Resource centers see demographic shift in Truckee and Tahoe
KINGS BEACH and#8212; As shock waves of the recession continue to push family budgets to the brink, the demographics of people in need of basic support is tilting.
Both the North Tahoe Family Resource Center in Kings Beach and the Family Resource Center of Truckee reported 2009, unlike in previous years, showed a 50-50 split between Latino and Anglo individuals seeking basic need support from family resource programs and other agencies.
Previously, Latinos represented the majority of basic need recipients.
Adela Gonzalez del Valle, Truckee’s executive director, said in their 2005-2006 fiscal year Latinos made up 95 percent of basic need recipients; however, in 2006-2007 Truckee percentages changed to 73 percent Latino and 27 percent Anglo recipients. By the end of the 2007-2008 fiscal year cultural demographics showed an even 50-50 split that’s continued into 2010.
and#8220;It started trickling and trickling and then it just exploded,and#8221; Gonzalez del Valle said.
Focusing on causes, Gonzalez del Valle explained all of them were financial and many of them dealt with evictions.
and#8220;People began going from one place to next looking for loans to pay their rent and they finally got to the point where there was no one out there to cover it,and#8221; del Valle said.
The two family resource centers also reported Anglos represented nearly 100 percent of the participants in their differential response program, which deals with child abuse and child neglect. Kings beach reported differential response participants to be 100 percent Anglo while Truckee reported participants to be 96 percent Anglo.
Emilio Vaca, NTFRC executive director, said in most of the cases child abuse or neglect was caused by financial frustrations on parents who’s budgets were strapped or who were without work.
and#8220;A need is a need,and#8221; Vaca said, NTFRC executive director. and#8220;And the economy affects everyone. It doesn’t just affect one social class or another.and#8221;
Now, more than ever, Vaca said, it is not uncommon for people, whether Anglo or Latino, to come in the door for the first time and ask for help for things like rent, finding work, emergency food or counseling programs.
and#8220;People are coming to get resources they didn’t even know existed,and#8221; Vaca said and highlighted popular services and programs they facilitate such as child development, job and housing assistance, financial counseling and Project Mana, an emergency hunger relief program.
and#8220;The first thing you have to think about is your family’s health and safety,and#8221; Vaca said and counsels families and individuals investigating basic need help to prepare for a humbling, but worthwhile experience.
Currently the North Tahoe Family Resource Center is searching for more residents it can serve. Vaca said he wants to seek out individuals and families who are in need of basic services, instead of making recipients come to them.
and#8220;We want to take the family resource center and take it to the streets,and#8221; Vaca said. and#8220;Because of the change in demographics, we’ve been looking to see how we can offer our services to families who can’t afford to take time off from work or who’s schedules don’t allow them to meet with us.and#8221;
To accomplish this Vaca said the center will utilize volunteers and fellow NTFRC staff members to spread the word about resource center programs and activities by knocking on doors or through friend and family referrals.
Observing current trends Gonzalez del Valle said the recession is far from over.
and#8220;I don’t see an improvement yet and I don’t think were done.and#8221;