Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: United Cambodian Community
Address: 2201 E. Anaheim St. Suite 200
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: Weston LaBar, Chair
First-name: Susana Sngiem
Title: Executive Director
Textarea-499: UCC seeks to establish a Housing Counseling Program to build homeownership and financial capabilities for families living in Central Long Beach.
How-many-years: 1 year
What-is-project: UCC is launching a Housing Counseling Program to build homeownership and financial capabilities for families living in Central Long Beach. Through the Housing Counseling Program, UCC will provide housing counseling to 50 families and host 4 education workshops on financial literacy.
UCC will provide weekly counselor-to-client assistance on pre-purchasing housing counseling and education. UCC will target Cambodian families from the first and second generation for pre-purchasing and first homebuyer services. UCC will have two program staff provide housing counseling in Khmer and English to parents and their children. Housing counseling services will include financial analysis, budgeting, development of an action plan, discussion of alternatives, referrals to other housing services, and follow-up services.
UCC will provide bilingual group education workshops. UCC will facilitate the workshops in Khmer and English. UCC has adopted housing curriculum from Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), a HUD Housing Counseling Agency in Hawaii that provides intergenerational housing counseling. UCC will conduct one workshop per quarter. UCC will engage 15 participants in each workshop. Group education workshops will include financial literacy, credit counseling, and first homebuyer program.
By the end of the grant term, UCC will be a HUD Housing Counseling Agency with two HUD certified housing counselors. Currently, UCC is receiving technical assistance and training from National CAPACD and HCA. UCC has completed a 3-day training on Housing Counseling in February 2019. UCC will continue to complete 3-months of capacity building, which will include developing program structure and documentation. Two staff members, a Program Manager and Housing Counselor, will complete HUD housing counseling training provided. By the third quarter of the grant term, UCC staff will complete and pass the HUD housing counseling exam. In the last quarter, UCC will apply to become a HUD Housing Counseling Agency through National CAPACD.
UCC seeks to become the first HUD Housing Counseling Agency in Long Beach. Currently, there are zero HUD Housing Counseling Agencies in Long Beach. Only 25% of Cambodian residents in Long Beach are homeowners. Cambodia Town is located in Central Long Beach and has the highest concentration of Cambodian residents in the nation. In Cambodia Town, over 62% of residents are spending more than one third of their income on housing. Due to the increase of housing rates, multiple families are living in one household or are moving from one place to another. Many Cambodian families are homeless or are one pay check away from homelessness. Through the Housing Counseling Program, UCC will build financial capabilities for Cambodian families to prevent homelessness and build intergenerational wealth.
How-will-you-succeed: By establishing a Housing Counseling Program, UCC will:
1. Provide 50 counselor-to-client assistance for pre-purchasing housing counseling and education.
2. Provide four face-to-face group education workshops.
3. Build UCC’s capacity to become a HUD Housing Counseling Agency by two staff train and complete HUD certification and submitting HUD housing counseling agency application.
UCC will measure success through an online database, sign in sheets, certifications, and development of materials. In order to measure the progress of clients served, UCC input client case management notes in an Excel sheet. UCC will transfer client data once UCC selects an online client management system that is in alignment with UCC’s programs and the requirements of HUD. UCC will collect sign-in information from family members who attend group education workshops. Two UCC staff will participate in HUD trainings including NeighborWorks and National CAPACD. After completing training and HUD practice exams, UCC staff will complete HUD housing counselor exam. As staff complete certification, UCC will use the HUD eligibility tool to measure and track its progress in completing required documents and elements for HUD application and certification. After completing one year of providing housing counseling services and two staff completing HUD certification, UCC will then submit its application with HUD under the intermediary agency, National CAPACD.
UCC will communicate its impact through media. UCC is a partner with the City of Long Beach’s economic development blue print and economic inclusion plan. UCC will continue to share with the city UCC’s services and outcomes in housing. Additionally, UCC will post impact on UCC’s online newsletter and social media. When UCC becomes the first HUD certified agency in Long Beach, UCC will contact local media, including The Press-Telegram and the Long Beach Post, to highlight UCC’s housing counseling services.
UCC will continue the program through the support of National CAPACD and other partners. National CAPACD coordinates the Housing Counseling Program Network, which is a network of over 19 organizations across the US. National CAPACD is an intermediary organization that subcontracts HUD funding to other organizations. Once UCC is a certified HUD agency, UCC will join National CAPACD’s Housing Counseling Program Network. As a Network agency, UCC will receive HUD and private foundation funding to implement housing counseling services. Additionally, National CAPACD will continue to provide technical assistance and training to expand UCC’s capacity and services. Furthermore, UCC is building relationships with financial institutions like Wells Fargo and Capital One who fund HUD certified agencies.
Who-are-you: UCC provides culturally competent social services to the Cambodian community in Long Beach, home of Cambodia Town, the largest population of Cambodians in the nation. In the early 1980s, over 300,000 Cambodian refugees immigrated to the United States as survivors of the Cambodian Genocide. From 1975-1979, the Khmer Rouge killed over 2 million Cambodians, while survivors endured slavery, torture, starvation, rape, and other major traumatic experiences. UCC was established in 1977 by a small group of Cambodian refugees to integrate Cambodian immigrants into Long Beach by providing housing, economic, and benefit enrollment supports. Since then, UCC has developed into a multi-service agency providing youth development, workforce development, gang prevention, and mental health services to address the changing needs of the growing Cambodian population. Currently, UCC’s mission is to elevate the Cambodian community through local engagement and leadership that embodies Cambodian cultural values. UCC has four strategic program areas: Health Equity, Youth Enrichment, Community Integration, and Economic Inclusion.
UCC services are intergenerational and engage the first and second generations of Cambodian members. Through soft skills training, UCC teaches youth Cambodian history which causes youth to better understand their parents. Additionally, UCC connect families to community resources. UCC provides housing counseling, benefits enrollment, and health care education so that parents can provide a safe, healthy environment for their children to thrive. Last year, over 6,900 community members were served by UCC in healthcare enrollment, social services, and youth programs. UCC enrolled 200 community members into benefits including MediCal, Low Energy Assistance Programs, and SNAP, which resulted in community members saving over $856,004 through these benefits. Furthermore, 92% of parents and caregivers in UCC’s parenting workshops shared that their families get along better.
UCC has strong culturally competent leadership and strategic partnerships. UCC’s Executive Director and Program Manager have over 20 years of nonprofit experience. Both are bilingual and bicultural in Khmer. UCC and its leadership has been recognized by Mayor Robert Garcia’s “Go Long Beach” Award. To enhance its leadership, UCC leverages partnerships with community-based organizations, government, and businesses. UCC is the lead organization for the Cambodian Advocacy Collaborative, which is a coalition of the 5 largest Cambodian serving agencies in Long Beach. In the City of Long Beach, UCC participate in the “Everyone In” initiative that seeks to increase economic inclusion through housing, youth workforce development, and small business procurement. UCC works directly with the Economic Development Department and Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network. UCC partners with financial institutions like Wells Fargo and Citi Bank to provide financial literacy and access to capital.