Exemplary Health Equity Practice Award

2019 Awardee | City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services

Since 2017, the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services has been working closely with immigrant rights advocates to build community power and foster healthier and safer communities. The City is home to immigrants from Mexico, the Philippines, Cambodia, El Salvador, and many other countries, making up 26% of the its total population. With reports of immigration enforcement raids and deportation threats, it is no surprise that communities are experiencing increasing levels of toxic stress and trauma. Through their Office of Equity, they partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice and the Sanctuary Long Beach Coalition to establish the Long Beach Justice Fund with $350,000 to provide legal counsel for immigrants facing deportation and help families stay together. In order to assist immigrant communities in gaining access to City services, the Long Beach Office of Equity, also in partnership with an alliance of community-based organizations known as the Language Access Coalition, has worked to improve citywide language access services by: (1) co-creating an evaluation framework for the Language Access Policy (LAP); (2) identifying new partnerships to fill capacity gaps; (3) strengthening the existing LAP to be more responsive to community needs; and (4) advocating for increased staff and funding to expand language services.

Kelly Colopy, director, City of Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services, accepts the Advancing Health Equity Award at the Dec. 3 ceremony in Oakland, CA.

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