As the largest community development nonprofit in our region, Neighborhood Centers understands the importance of Houston’s vast diversity. Rejecting the premise that immigration is a threat to our economy, or that lower income communities are inherently “broken,” Neighborhood Centers has seen the positive impact that comes from welcoming others to our city and building upon what works.
By providing resources, education and connection to nearly 600,000 Houstonians, Neighborhood Centers helps families navigate a new economy, a new culture and their new home. The organization has been working diligently to integrate immigrants and support our neighbors who have the potential to become naturalized citizens through various programs including: immigration and citizenship services, adult language classes, free tax preparation as well as direct access to Workforce Solutions career offices. Since 2010, more than 24,000 individuals have attended Neighborhood Centers’ immigration legal forums and information sessions. As a member of the United Way of Greater Houston’s THRIVE initiative, Neighborhood Centers has been able to prepare more than 177,000 tax returns, resulting in net refunds of $288 million—money that filters back into the local economy. Last year, Neighborhood Centers served more than 200,000 people through the Workforce Solutions centers making the organization an integral institution when it comes to opportunity in Houston.
According to the Brookings Institution, Houston is America on demographic fast-forward where one-fifth of our population is foreign-born. We are lucky to live in a place where people can work and build a future for themselves and their families. In collaboration with other regional businesses, Neighborhood Centers helps make Houston a welcoming place of opportunity. There are millions of people in motion across the world right now and many have come to Houston to start a new life—this should be something to celebrate. With such a large population of immigrants, including refugees, it has always been important that families are embraced with opportunity. That’s what Neighborhood Centers represents in Houston.
by Ida Sameri