Puentes Secures Major Grant & Moves Office

Friday, July 16, 2010

Central City Concern’s Puentes program recently received a $262,000 grant fromMultnomah County Addictions & Mental Health to provide continued community based and culturally specific mental health services to Latino individuals and families.  The County identified the need for expanded culturally-specific services in a Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile report; it has funded Central City Concern’s programs in the Latino community since 2007. Central City Concern (CCC) has been providing culturally specific services for Latino and Hispanic adults and families since 2004.

The one-year grant supports a full-time mental health therapist and two Promotoras de Salud (Health Promoters), Spanish-speaking staff who provide assistance in accessing primary and behavioral health services.  Promotoras act as a bridge between the health care agencies and potential clients who are more likely to trust someone with a shared cultural background. This work is done in the community, with the Promotoras frequently accompanying clients to necessary appointments for support. Promotoras get to know clients and their family situations well and they help develop individualized strategies that will keep them connected with treatment resources.

The grant continues the work of the Puentes MIOS team which received initial funding in 2007 and serves a minimum of 78 people yearly.  The services at MIOS are solution-focused, strengths-based, family-oriented, and culturally driven.  All service approaches are based on an understanding of the values that underlay the Latino culture and how they impact the therapeutic process.

Services are provided on an individual and group basis with a focus on those who are low income and uninsured.  Clinical assessment and counseling services are provided by a bilingual, bicultural Qualified Mental Health Professional. Medication management and primary healthcare are provided through multiple providers at the Old Town Clinnic.  MIOS partners with El Programa Hispano at Catholic Charities to provide outreach and engagement.

Culturally-Specific Services

Outreach and engagement strategies are an integral part of this work, and we recognize that individuals experience many barriers to independently locating and accessing services. Our experience has shown that the barriers are both internal and external.

External barriers are on an institutional or societal level, and are experienced by other minority populations and low-income groups as well.  This includes lack of knowledge of where to seek help, transportation, child care, location of treatment facilities, and hours of operation.  The lack of insurance coverage is also a primary barrier for many.  In this community, there has also been a lack of Spanish-speaking providers who are trained to understand and meet the needs of Latino individuals and families. Internal barriers are generally cultural values and beliefs that may impede an individual or family’s decision to seek mental health services.

New Office Location

All Puentes program and services now operate out of its new location at 231 SE 12th Ave, Portland, OR  97214. Phones (503-546-9975) and fax (503-546-9976) remain the same.