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City Of Houston, Community Groups Work To Reach Spanish-Speaking Flood Victims

Many non-English speakers are unaware of the assistance available to them.


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Armando Walle
Florian Martin
State Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, speaks about the importance of getting flood recovery information to Spanish-speakers.

The Greenspoint area in north Houston was one of the hardest-hit during the recent flooding.

Its population is about two-thirds Hispanic, many of whom speak little or no English.

State Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, said when he visited a temporary shelter the night of the flooding, he noticed that not a lot of Spanish-speakers were coming in.

That's why he and Mayor Sylvester Turner decided to partner with community organizations to reach out to Spanish-speaking flood victims.

"They shouldn't fear the city of Houston, or these organizations because they were just there to help," Walle said. "They weren't ICE, you know. And I don't mean that in a joking way. I'm being very serious about that. They're not immigration authorities. They're just there to help."

Mary Moreno is with the Texas Organizing Project, one of the groups that's doing outreach among Greenspoint residents.

She said they are going door to door to make sure Spanish-speakers get all the information they need.

"A lot of it is disseminated in English," Moreno said. "So if it's not on Univision, or Telemundo, or in one of the Spanish-speaking papers, they're not getting it."

Moreno said she wants flood victims to know that their citizenship or immigration status doesn't affect their eligibility for help.

You do have to be a legal resident in order to get assistance from FEMA. But it's sufficient to have one family member who is a citizen or green card holder.