Interviewer1: Angelito Rodriguez
Interviewer2: Sarykarmen Rivera
Respondent1: Sylvia Alvarez
Respondent2: Daniela Camacho
Respondent3: Laura (Tampa Bay Network To End Hunger)
[Recording starts 00:00:00]
Announcer: Nuevo en US.ORG present: “Route to the American Dream”. This program is for people who are new to the United States, and in each program we will be talking about obstacles they may have to move forward in the United States and achieve the American dream. And we’re already on “Route to the American Dream”.
Interviewer1: Hello. What’s up, friends? Here we are with the podcast, thanks to: Tampa Bay Network To End Hunger, Nuevo en US.com, Housing & Education Alliance and Gulf Coast Legal Services.
Here with us is Sylvia Alvarez. Greetings, Silvia.
Respondent1: Hi Angel. It’s a pleasure to stay here with you today.
Interviewer1: What is your website? of Housing & Education Alliance.
Respondent1: Our Website is www.heausa.org. Housing & Education Alliance, heausa.org.
Interviewer1: What would be…? For example, people get into this kind of credit card trouble, so, what would be the best advice? Go to bankruptcy? Or are there companies that help them lower interest rates?
Respondent1: Be very careful with that kind of company. We are a non-profit agency that is supported by the Federal FHA Department of Housing to give advice on these things. We do not charge anything to do this kind of transaction to help people. When you go to one of these other places, they charge you, we’ve seen a lot of problems that sometimes they weren’t making the payments, people were sending the payments to these companies and the companies weren’t making the payments.
Interviewer1: Oh, wow.
Respondent1: I can tell you many stories of things that have happened that have been very sad, that the person was not with good intentions, they got into something and then it went all wrong.
Interviewer1: Right. Tell me about the Housing & Education Alliance, what were your beginnings?
Respondent1: Well, we started in 2002, we were celebrating 20 years working here in the city of Tampa. We have been successful, we have won many national awards, from the government, from different organizations, for what we have done. During the Folklore Just Crisis[SIC] that there was before, we won the PBS Award, Non-Profit Organization of the Year. And it was because in that time, all the money was gone, nobody was paying, even the government wasn’t paying, and we had to close the office. Then in the office all the employees said: “no, we are not going to stop working, even if we are not paid, we are volunteers”.
Interviewer1: Wow, amazing.
Respondent1: And what we did, all of us, we lost our house, but we saved 14,000 families in Tampa Bay because we had programs. The only thing that couldn’t be fixed was if the person didn’t have any income and we weren’t even getting any money, an unemployment, you know, when you lose your job, you couldn’t apply for that, because we had programs to help those people; or that you are getting help from the government… But as I told you, it was a very difficult time for all of us, but we thought, sitting there with families that the children were crying because they had to lose their dogs, they had to change schools, different things that were horrible, and during all this time we, almost 3 and a half years without receiving anything, so they loved us.
Respondent1: And the reason why I’m in this is because when I was 9 my parents bought their first house, and they came to the United States when I was one year old, and I was the one who translated them at the Bank, with real estate agents, with all the people who were involved in buying the house, and I saw how successful they were and how glad they were to be able to say they bought, that they had a piece of America, of the United States of America.
Interviewer1: Of course. The American dream.
Respondent1: The American dream which everyone can achieve if you take the right steps. Believe that this is the most important thing.
Interviewer1: Of course. What were the first steps people had to take to get to you? For some questions or advice.
Respondent1: Okay. You know how things are right now, how the market is right now, and we’re busy with people, so, if anyone wants the services from us…
Respondent1: …The first thing they have to do is go to our website and register for a class. We have it in English and we have it in Spanish, there they will learn everything they have to know about credit, buying a house, renting, even how to fix the credit if you have problems, all that, classes are given in 3 nights: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Interviewer1: In English and Spanish?
Respondent1: In both languages. Yes, sir.
Respondent1: And then you get a certificate, that certificate is necessary to be able to access the money that the governments are giving for the entrance, and there they will learn a lot. And the reason we have for people to go to class, first, before talking to a counselor, is because many of their questions are going to be answered in that class, after that we sent them the documents to take the next step.
Respondent1: That step is to determine where they are in the process. If they are ready, we put them in touch with 3 different mortgage companies, some also give more money. Let’s say, one of the cities is giving $40,000, on top of that, they can receive from a bank with whom we work, they give the entrance, 3% of the entrance, and on top of that $7,500 for the closing expenses.
