The Colonia Outreach Program provided outreach, information, eligibility pre-screening, and enrollment assistance for public programs to the colonias of Hidalgo and Starr counties, Texas. Colonias are typically rural, and made up of predominantly Hispanic and Latino populations. Texas colonias are home to an estimated 500,000 people. Often, these communities lack necessities such as potable water, safe housing, or electricity. Forty two percent of residents living within Texas colonias are below the poverty line, and another 19 percent are close to it.
The Colonia Outreach Program used Community Health Workers to conduct door-to-door outreach inside the colonias, an invaluable tool in helping residents access healthcare and social services. In many circumstances, access to these services is difficult for colonia residents. Transportation options for residents of the colonias are limited, and many residents are unaware of what public assistance programs they’re eligible for. Even if a resident is aware of their eligibility for an assistance program, they may face linguistic and cultural barriers that make it challenging to begin the application process. Door-to-door outreach conducted by Community Health Workers (CHWs) provided a proven approach that helped residents overcome these barriers.