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This series looks at how local, state and educational policies affect the neighborhood – everything from City Council representation to childhood obesity.

After Flooding, Medical Care Remains Critical in Dove Springs

Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News
Mayra Lopez, a promotora de salud with the Latino Health Care Forum, spoke at the Dove Springs Recreation Center on Dec. 17, 2013.

Community health workers – or promotoras de salud – with the Latino Health Care Forum are collecting data about people still living in Dove Springs after the Halloween floods.

"We have heard a lot of really sad stories …you just start crying," says promotora Norma Lopez. “We’re going to be working on-hand with our people. Refer them to whatever they need, any kind of help.”

Promotoras say they spent about a month getting feedback from people who still need help, especially medical care. The results will identify Dove Springs families still in need.

"We can say the community needs this, but we want to know what the individual household needs are,” says Mayra Lopez, Norma's sister. She’s also a promotora.

"We can refer them to the right agencies – whether it be helping with materials or going to the new integral care clinic, talking to a psychologist, focusing on the kids and the elderly that have no one else to help them out," she says. "So that’s where our big focus is."

The Latino Health Care Forum teamed up with the Dove Springs Neighborhood Association on the survey, along with help from Austin and Travis County. The county hospital district, Central Health, approved $25,000 for this outreach.

Mayra Lopez says mental health care is most critical.

"A lot of what happens when there’s a big disaster, is the environment changes completely," she says. "People are displaced from their homes, they’re placed into places that are over crowded, so it causes them to suffer a lot from depression, anxiety… people who were angry. You know, it’s like going through grief."

Promotoras say they will follow up with additional surveys in the coming months.  

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