Colorado's Servicios de la Raza expands to Pueblo
One of Colorado's largest and longest-running Latino social services nonprofits is growing its footprint to reach some of the state's most underserved areas.
What's happening: Servicios de la Raza held a grand opening on Saturday for its new location in Pueblo.
- The office will focus on offering post-incarceration and behavioral health services, but plans are already underway to open a food pantry and establish housing, workforce development and victim services programming, president and CEO Rudy Gonzales tells Axios Denver.
What they're saying: "We intentionally chose Pueblo because it's characterized as a behavioral health care desert … and there's a need for more bilingual licensed therapy services," Gonzales says.
- As is, Colorado's mental health centers are struggling to find professionals who speak English, so having Spanish-speaking Latino therapists is "unicorn rare," he adds.
The big picture: Latino communities in Colorado and nationwide face major barriers when it comes to accessing care and receiving quality treatment, despite significant increases in mental health and substance abuse issues.
- The gaps in treatment services put Latino residents at higher risk for more severe and persistent health problems.
Zoom in: The Pueblo project is funded in part with $500,000 from Regional Accountable Entities, state organizations that help administer Medicaid services.
- The funding will support two behavioral health case managers and two behavioral health therapists, all of whom are Pueblo natives, Gonzales says.
- The therapists will also offer telehealth services to expand their reach — which Gonzales says will benefit the thousands of residents who are forced to regularly travel to Denver for treatment.
What's next: Servicios de la Raza is eyeing other locations for new offices along the Western Slope.
- The ultimate goal is to be statewide, Gonzales says.
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