CARECEN was founded in 1981 to protect the rights of refugees arriving from conflict in Central America and provide direct legal services that would facilitate the process of transition to the United States. Over the course of its 30-year history, the organization has grown and expanded its reach, establishing itself as an advocate on critical policy issues, particularly those related to immigration, civil rights, and affordable housing.
CARECEN’s mission is to foster the comprehensive development of the Latino population in the Washington metropolitan region by providing direct services in the areas of immigration legal services, housing counseling, citizenship education, while also promoting community economic development, empowerment, and civil rights advocacy and education. In addition to offering direct services to 4,500 Latinos each year, CARECEN provides education and outreach on vital issues to thousands more Latinos in the Greater Washington area.
OUR IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY
In May 2012, Ms. Guzman came to CARECEN seeking assistance to avoid the foreclosure of her home. The bliss she experienced upon purchasing her dream home in 2007 was slowly disappearing.
She first sought help in different places to seek assistance with a loan modification, but was denied. Even worse, these unscrupulous entities ripped her off by charging her thousands of dollars and did nothing to help her.
At this point, her sister insisted that she come to CARECEN. She was receiving foreclosure prevention counseling at CARECEN and the negotiations were moving in the right direction.
Ms. Guzman was struggling to make her mortgage payment and could not keep up with the harsh terms of the ARM loan she had received. Our housing counselor analyzed her settlement documents and loan application, negotiated with the bank and submitted the necessary financial documents,
as well as provided in-depth financial management counseling to Ms. Guzman. After more than one year of negotiating, in August 2013, Ms. Guzman obtained her loan modification and a huge reduction on her principal allowing her to stay in her dream home.
Ms. Barrios proudly wears her CARECEN t-shirt and will take any opportunity to say wonderful things about her most trusted institution. She has been a beneficiary of CARECEN for over 20 years. In the 1990s, she came to CARECEN to apply and renew her work permits. Today, she is a recent graduate of our citizenship program and new U.S. Citizen.
Soon after passing her naturalization interview and exam, she spoke to a new class of citizenship students and inspired them to not give up in their path to U.S. Citizenship. She also reinforced the idea that “we have to speak up for those who can’t.”
Ms. Barrios is committed to giving back to her community and CARECEN. Her journey with CARECEN continues, as CARECEN will help her to apply for a U.S. passport and provide legal advice about petitioning for her son. Ms. Barrios will be a friend and ambassador to CARECEN for years to come.