What Do We Mean By Culturally Competent, In-Language Support?

The initial organizers of Asian Americans for Housing are Korean Americans. We have been quickly partnering with Chinese Americans for private fundraising and distributions. East Asian Americans are doing the bulk of fundraising to help Pan-Asian groups of people.

Why us? Because both groups have large enclaves that have a range of resources. Koreatown and The San Gabriel Valley are the pride of rich and very affluent Korean Americans and Chinese Americans. Both of our groups have multigenerational resources in America. The better off among us can pay it forward.

We’re all Asian, but we’re not the same kind of Asian. Even within our own groups, there is heterogeneity. When Viet organizations started reaching out to to us, we gave them money to buy meals or meal kits for Viet and Asian seniors who are in urgent need. Our outreach method is to start with people in the most urgent need.

We asked Viet Care to choose heritage foods for 100 Viet seniors in urgent need of supplemental food. The food will be delivered tomorrow. Asian people eat different things.


Our modus operandi is to start small with outreach and provide immediate, direct aid in the form of material goods, hot food, and easy to cook with ingredients. We assess quickly and provide immediate aid. When there is an urgent need, we are able to provide direct need on the spot, within a few hours, or the next day.

We start small because we know the numbers will grow. We start small because it helps us learn from and fix issues or mistakes early on. We start small to spread calm.

We have found that the vast majority of food insecure people don’t want or need that much food. Most want one or two additional hot meals and a food care package or grocery assistance once a month.

We are a small nonprofit with a very high capacity to purchase food and distribute through our partners.

We are starting to partner with city council offices and field deputies. We work in a supplemental and conciliatory manner. We want to reduce multiple outreach efforts by sharing outreach. We want to assist with culturally competent, in-language support to ensure that the most marginalized Asian Americans and seniors are not erased or invisibilized. Our assistance is also very efficient.

Our Current Initiatives

  1. Identifying and assisting unhoused/homeless Asians. There has been a major surge in the past 3-5 years as gentrification took root in the lowest income buildings and blocks of Asian American enclaves.
  2. Rapid Rehousing for Asian Americans
  3. Our Restaurant Purchase Initiative. We buy hot meals from struggling Asian owned restaurants and distribute the food to low income or no income Asian seniors.
  4. We expanded beyond Koreatown for our partner distribution network to include Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Thai Town, The San Gabriel Valley, and Orange County.
  5. We supplement or help start Asian food pantries with our partner organizations. We have the only Asian ingredient specific food bank in LA and Orange County
  6. We’re growing our partnerships with BIPOC communities. Our first initiative is with South Central LA. The funding for this comes from several sources. We order meals from struggling BIPOC restaurant owners, we make food care packages, and distribute food to low income Black seniors. We’re also starting “Black Child First” an education initiative.

Our Capacity

Current and long term outreach and distribution partners:

  • Thai CDC
  • API Forward
  • Viet-Care
  • Southland Integrated Services
  • Zerita Jones of LATU Baldwin Hills/Leimert Park/Crenshaw District (South Central LA Initiative)

Future partners:

  • Koreatown Youth + Community Center
  • Koreatown Popular Assembly
  • Homeboys (Boyle Heights and South Central LA)
  • 15 NC’s in South Central Los Angeles
  • Pacoima Beautiful 

Partners That We’re Not Actively Working with on a Week to Week Basis

  • Little Tokyo Service Center
    • They don’t need our assistance with material resources and their distribution capacity and needs have been met. If they do further outreach and can’t meet the additional need, then we can help. 
  • Chinatown Community for Equitable Development
    • Capacity to distribute is erratic.

Our Strategies

  • Community & ally outreach: We instigated and ignited BAC (Black and Asian Coalition) in South Central Los Angeles and Koreatown
  • Coalition building with other Asian American group specific grassroots organizations to for culturally competent, in-language support
  • Leadership development for Asian Americans of all ages and economic backgrounds, for example a Korean American senior tenant organization
  • Constituent empowerment & decision-making through in-language explanations of policies and legal information
  • Popular education through grassroots events, organizations, and housing complexes in-language
  • Root cause analysis. We analyze policies, economics, politics, and the courses of capitalism. We analyze the how, why, where, and the money behind issues.
  • Power analysis. We ask who the power players? Are they invisible? How do we make them visible and accountable to the marginalized?
  • Campaign development. We develop social movements towards positive change by changing and steering narratives about social and economic inequality.
  • Mobilizing constituents & allies. We mobilize through tenants associations and grassroots coalition building.
  • Direct action: We take direct action to effect change

Korean American Senior Tenants Union

More complete translation coming soon. We talked about the apartment building they live in. It was once predominately for low income seniors, majority Korean American. The building was built in 1971. So it’s rent controlled. However, during the past five years or so, management started renting to students. When elderly residents pass away, students would move in. We’re starting to ask questions. We know that elderly seniors from all backgrounds need affordable or section 8 housing. Why are these units being removed from marketplaces that are accessible to low income or fixed income seniors?

We’re going to organize a Korean American tenants union, because the majority of the senior tenants here are Korean American. We’re going to start advocating for all the senior tenants in this building and turn it into a local, state, and national cause.

Grandma Kim and Grandpa Kim welcome the activism. They’re used to it. They like it.

Our Current Initiatives in Los Angeles

  1. Unhoused Korean American Seniors (27 in a makeshift main shelter, 8 in two other shelters, about a dozen who alternate between sleeping in saunas, churches, and hidden in the streets). Increase outreach efforts at churches, saunas, and on the streets.
  2. Housing rights and support services for at risk Korean American seniors (We’re starting to work with one building near USC. We currently help a mother and son [both are elderly] with meal assistance).
  3. Outreach to unhoused LGBQT young Korean Americans in Koreatown.
  4. Outreach to women and mothers. The main shelter run by reverend Kim is for men only. He gets calls from women he cannot help.
  5. Obtain permanent housing.

We hope to duplicate our initiatives with grassroots, community driven Asian American group specific organizations to help them provide culturally competent and in-language support.