La Fuente, a new coalition and web site devoted to helping Spanish-speaking residents in Westchester gain access to information about benefits, employment, social services, health, wellness and education, kicked off today.
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino joined officials of the Westchester Independent Living Center to officially launch La Fuente.
“It is vitally important that Westchester’s growing Hispanic community has access to the information it needs,” Astorino said. “La Fuente will provide a critical tool for our Spanish-speaking residents and will complement the county’s efforts to better serve our vibrant Hispanic population. I also want to thank the Westchester Hispanic Advisory Board for helping to identify the need for this project.”
The launch event took place at the Westchester Independent Living Center’s office at 200 Hamilton Ave., White Plains.
La Fuente is a coalition of organizations united by the mutual commitment to provide crucial information to Westchester’s Hispanic community. Astorino said that before La Fuente, there was no one place where Spanish-speaking people could access such a variety of information about services. Astorino said he shares La Fuente’s commitment to expand Spanish-language content and also has done so on Westchester County’s website at www.westchestergov.com/enacción.
Among other critical issues, La Fuente aims to address questions about child care, domestic violence, family court services, housing, immigration, health care, English language services, employment, medical information, transportation, and more. Member organizations currently include Family Service Society of Yonkers, Fidelis Care of New York, Food Bank of Westchester, Hope’s Door, The VIVE School and the Westchester Independent Living Center.
Blanca Lopez of Port Chester, a former Port Chester school board member, said efforts to promote outreach are positive and appreciated.
"La Fuente's website seems to be comprehensive with a lot of information," said Blanca, who is a program director for Human Development Services of Westchester. "I just hope that there is sufficient and ongoing outreach to let Spanish-speaking folks know about this informative site. In addition, the web site seems to rely on Google translator to translate from English to Spanish, which may cause problems depending on the information that is being translated automatically."
Lopez noted that access to broadband Internet and mobile web access has increased among Latinos, but she encouraged continued outreach efforts through traditional print media as well to get vital information to the Hispanic community.
Since its creation in 1981, the Westchester Independent Living Center has been a leading advocacy organizations for individuals with disabilities. The Westchester Independent Living Center’s Minority Outreach Program offers services inEnglish and Spanish and works with numerous community agencies.
The Westchester Independent Living Center established La Fuente as a way to unite these agencies and to provide a useful resource for those who utilize the services. The Westchester Hispanic Advisory Board recognized the need to provide additional Spanish-language content and supported La Fuente in its mission to do so.
The new web site has information in both English and Spanish.