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Hundreds Rally for Hispanic Center

Mayor guarantees Hispanic Center funding to help serve those people in need.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and City Council President Joe Cavo said during Thursday's rally in support of the Hispanic Center they will sort out the financial problems facing the Hispanic Center.

Friends of the Hispanic Center rallied at the center on Harmony Street Thursday out of fears the center might close because the umbrella agency that provides its money is in financial distress.

"The Hispanic Center offers people a lot of help," said Amber Medina, who attended the rally with her daughters Alea and Fernanda. Amber has been getting help from the center since 2006. That includes backpacks full of school supplies for her daughters, Thanksgiving baskets and presents for Three Kings Day. "It helps us a lot."

The City Council will start work on this issue at its Oct. 4 meeting.

"As long as I'm mayor of this city we'll have the Hispanic Center," said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. "We want the center to evolve as the needs of the city evolves to serve whatever those needs are."

Ingrid DiMarzo, executive director of the Hispanic Center, said, "We're not going anywhere. Every social service agency in the city needs to evolve."

CACD, the Community Action Center of Danbury, acts as the umbrella agency that funnels state and federal money to the Hispanic Center for its programs. Both CACD and the Hispanic Center run programs to help people who don't earn much money.

Former Danbury Mayor Gene Eriquez attended Thursday's rally in support of the Hispanic Center, and Eriquez said similar financial problems arose at CACD in his terms as mayor. He said they also arose during Jimmy Dyer's administration before his.

"They have had financial issues, it would be fair to say," Eriquez said. "I dealt with it in my term. CACD has done good things helping people of low income in this community. They have had a host of financial problems."

Cavo said he visited CACD Wednesday night with Hispanic Center Executive Director Ingrid DiMarzo, to discuss the contract between the two agencies.

Cavo said he was asked to leave before the two parties started to talk. "I have lost confidence in their ability to operate with transparency."

Cavo and City Council Member Tom Saadi said the city is asking for audits of CACD, and some state audits have been critical, including an Inspector General audit and an audit by the state Department of Social Services.

"This is about an audit proving an agency isn't doing the right thing. We don't want to lose the agency. We don't want to see that money going to other towns. We want to fix it," Saadi said.

Saadi and Cavo expect the City Council to take action at its meeting on October 4 to investigate the issue. The meeting is usually held on the first Tuesday of the month, but because of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the meeting will take place on Thursday next week.

Danbury_Dude September 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM
I demand funding for the new Caucasian Center I'm starting!
Andrew Wiggin September 28, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Let the ignorance of your community unfold in this comment board. This about one agency honoring the contract with another who has been providing services for OUR community for 40 years. It's a business transaction that the CACD has violated. Making anonymous posts on the Danbury Patch showing how ignorant your are about how your community functions does not make you an active citizen. It shows the sad state of affairs of community engagement in Danbury that so many have so little knowledge of how things get done in the city. Step out from behind your computer and get involved.
barbara roos September 28, 2012 at 04:06 PM
As a former member of the board of directors of the Hispanic Center I will say that it is about time the center becomes independent of CACD and their problems both administratively and financially. This has gone on long enough and the center can take care of itself. It is also time for the honorable Mr. Boughton to look into this carefully and with commitment. Barbara Roos
Kevin Finnigan September 28, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Maybe it's time for them to just become "independent" altogether. Maybe it's time for them to put their hands in the pocket of the Hispanic community for a change and help themselves? At what point to your "members" begin to ween themselves off this kind of public assistance and start to fend for themselves?
Sombody That Knows September 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Wow, "this about?" I am not so quick to ASSume that everyone is "ignorant" because they might not be privy to how things between 2 non-profit, mostly federally funded organizations go down in Danbury. But what I will say is any time you "demand something" it is never a good thing for either party. Most importantly, last I checked this is the US, we have the right to communicate on this forum how we chose. You decided to put your self out there on blast and I respect that too.
Sombody That Knows September 28, 2012 at 09:32 PM
CACD has not discriminated in terms of serving this community for years. They have a history of doing good things for the people of this community. No organization exists for that period of time and not have some history where circumspection yields lessons. These Gestapo conspiracies and manufactured rage tatics are ridiculous. Time to harvest someone of the crops that you have thoroughly seeded over the years. Next.
Denise Valeri September 28, 2012 at 09:48 PM
The Greater Danbury area Non-Profit organizations have a long history of collaboration, ridiculing an agency in a public forum is not how Human Services are implemented. Glenda Armstrong is a well respected member of this community, and has remained above the fray, and kept her comments to herself. There are plenty of agencies who in this economy have been forced to cut-back in major cost saving ways, that does'nt mean they hold a hate mongering rally to complain, they pull up their boot-straps and get to work. The tax-payers in this State have been generous to the hispanic population, they recieve many services that are sub-sidized by tax revenues, this operating budget loss, may be considered a duplication of services,
Catherine September 29, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Where do I join?
Bob Doherty September 29, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Does the Irish Cultural center, the portugese Cultural Center and the Lebanese Cultural center Demand the City of Danbury suport thier cause? I think not. I think thje Hispanic community in Danbury is large enough to help themselves, My taxes are too high already. Bob Doherty, Danbury Ct

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