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CARECEN is a 501(c)3 community -based organization that provides legal, education, empowerment and other services to the Central American/Latino community in the Washington, Dc metropolitan area. CARECEN's mission is to promote the comprehensive development of the community by responding to its changing need as it deepens its roots in the United States.
Founded in 1981, CARECEN, a nonprofit community-based organization, was originally established to protect the rights of refugees from Central America's wars and to provide direct legal services that would ease their transition. Over time, the organization has evolved and grown with the community into broader areas of community service and economic development, establishing itself as a strong and visible advocate on critical local and national legislative and policy issues, particularly those relating to immigration and housing. CARECEN provides the information, access, direct services and life-skill and civic training necessary for clients to attain a safe and stable environment for their families. Our work promotes human rights advocacy and leadership skills so that all our immigrants can ultimately also play a role in promoting our community's development. All of our programs are available to low and moderate income Latinos living in any part of the Washington metropolitan area, though the majority of our clients reside in Washington, D.C., concentrated primarily in Wards 1 & 4, with lesser concentration in Wards 5 and 8. One-third of the people we serve are from nearby Maryland, particularly Prince George's and Montgomery counties, and one fifth from Virginia. CARECEN runs a branch office in northern Virginia for general community outreach, and for citizenship classes and citizenship application preparation. We serve a population representative of all Latin American nations and all the stages of the long and complex migration process, and deal with all the legal and policy issues affecting them each step of that journey.
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