Healthy people build strong, thriving communities. Through Erie House’s Health & Leadership Programs (HLP), we reinforce healthy living for our people of all ages through lessons about nutrition and food choices, fitness activities, cooking demonstrations, education for cardiovascular health and diabetes prevention, and more.

The HLP team also supports leaders in the movement for community well-being, mobilizing our participants in advocacy efforts and training individuals to become Community Navigators and deliver Know Your Rights information and resources to immigrant families. Since the beginning of the year, this team been working hard to educate our community about the importance and safety of completing the 2020 Census.

Here’s a look at how we’re continuing to help our community meet these needs during our closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Virtual Workshops and Zoom Presentations

The HLP team hosts virtual workshops to deliver valuable information to our community via Zoom every day.

  • Zumba classes are held every Monday and Wednesday morning. Viewers can get their bodies moving and stay active at home with fun exercise sessions set to Latin American dance music.
  • “Know Your Rights” workshops are held every Tuesday afternoon to arm our community with knowledge and resources for if they are ever confronted by law enforcement or immigration officials.
  • Public Charge & Public Benefits informational meetings are hosted every Thursday by Weber Anderson and Daisy Lomeli to inform viewers on how they may personally be affected by changes in public charge rulings and how they can apply for benefits for their families.
  • “La Cocina Virtual” workshops and cooking demonstrations, which are held on Friday mornings, provide coaching and deliver resources that support wellness, including diabetes prevention and cardiovascular health. For these presentations, we share a nutritious recipe and show how to prepare it to make cooking easy and fun!
  • On Fridays, right after “La Cocina Virtual,” certified lifestyle coach Elva Sera hosts an evidence-based lifestyle change program to help viewers learn what they need to do to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.

All Zoom workshops are presented in Spanish. If you’re interested in attending a workshop, you can register here.

2020 Census Outreach and Phone-banking

Census data is used to allocate budget and resources to communities, which is why it’s so important for everyone to participate in the census. Leading up to the closure, the HLP team was hard at work knocking on doors and educating hard-to-reach communities about the necessity — and safety — of participating in the census.

Due to necessary social distancing, those efforts have gone virtual. The team is now phone-banking to reach as many people as possible and encourage them to participate in the census in addition to social media outreach.

HLP Community Engagement Specialist Nacho Medina has even gotten his family involved in encouraging our community to complete the census! He and his kids create videos like this one that talk about why the census is so important and why it’s safe for everyone to get counted.

Assisting with Access to Critical Resources and Benefits

And as we always have, the Erie House team is continuing to provide free assistance with applications public benefits. Now, we provide this service remotely through phone or video calls with participants.

Our public benefits specialists Weber Anderson and Carmen Lopez continue to help those who need it access food assistance like SNAP and LINK cards, health benefits like Medicaid and other public assistance like rent relief.

As team members in every program check in with our participants, everyone works together to make sure the people we serve have everything they need. When our Community Navigators and other staff reach out to see how we can help during this time, we often hear of families who have lost work and hours, like parents who work in the restaurant industry and have been laid off, or street vendors and rideshare drivers who have lost their source of income due to the pandemic.

We help each of these people access Erie House resources, government benefits, or other resources like food pantries and ways to get rent and mortgage relief.

 “When I call people and connect them with resources, they’re grateful for us. That’s very rewarding,”

Nacho Medina

And in order to help our participants meet more of their immediate, basic needs, we created a Community Relief Fund. All donations to this fund go directly to our participants, including those who are undocumented and have limited access to public benefits. If you’re interested in directly supporting or participants during this time to help them cover costs like rent, utilities, groceries, and more, you can visit eriehouse.org/CRF.

Keep following our blog or sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page to stay in the know about how the Erie House team is going above and beyond to support our community during the COVID-19 crisis.

You can also learn more about our response to the coronavirus pandemic and access additional resources at eriehouse.org/covid19.