So, don’t try to buy a home today if you’re not working (especially your first home), and if you don’t work with a HUD (a certified by HUD departments), you’ll be harming yourself.
Interviewer1: Sure. To buy a house, how much money do we have to have to qualify?
Respondent1: Respondent1: Okay. To buy a house without help, the minimum is 3% of the price of the house, but some people believe that you have to put 20%, no! 3 or 3.5%, and with the government programs that give you help, the only thing is that they want the person to put up nothing more than $2,000, so if you are buying out of one of these programs, it has to be $2,000, 3%, or $2,000.
Interviewer1: Come here. When you come to this country to pursue the American dream, should you rent or buy immediately? What’s the advice?
Respondent1: Rent, because you will not have credit to buy.
Respondent1: And I tell you, that’s where people get into big trouble, that I’ve even had to go to court and be a witness. There are stories that are very sad about what people have been through.
Respondent1: The problem that we Hispanics have, is if the person speaks Spanish, they immediately want to take advantage, my brother, my this, and then that’s where the problem comes.
A case that I had to go to court, a couple bought a house, they thought they bought a house, this is the country of paperwork and there are many papers, and they signed a document that looked legal, you know, “wow, it’s all right,” and those who sold the house was not a purchase, is something that is called “agreement for deed”, which means: “when you pay me this whole house, then I give you the title of the house”, that is not buying a house. You can make many mistakes, many.
Interviewer1: Well, thanks to our sponsors: Tampa Bay Network To End Hunger, and Nuevo en US.com, Housing & Education Alliance, and Gulf Coast Legal Services. The great podcast “Route to the American Dream”. And thank you Silvia for being with us with this valuable information. And I want you to give me your website.
Respondent1: Sure, Angel. It’s been a pleasure. Our website is www.heausa.org, phone 8139324663.
Interviewer1: Thank you Silvia for being with us. Thank you very much.
Respondent1: Thanks to you.
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Interviewer1: We continue with Route to the American Dream, and now we are with Sarykarmen Rivera with very valuable information with Gulf Coast Legal.
Interviewer2: Nice to accompany you this morning, I am Sarykarmen Rivera. People who are victims of gender violence or domestic violence, I imagine they have a somewhat difficult situation at home, but there are solutions, particularly with protections for themselves and their children. I am accompanied by Attorney Daniela Camacho of Gulfcoast Legal to speak precisely about this type of protection. Welcome, counselor, and tell us about this light at the end of that tunnel that can be dark for many families.
Respondent2: Certainly, very dark. Thank you very much, Sary. If a person has been a victim of domestic violence, or a victim of gender-based violence, you can apply for a court order called a “protection order”. It is an order you ask for before a judge, it is a civil proceeding and you are simply asking for protection from someone else. It is a judge’s decision whether to issue a warrant or not, but if you get the warrant, that person has to stay away from you, cannot contact you, cannot get near your home, your job, or you school, anywhere you are.
Interviewer2: Counselor, what is the first step for people who want to use this type of tool?
Respondent2: The first step is to apply to the court. They can do it, they can contact us if they want help filling out the forms, or they can go directly to the court closest to them to start the process, and it is called “a petition for a protection order”.
Interviewer2: When is the assistance of a lawyer needed to continue with this type of situation, with this type of case?
Respondent2: If a person has the ability, we always recommend that they try to seek at least assistance or advice from a lawyer. It is important to know that many people go through this process without legal representation, but if they have questions, if they want advice about how it could affect a case in general, they can always contact us.
Interviewer2: Excellent, of course, never be silent, and always, then, seek assistance, because there is it in our community of Tampa. Gulfcoast Legal, a resource for you! Good morning.
Interviewer1: Hello, friends. Here we are with Tampa Bay Network To End Hunger, and also Nuevo en US.com, Housing & Education Alliance, Gulf Coast Legal.
We start our Podcast “Route to the American Dream”, and with us is Laura. How are you? Greetings.
Respondent3: How are you? It’s a pleasure, greetings.
Interviewer1: How can we donate our time to help these people? To be part of your group.
Respondent3: Of course. You can find all this on our page tampabaysinhambre.org, there you can find the map I mentioned above to know specifically the places where food is being distributed near your home, in your community, and also how you can help us, you can do it by donating, because we also need donations to help, if you are in position, not to need anything, but to help, we receive donations and we also receive time voluntary grants. How can they do it? By entering tampabaysinhambre.org.
