|Tri-Annual Activity Report|
|Written by Joe Phan|
|Saturday, 26 June 2010 20:06|
TO GENERAL PUBLIC SINCE SEPTEMBER 2008
Five days after Hurricane Ike hit
These tasks were realized and performed by a small number of volunteers to provide mandatory FEMA ID for victims and survivors alike, in order to become qualified and eligible for any future benefits or compensation.
· Numbers of rotating volunteers for a week-long operation: 15
· Numbers of people served: over 300
In the following weeks, I have represented VCC (
Subsequently, I also assisted victims in translating necessary documents when required.
Starting in April of 2009, after receiving a sub-grant from BPSOS, there were 2 full-time case managers who handled Hurricane Ike-related relief efforts. They have made numerous outreach activities within
This operation officially ended in March 2010.
· Numbers of cases handled: over 70
VCC continued to provide vital information regarding Hurricane Ike relief effort, using mass media to help victims communicate with Area Agencies.
· Numbers of victims approached: unknown
Since January 2009, VCC has committed to open up its facility every first & third Tuesday of the month to process applications for the above-enumerated programs.
These group-intake sessions also included periodical extra services such as: blood pressure reading, glucose test, cholesterol test that were provided by qualified personnel from Harris County Hospital District.
· Average number of applicants in each session: 25
· Write or call relevant agencies to solve problems such as: benefits denied, bill disputes, etc… Monetary values of successful cases to prevent unnecessary reimbursement, underpayments, etc… are estimated at $15,000.00
In August 2009, VCC, in collaboration with Susan Komen Foundation – through MD Anderson Cancer Center, has provided Free Mammogram Tests (including X-rays, and subsequent check-ups as required)) for underserved and pre-qualified women. This service also included referrals from VCC to Indian Clinic to obtain doctor’s permission.
· Numbers of qualified women served: 8
PAP SMEAR TESTS
In May 2009, VCC has also provided vital information and/or referrals to underserved & qualified women to have Pap Smear Test to prevent and/or detect cervical cancer among Asians.
This kind of service is sorely needed for Asian women since studies & statistics show that the proportion of potential victims is alarmingly high, as compared with Caucasian women (more than 7 times higher between these 2 groups)
· Numbers of people served: 7
In July 2009, VCC has invited health professionals to conduct workshops to raise awareness of hepatitis that is rampant among Asian population of all ages.
· Number of workshop conducted: 1
(VCC prefers to make more such arrangements in the near future, once our facility is renovated and reopened)
SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS & SSI BENEFITS
In mid-2009, VCC has assisted a number of recipients in the following manner:
· Referral of potential recipients to different Social Security Administration offices throughout the City of
· When time permits, accompanying them to local SSA offices when no Vietnamese-speaking caseworkers are available. Numbers of people served: 2
· Writing letter of appeals, or making phone calls on recipients’ behalf when disputes or discrepancies occurred. Average time spent per case: 2 hours. Numbers of people served: 3. Money saved for recipients is estimated at $7,000.00
EMPLOYMENT SERVICES & UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
Employment services provided are insignificant in tough economic time.
However, starting in June 2009 and still ongoing, quantifiable and tangible services related to unemployment can be successfully measured by the amount of money saved for recipients through a variety of activities (excluding normal laid-off cases) such as:
· Spending considerable amount of time to review adverse determination (meaning denial of benefits) and writing letters of appeal. Numbers of people served: 45. Average time spent per case: 2 hours.
· Preparing UI (unemployment insurance benefits) recipients for hearings via phone (officially conducted by Texas Work Commission judge [referee] with participation of the unemployed (and his or her witnesses, if need be) and employer’s representative.) Each hearing session may last somewhere between 2 to 6 hours. Numbers of people served: 12
· Making argument and/or deliberation by letters to defend recipients in case reimbursement requests from TWC were not logical. Average time spent per case: 2 hour. Numbers of people served: 8
· Assisting recipients in re-constructing & clarifying procession of events (with most complex cases) that may cause misunderstanding, confusion that eventually led to determination of benefits’ denial. Average time spent per case: 3 hours.
