¡HICA! facilitates social integration by helping our constituents learn about their new community, find resources to meet their needs, and maintain the health and safety of their families in times of crisis. ¡HICA!'s Strong Families Program, the cornerstone of our organization, serves as a gateway for community members and provides information and referral and support services to strengthen families and the broader community.

Stories of Social Integration

Although ¡HICA! primarily works with Latinos in Alabama, we also provide services to immigrants from other parts of the world. The following is a story of a family from Africa who came to ¡HICA! for assistance earlier this year:

Dikeledi first contacted ¡HICA! in March 2013, in search of economic and food assistance. Dikeledi and her husband came from Utopia, Africa in 2012 and had been struggling financially since then. They were both over the age of 60 and have health issues, so it had been difficult for them to find and maintain employment. They struggled with the language barrier since they did not speak much English, and did not have their own mode of transportation. With the help of ¡HICA! case managers the couple were able to find several resources to help them pay their bills. The case managers also helped them obtain food assistance by explaining the step by step process and e-mailing the food assistance application to their neighbor who printed it out for them.

Dikeledi was very concerned about the couple's ability to pay bills, but with the help of ¡HICA! and some of their neighbors they were able to pay their rent. After a few days, she was relieved to find out that her food assistance application had been approved. Dikeledi had also contacted AHEPA/Penelope Federal Housing Assistance and was told that she was going to be placed on a waiting list for housing assistance, and she was concerned about how long her family would have to wait to obtain this assistance. With the help of the ¡HICA! case manager, the couple was given the opportunity to start their paperwork in early June 2013 and was able to move in by the end of the month. Dikeledi and her husband now have an affordable place to live and food on the table.