Interviewer1: People who have children and we know that they are having a very difficult time, as you mentioned, parents are working, but it is difficult for them. Do you also deliver food to children?
Respondent3: Of course, all this kind of help. Look, it’s for kids, for seniors, for veterans, for everyone who needs it. If you are seeing us right now you say, “I have this need, or I have a neighbor, I have a friend, I have a family member”.
Respondent3: Tell them to go, to call, to get help, because help is available. We do not want anyone to go to sleep without a plate of food, without their children being well fed, and this is the purpose of Tampa Bay Networks To End Hunger, is to end hunger in our Tampa Bay.
Interviewer1: For the suppliers who are listening and want to be part of this organization.
Respondent3: Of course. If you want to do it, you can also go to our page, there you will find all the information of how you can do it, you can write to us and some of our people in charge will communicate with you.
And now, Angel, I also wanted to tell you something, as people get their meals, people call and then they give them their market, their different kind of food according to need, I want to tell you something because we’ve already talked so much about food, I don’t know you, but I’m already hungry.
Respondent3: I’m already hungry [laughs].
Respondent3: And I know that those who are listening to us right now, they will also suddenly say: “Well, we are already hungry after talking about so much food”.
Interviewer1: Of course.
Respondent3: I want to tell you that the food that you receive is a meal with which you can make delicious recipes, of which for example today we want to share with you so you know that you can make delicious and nutritious things for you and for the family, and in a way that you can share with your children and share with each other making these recipes. I want to tell you.
Interviewer1: Ah, you’re going to give me a recipe now.
Respondent3: Do you want to? [Laughter].
Interviewer1: Of course, we will listen to the recipe now, and I will also write it down just in case [laughs].
Respondent3: Please, take notes. I’m going to tell you, I’m not an expert cook, but with this recipe I think I can do very well.
Interviewer1: You don’t burn many pots, but you do burn them.
Respondent3: Well, I want to tell you that this recipe has been delivered to us by the chef, the renowned chef Kevin McGinnis.
Respondent3: I want to tell you that he is also a very recognized person, but I tell you that in his beginnings he was a single father who fed his children even with the help of “The Food Stamps”. He learned that you could make delicious recipes without having to spend a lot of money with very expensive food, there was no need, that you could eat well with food that we can deliver even in places where we can ask for help.
So, I want to tell you what we’re doing today, are you ready?
Interviewer1: I’m ready. Don’t burn the pot, don’t burn the pot.
Respondent3: No, of course not. So, be prepared, but also all the information I’m going to give you here will be found again on our page. If you don’t have time to write it down, then go to our page and see this delicious recipe to make at home. So, let’s make a recipe for cowboy beans today. Did you eat cowboy beans, Angel?
Interviewer1: Cowboy beans? I imagine it’s beans with fried egg and white rice.
Respondent3: Ah, no.
Interviewer1: In Puerto Rico we call it “On Horseback”.
Respondent3: On horseback? Hey, look.
Respondent3: I will tell you then how we can do it with products that you have in your cupboard and products that here can also be delivered to you. So, what you’re going to need is a can of beans, a can of mixed vegetables, a can of ham or even any type of meat you have at home, it can be chicken, the one you like best, everything works in this recipe, we need a clove of garlic, 1/4 of onion, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. They’re low on ingredients, you realize, but if you also realize, they’re very nutritious. So, how are we going to do that? You’re going to chop the garlic and the onion. So, really small…
Interviewer1: In small pieces.
Respondent3: Aha, little ones, you saw that I do know [laughs].
Interviewer1: [Laughter] I cook too. I make fried egg and white rice as well.
Respondent3: Fried egg? Oh, and your white rice is delicious too, right?
Interviewer1: [Laughs] Yeah, medium rice.
Respondent3: Let’s- Excuse me?
Interviewer 1: Medium rice.
Respondent3: Aha. [Laughter] So, we’re going to chop the garlic and the onion, finely chopped (as the chefs would say) in a pot over medium heat, we’re going to put the onion and we’re going to put the garlic, and we’re going to leave them in a moment with oil for them to heal, because also as they say out there, to heal, to remove that strong flavor of onion and garlic. Then we’ll drain…
Interviewer1: I’m getting hungry already.