· All together, this kind of services was provided since June 2009, and is still ongoing. Monetary values of successful cases which resulted in forfeiture of reimbursement request, continuation of receiving benefits after lapse time, etc… are estimated at $120,000.00
· Referring a small number of victims of one unscrupulous employer that paid them with NSF checks for pro-bono legal assistance (a big thank you to Mr. Robert Pham, Esq. with BPSOS). Monetary amount retrieved by way of receiving good checks were unknown, but average check is about $600.00.
· Job Fair at a few community centers in southwest area. Results were mediocre due to high area unemployment rate.
Without the benefit of professional services provided by qualified attorneys, the scope of activities related to immigration was very limited.
Only non-significant services were offered to the public such as: translation of documents (birth certificates, marriage licenses, affidavit of celibacy, school records, diplomas, etc…)
However, in late 2009, VCC was successful in meticulously preparing two extremely lengthy narratives (almost 20 pages/each, with photos attached) to explain in relevant details that led to reversal of delay of previous unfavorable decisions.
In those 2 cases, VCC and its constituents owed a great debt of gratitude to services provided by Senator John Cornyn’s
In addition to providing facility to accommodate daily activities of seniors from Vietnamese Elderly Association (with nominal cost for water & electricity consumption – since March 2009), other assistance was rendered to all seniors included:
· Workshop & presentation by Harris County Area Agency on Aging to disseminate vital information related to services available to seniors that might include such items as: hearing aids, wheel chairs, motorized wheel chairs, prescription drugs, eye glasses, etc…
Participants at event: 40
· VCC also provided information related to address, direction, procedures to establish a valid case for assistance consideration through Harris County Area Agency on Aging.
· Organizing numerous group-intake sessions (on and off-premise) to help qualified seniors in receiving assistance via CEAP (Community Energy Assistance Program). This service became available and performed through assistance by teams of application processors dispatched from various agencies such as: YWCA, Northwest Assistance Ministries,
Area covered and applications processed encompass roughly 60 different zip codes.
Average amount of money received by CEAP recipients is estimated at $400.00, out of $1,200.00 maximum.
VCC has been actively engaged with activities related to crime prevention measures and/or study thereof in convenience store industry:
· Collaborating with HPD (Houston Police Department) in producing Vietnamese-dubbed video.
· Making arrangements, translating pilot survey, accompanying professional to different Vietnamese-owned convenience stores to conduct surveys that related to city ordinance and suggestion/medication thereof. (In this case, study was under the auspice of NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health), a division of CDC (Center for Disease Control. This study took its inaugural debut in
VCC also made arrangements for Dr. Menendez to broaden her study to different Asian communities in
Various assistance services related to Census 2010 began in June 2009, with a series of meetings with various organizations, both in private as well as public sectors, to raise awareness of, and ensure active participation to, the constitutionally-mandated campaign every decade.
VCC representatives have also provided translation to a numbers of documents, posters, flyers, brochures, etc… to promote Census 2010
VCC has opened up its premise, since February 2010, to Census 2010 for a variety of activities, such as: testing of census takers, QAC (questions & answers centers), training of census workers at all levels.
VCC and its volunteers have also participated in various outreach efforts and/or Census blitz to ensure the success of Census 2010.
For this active contribution to Census 2010, Mr. Gabriel A. Sanchez, Regional Director of Census Bureau from Dallas has sent a Certificate of Appreciation to VCC, institutionally; and to Mr. Joe Phan, individually.
This special report excluded a number of activities, though beneficial and important, but still in their embryonic stage, such as: sport, youth, education, awareness and/or knowledge of basic financial services, resettlement of Vietnamese newcomers to
Prepared for Tri-Annual General Assembly of the Vietnamese Community of Houston & Vicinities on June 25, 2010, by H. Philip Nguyen