Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA), an NCOA-supported Benefits Enrollment Center (BEC), has a mission to provide services, advocacy, and education for diverse communities resulting in a healthier and more empowered population seeking good health. Since 2002, APCA has connected community members to resources and information and enrolled them into services.

When APCA became a BEC in October 2016, it was able to build on that legacy and continue to innovate the ways in which it builds relationships to better serve Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.

Who is the target audience?

Specifically, APCA targets immigrants and refugees, especially those who are low-income and Limited English Speaking (LES), as they are typically the communities with the largest need but are paradoxically the most underserved.

Geographically speaking, the community is dispersed throughout the Phoenix metro area, making it difficult for APCA to be located in a place that is truly accessible to everyone. The community is also very diverse, hailing from 30 different countries and speaking as many languages. To date, it is estimated that 48% of AANHPI seniors in Arizona are LES.

What do they do?

Old Asian man smiling beside his wifeTo address language barriers, APCA’s Outreach and Enrollment Specialists speak Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean, which are the languages spoken by the majority of LES AANHPIs in Arizona. To transcend geographic barriers, APCA’s offices are centrally located within the Phoenix metro area, adjacent to a light rail stop and a couple of miles away from two major freeways. APCA also does outreach in the places where community members are already going. These include places of worship, community centers, grocery stores, and other businesses where there are high levels of activity from the AANHPI community. APCA staff also builds relationships and networks with other agencies that form the social safety net in Arizona, from government public health departments, to clinics, and refugee resettlement agencies; APCA is sought after when clients are in need of a service that APCA provides.

As an example, APCA recently held Benefits Enrollment Checkup screenings at the Indo-American Community Center, which serves seniors on Thursdays. The Program Outreach Coordinator held a presentation to talk about benefits enrollment for the seniors who attend the weekly meetings. They were given an explanation of what a BenefitsCheckUp® is and about the variety of programs they may qualify for and the information they need to provide in order to be screened. On the second visit, APCA’s Outreach and Enrollment Specialists joined the Program Outreach Coordinator and held screenings for the community members who were present. The following week, APCA treated the seniors to lunch and screened some new attendees, and consulted with and enrolled some of those who had been screened the previous week.

What are the results?

By utilizing this approach, APCA is able to establish a relationship with the seniors being served by the Indo-American center. Now they are not only aware of which programs they qualify for, but also of where they can refer their friends and family should they also need screening and enrollment assistance. APCA was also able to recruit a volunteer who has been trained on how to do the screenings and will be available to their community to do the screening and make an appointment for APCA staff to do the enrollment portion if needed.

For more information

Layal Rabat
Asian Pacific Community in Action