Respondent3: There is hunger. I tell you what I’m going to do today, I’m going to make this recipe today. We are going to drain the vegetables and we are going to add them also to the pot with what we had already put before. We are going to cut the ham, or the meat, or the chicken that you want, we are going to cut it also and we are going to throw it also to the pot. You can season it as you wish, with your preference. Then we will add the canned beans and we will cover it with a chicken broth that we have already made.
Respondent3: We will cover it and bring it to a boil. Let’s wait a moment for the juices to pour and make that delicious and juicy. We will put salt and pepper to taste, and then we can also serve it to our taste, can be, for example, with bread.
There is a healthy tip that we want to give you, and that is to always rinse the beans that come canned, in the can, so that you remove the excess salt and sodium. Also try as much as possible to use fresh vegetables, and also replace your protein as you want, the one you like the most.
The important thing here is to get creative and use what we have in our cupboard. And ready, that our family be well full, that they remain with a balanced nutrition in their body, and that is what we can offer you.
Interviewer1: I’m already hungry because of you, you know?
Interviewer1: For people who want to donate, but don’t want to do it on the website, they want to send a check by mail, or they can call.
Respondent3: All that information is on our website, absolutely everything, there you will find all the information, people who can look for help, or who can call you, who can contact you, because remember something, this is a network of ideas, this is a network of strategies, this is a coalition where they come together to look for strategies to end hunger in Tampa Bay, that is, that we really need all kinds of help, because of course, they are needed. However, you can contribute what you can, you can do it on our website that we have in English and Spanish. So, in any of your preferences, if you want to do it, our page will repeat it in English which would be networktoendhunger.org, or if you want it in Spanish is tampabaysinhambre.org
Interviewer1: Look, how interesting. People who are interested in participating in this organization, who want to join you in the organization. What do they have to do?
Respondent3: Again, Angelito. You find all this on our website, all the information, you find all the information our website because it is constantly updated, and there are ways… We even have how to find food, Ways to help, there is a part we have a tab on our website that says: “Ways to Help”, and there they will give you all the contacts, what we need, what is needed in the area.
So, when you go to our page, you will find that it says “Ways You Can Help”, or ” Maneras en las que Puedes Ayudar “, and there you can find it.
And all this Angel, as I told you, is also thanks to organizations, non-profit institutions, religious institutions, and I also want to highlight the collaboration that Car Credit is doing.
Interviewer1: It is very important, yes.
Respondent3: We all know, of course, it helps a lot by looking for ways that our community, the whole community, don’t go home or go to sleep if you don’t have a plate of food on your table. You have to know that you are not alone, that the American dream is possible, but maybe, sometimes it is difficult to start, but you are not alone. There is help available in the community that is ready for you, to help you get up, to start that dream that you have always had in your heart with your family, and you are not far away, just go to our website and you will find the map, that map that will tell you where are those places that distribute food, that is close to your community, near your home, and that you can go to ask for help.
Interviewer1: Of course, Car Credit also. Talking about Car Credit, it has joined organizations like Tampa Bay Network To End Hunger, Nuevo en US.com, Housing & Education Alliance and also Gulf Coast Legal Services.
Interviewer1: They’ve joined these organizations that are helping the Bay Area Hispanic community in different ways, Hillsborough County, Pasco and Pinellas, right?
Respondent3: Right, that’s right. Those are the counties, one of the largest counties we have here in Tampa Bay, and sometimes we don’t realize or believe we don’t, but here in the United States there are communities, there are people who do need this kind of help that we say, “No! We’re in the United States and that’s not happening,” no, it’s happening! Arriving in the United States is sometimes difficult to begin with, and you know one thing, not only that, anyone can get sick, anyone can have a difficult situation.
Interviewer1: We want to thank Car Credit which has joined these organizations like Tampa Bay Network To End Hunger, Nuevo en US.com, Housing & Education Alliance and Gulf Coast Legal Services. Thank you for being with us, Laura. See you next time.
Respondent3: Thank you, thank you very much, I loved it.
Interviewer1: [Laughter]. Okay, have a good time. Congratulations.
Respondent3: You too, see you later. Bye.
Interviewer1: Bye, bye.
[00:23:01 – Start of Advertisers]
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Interviewer1: You’ve heard “Route to the American Dream”, presented by Nuevo en US.org a program to help people who are new to the United States of America to move forward and get on the road to the American dream.
[End of Audio 00:24:38]