PHILADELPHIA—Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc., a nationally renowned agency that served 17,750 unduplicated individuals in FY15, and Concilio, the oldest Latino agency in Philadelphia, have partnered to form the East Division Crime Victim Advocacy Project, which will utilize a three-tiered, comprehensive approach to supporting crime victims in the East Division in Philadelphia from crisis to stability. Both agencies will provide trauma informed, culturally and linguistically relevant, client centered legal advocacy, crisis counseling, and ongoing case management services. This is a new project aiming to provide crisis intervention to 350 victims of non-domestic violence crimes a year as well as advocacy and ongoing case management to 100 victims of crime a year.
Congreso, which has operated its Latina Domestic Violence Program for more than two decades, sees this as an expansion of its existing culture. “Congreso’s mission is to strengthen Latino communities,” shared President and CEO Cynthia Figueroa. “Headquartered in Fairhill, we witness the highest violent crime rate in the City. Our ability to provide crime victim services at Congreso, where nearly 18,000 are already seeking education, health and social service supports, increases the likelihood that victims will seek services from this trusted source, resulting in the shared goals of increased coping skills, restoration of safety, self-empowerment and healing,” concluded Figueroa.
The project is made possible through a $208,000 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding grant distributed through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which has allowed Congreso to fill two full-time victim services positions, as well as provide a $25,000 subgrant to Concilio towards a full-time position dedicated to providing community-based victim services. Concilio, the oldest Latino nonprofit in the City, now located in the City’s Juniata Park/Feltonville section, has also received $77,000 in funding through the District Attorney’s Office to serve as a Victim Witness Provider, accompanying victims through the intimidating court process. “Being a victim of crime is an already traumatizing experience,” shared Concilio Deputy Director Julie Pandya Avalos. “We want to ensure that the multiple steps that follow do not compound that trauma, or worse, deter victims from reporting crimes. Concilio, which has years’ of experience in working in the court system through its foster care services, is now using this experience to benefit victims of crime by providing supportive victim advocates during court proceedings,” continued Avalos. Both organizations provide direct service to victims in the 24th, 25th and 26th police districts, while working with a citywide network of crime victim advocates to refer clients to additional resources.
About Congreso: Congreso is a multiservice, nonprofit organization founded in 1977 whose mission is to strengthen Latino communities through social, economic, education and health services; leadership development and advocacy. It served 17,750 unduplicated individuals in FY15. For more information, visit www.congreso.net or call 215-763-8870.
About Concilio: The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia (Concilio) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 1962. Concilio has become A recognized leader in providing an array of social services, ensuring that educational, health, adoption, foster care and cultural opportunities are made available to those who need them. It served 9,745 unduplicated individuals in FY15. For more information visit www.elconcilio.net or call 215-627-3100.