TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz today joined with the Latino Action Network and other advocates in a roundtable discussion on efforts to boost state funding for the Hispanic Women’s Centers, a network of facilities that serve a full spectrum of needs for women and families, including health care, counseling and job training. Senator Sweeney and Senator Ruiz will fight to increase financial support for the centers in the new, FY2018 state budget.
“We will fight to put money into the budget to support the Hispanic Women’s Resource Centers because the work they do is so important in the lives of so many people and is important for all of us in New Jersey,” said Senator Sweeney. “The centers provide important job training and employment resources for women to enter the work force. We must be doing everything we can to help women in the job market, especially those who are from traditionally underserved populations.”
This year’s state budget includes an appropriation of $250,000 for the centers. Democrats in the Legislature last year sought $500,000 but the governor reduced the sum to $250,000 for the Fiscal Year 2017. The new state spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018 will be acted on before July 1.
“These centers provide vital resources to families in our state, from prenatal classes, to early childhood education programs and counseling services for victims of domestic violence,” said Senator Ruiz. “State support is critical to making sure that residents have access to programs in the community that will have a direct positive impact on their lives, and we are committed to working to increase funding in the budget for these centers in the new fiscal year.”
The Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey provides health and human services to families and individuals in need, serving 10,000 clients every year with three locations in Camden County and one in Gloucester County. There are centers in Newark and Asbury Park as well. The centers address the immediate and long term physical, mental, social, economic, and political needs of New Jersey residents.
“State support for the Hispanic Women’s Resource Centers enables us to provide the community we serve with a broad range of culturally relevant social service and advocacy programs that promote and encourage empowerment and self-sufficiency,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, Chair, Latino Action Network Foundation. “These centers also help to strengthen families and the communities they serve. We welcome the advocacy of Senator Sweeney, Senator Ruiz and other supporters in the Legislature. Our work is important but we know our success is better achieved with the help of others.”
Also participating were: Daniel Santo Pietro, Executive Director, LAN Foundation; Darlene Montanaro, Program Coordinator, Community Affairs Resource Center, Asbury Park; Elsa Candelario, Executive Director, Hispanic Family Center of Southern NJ, Camden; Wendy Melendez, La Casa de Don Pedro, and Sonia Delgado, Vice President, LUPE.