Research and Capacity Building Collaboration with University of Toronto
Since the early 2000’s we have built collaboration with the University by working in different projects relating mainly to issues in the field of Social Work. This has included both research and development of reports, and receiving technical advice and knowledge transfer empowering the applied work in the field at the Hispanic Development Council.
Current collaboration objectives and goals aim at establishing new work to strengthen the capacity and quality of life of Spanish speaking seniors in the GTA, and possibly applying best practices beyond this geographic area and other communities. Latino-Hispanics older adults are united in language, but connected to immigrant communities from many countries ranging from Argentina to Central America and Mexico. A growing number of Latino older adults need support to age in place actively and connected to peers and the wider Canadian fabric of life. Our research and knowledge building will assess their current and anticipated challenges and culturally situated services available now to address them. Pending funding resources the projected research will be used to launch a collaborative impact initiative with short, mid and long-term strategies to close the gap between what is and what can be for this community of seniors. The latter strategy stands in direct relation with the Seniors Strategy program outlined under that section of this W-site.
Census 2016 data shows 2% of Canadians with Spanish as their mother tongue (over 140,000 people) live in Toronto.
Also, census data shows individuals identifying as Latin Americans (including Brazilians who speak Portuguese) are the fifth largest immigrant group in Canada with a high concentration of individuals living on low incomes. Unlike most other immigrant groups, 2nd and 3rd generation Latin Americans are not gaining in prosperity: while 21% of first generation immigrants live in poverty, 20% of their children and 23% of their grandchildren also live in poverty. Thus, unlike other older adults, many Latino older adults cannot rely on financial support from children and/or grandchildren, for example to pay for housing or home health care needs. As this community ages, persistent language barriers, poverty, and racialization are a growing threat to connections, both within Spanish-speaking communities, between such groups, and with community life at large. The proposed partnership project will mobilize Latino older adults to work together to be part of a community-based gap analysis that identifies challenges and ways to meet them, including how to shape services and programs that envision a more connected future for themselves in which they can thrive, learn, and live healthy, active lives.