The Lower Columbia Hispanic Council (LCHC) is a community-based organization whose mission is the equitable integration of resident Hispanics into the broader social and economic fabric of the Lower Columbia community.
LCHC aims to provide programs and services that address both the immediate and long-term needs of the community. We strive to create opportunities for Hispanic families to gain skills that empower them and that create greater self-sufficiency. Finally, we seek to help Hispanic families integrate into the greater community. To accomplish these goals, we offer programs and services that focus on Education, Health, Financial Empowerment and Advocacy & Civic Engagement.
Formally incorporated in 2006, the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council (LCHC) is a community-based nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization whose mission is the equitable integration of resident Hispanics into the broader social and economic fabric of the Lower Columbia Community. Although we became a nonprofit in 2006, the founding members have been working with the Latino immigrant community since 1992. As the only organization in Clatsop, Columbia, and Tillamook Counties that provides specific services in Spanish to Hispanics.
The Hispanic population has become an integral part of the local labor force and continues to grow. Hispanics in large part staff low-wage/seasonal occupations on fish processing lines, in the service and tourism industries and increasingly, in the forestry sector. In addition to this settled population, many Hispanic migrant workers move into our area during peak fish-processing season. Many of the Hispanic families we serve are first-generation immigrants who find language as a major barrier to navigating our local systems. This puts pressure on local human services and other organizations (legal, governmental, social, etc.) to respond to the various needs of this immigrant population. The work of the LCHC results in a proactive approach to helping these families integrate into our local community. As a group, we work to help these families move ahead financially and educationally to prevent the entrenchment of an isolated population relegated to lower income jobs. We also strive to help the larger community understand the needs of Hispanic residents and give guidance to other social service agencies working with this population.
More recently, our efforts have expanded to include programs and services that promote civic engagement and self-advocacy. In 2014 we formed the group La Voz de la Comunidad (the voice of the community) as a means for directly engaging the Latino community in our work. As we move forward, La Voz de la Comunidad will be instrumental in uniting the Hispanic community and creating leaders who will advocate for policies that improve outcomes for Hispanic families.