Chicano Federation Evolves to Services Benefactor
By Ana Gomez Salcido
What started as a social movement against discrimination to the Chicano community in San Diego with Chicano Federation, evolve to an organization of services focused primarily for all children regardless of ethnic background.
“One of the mayor changes of the federation is that the people come for the services. In 1999, 98 percent of the people that came were Latino, now, probably 40 percent are not Latino,” said the president and CEO of the organization, Raymond Uzeta.
He mentioned that the shift it’s because there are a lot of people of all backgrounds that need social help..
“There has always been a need for the services we offer or that other organizations offer, the need has never decreased, it does not change, what changes is when there is a recession, the number of people in need goes up, and just one non profit can’t satisfy those needs, is impossible,” he said.
There are approximately 5,000 kids in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties that benefit every day with Chicano Federation’s nutritional service, one of the organization’s main programs.
Uzeta said the program consists of reimbursing day cares for the food they give to their kids, and with the help of federal government resources there are around 850 daycares enrolled.
The members of Chicano Federation also help Latina women to be certified to have their own day care, he mentioned. There are more than 4,000 women that have received the training needed to open their own day care.
One of the other main programs of this organization is to facilitate affordable housing to residents in the region. There are a total of nine complexes under the Chicano Federation with around 650 residents.
Seven of the affordable housing complexes, already existed, and the other two were constructed with the help of this organization and officials of the San Diego City Housing Commission, Uzeta said.
Six of the complexes are focused on San Diego working families, he said, and the other three are for seniors.
Uzeta said that there are a lot of people that still think Chicano Federation is just a social movement like it was in the sixties, but since 15 years ago, it has focuses on community services.
People of certain age groups are the ones that think like that, he said, so the organization dedicated to spread the word about the services they provide on community events.
“Since 2000, our emphasis has been about direct services,” he said.
The people that are interested in learning about the evolution of the organization can visit their website (www.chicanofederation.org) where they can find all the newsletters of the group written since the sixties.
“It’s an interesting read. You can learn about how was life before and about the political and social conditions of before,” he said.
On the website there is also information about the services available for the community through Chicano Federation.