This month's KKXX Chico NOW! episode, hosted by Vince Haney, featured our CEO Thomas Tenorio and special guest Rosario Zepeda, the newest case manager at our Esplanade House. The three of them had several things to talk about during this month’s show.
Listen to the full episode: [Click Here]
Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)
There is a lot to process as a citizen of Butte County right now. We are in the midst of COVID-19, The North Valley Complex Fire, and PSPS. For some of our neighbors, that is potentially two to three emergency/crisis situations to manage simultaneously.
CAA contracts with PG&E is to implement a program where we place portable solar batteries in the homes of people on the medical baseline program. Last week we received around 250 batteries and are scheduled to get another 400 in the coming weeks. There is still a while before fire season ends and we want to make sure that those who need power to run their medical devices have it whenever another PSPS happens.
Our staff is currently reaching out to the 1,500 people in the medical baseline program to assess their needs. If we find they do need a battery, our staff will go out to their property to install it and train the resident on how to use the device. The long-term solution will be the installation of permanent batteries, a project that’s had its funding approved and is currently in the works.
Tom introduced Rosario Zepeda as the newest staff member to join the CAA and work at the Agency’s Esplanade House Program. Rosario first came to the CAA as an intern in late 2019. Then she came on staff in January, 2020 in a part-time capacity to be able to finish classes at CSUC. After she graduated (Yay!) her schedule expanded to full-time.
Tom posed several questions to Rosario during the radio interview to help listeners have an opportunity to get to know what a day is like in the life of a case manager was like. She spoke about how she works with families to collaboratively create a plan to reach their goals. As a case manager she describes her role as the guiding hand to navigate hoops and hurdles that families encounter.
Before the pandemic, Rosario would attend appointments, manage documentation and the many referrals to our program or community resources and check-in with her families to connect with them. Now she’s had to adjust from focusing on the family’s employment and housing search efforts to conducting case sessions by phone and counseling their frustrations in the new normal and supporting parents to help their kids to switch to school-at-home.
Though her day-to-day work has changed a few times over the course of this year and has been challenging at times, she still finds her job rewarding. Seeing the residents’ growth and watching as they move closer to their goals towards eventually graduating from the program is what it’s all about for her.
CAA has done a lot to combat food insecurity in the six county area that we serve with our North State Food Bank. We wrapped up Hunger Action Month and want to provide you with a bigger picture perspective of the conditions in which we work. Even before the tragedies of the last few years, our community faced hunger.
The Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institute provides data on food insecurity that should be of interest to everyone. For example, California is one of 9 states where 1 in 4 children experience food insecurity. Of these households, at least 85% are headed by adults who work.
The factors that exist as presented in the paper are a reason for why we do what we do through our food bank. There is much more information from the project so keep an eye out for when it gets posted to our website. It is important that our community knows the reasons for why the CAA does what we do.
In closing this month we believe that needs in our community are still very prevalent and we are thankful for the support that we receive from other organizations, donors, and volunteers who help us to help others overcome barriers. If you would like to join the efforts, please donate or sign up to volunteer!