able to get financing to buy homes in the city.

According to Silvestry’s monthly service report, the vast majority of the people assisted in May are Hispanic, 260 of 307, with Vietnamese totaling 31 and single-digit numbers for Bosnian, African-American, Caucasian and Sudanese.

Individual services delivered were mainly housing, interpreter and telephone calls.

The Welcome Center also provided translation, interpretation, consulting, project development guest-speaker, cultural diversity workshop and referral services to other agencies, businesses and organizations.

"These are things that have value," Silvestry said. "These are things the Welcome Center is promoting."

Silvestry also told the commissioners the Welcome Center’s staff is promoting community involvement of the immigrants through its "Community Circles" forums.

The Welcome Center director also asked the county board to consider another appropriation to the Welcome Center, when it begins its annual budget process this summer. She did not specific an amount. The county has allocated $25,000 this year to the Welcome Center.

In addition, it is also funding the work of a combination court interpreter and multi-cultural coordinator, including an office in the courthouse.

The county board’s finance committee will meet with Silvestry later this summer to discuss her request.

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at newsroom@austindailyherald.com.