Francisco Rosa has lived with HIV for the last 24 years. It’s a battle that hasn’t been easy, but one place that’s helped him prevail in his fight is Latino Community Services.
“I feel safe. I feel that I have a place to go,” Rosa said. “You can communicate and the people, you know they can hear you.”
The community organization that provides an array of services, including HIV and AIDS testing, medical, and housing assistance. It has been around for 35 years and runs out of a building on Albany Avenue in Hartford's North End.
LCS also offers a food pantry to anyone in need.
It’s Project KIKI is a 12 month program for people at risk of contracting HIV.
LCS leaders say their goal is a simple one: to meet members of the community where they are and provide the resources to lead healthier, safer lives.
“This is still here. HIV has not gone anywhere. We are here to give them any type of support that they need with any type of services,” said Marilyn Estremera, one of LCS’s program coordinators.
Estremera says reaching clients by any means necessary, with a culturally competent, familiar approach, can sometimes make a world of difference in reaching the people they serve.
“People want to know that there’s someone here, someone of their race, of their culture of their background that knows what it is like to either be living with it or working in that field and they feel more comfortable and confident in and talking to someone like that and getting the services that they need,” Estremera said.