Now more than ever, immigrants who call Los Angeles County home desperately need resources and services to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. In response, the LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), has launched a newly redesigned website to serve as an open door for the County’s 3.6 million immigrants to access information about critical wraparound services available for them and their families.
The website, immigrants.lacounty.gov, has a new, interactive, map-based immigrant services directory – the first tool of its kind for an immigrant affairs office. This tool allows visitors to search by topic and location for critical services like COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, health care, food assistance, housing support, legal representation, and small business services provided by over 200 County agencies and community-based organizations. The new website also has information about some of the most pressing immigration questions, including public charge, DACA, and evolving immigration policies.
To design the much-needed solution, OIA partnered with U.S. Digital Response (USDR) and the County Enterprise Geographic Information Systems (eGIS) team. USDR provided a team of pro bono developers, content strategists, designers, and data scientists. eGIS assists County departments in developing location-based tools and analytical applications.
“We are continually seeking innovative methods to serve those who live and work in Los Angeles County and we are proud to see the outstanding results of this County and nonprofit collaboration between OIA, eGIS and USDR,” said Rafael Carbajal, DCBA’s Director. “OIA’s new website and its services-locator feature are tools to help improve the lives of millions of people in LA County.”
“This location-based approach helps people find services that are nearby, something that may be difficult to accomplish when reviewing a list of service options,” said Dr. Steven J. Steinberg, Geographic Information Officer for the County of Los Angeles. “The platform also provides OIA with an easy-to-update system so that service options and locations can be updated on a more frequent basis to help ensure the most accurate information.”
“Equitable access to services and information is a common thread we’ve seen across many of USDR’s engagements, and the proactive, user-centered approach taken by OIA helps pave the way for other agencies and governments to tackle similar projects,” said Raylene Yung, USDR’s CEO. “This partnership between LA County and USDR shows how impactful work can be accomplished in weeks, not years, when tech and government come together to support our communities.”
As the pandemic unfolded, OIA saw an increase in inquiries regarding the immigration status implications of tapping into County services, as well as urgent requests for any resources available to immigrants and their families. “OIA is the home for all immigrant Angelinos to access wraparound support services available for them and their families, regardless of their immigration status,” said Rigo Reyes, OIA’s Executive Director. “This helpful website, made possible by the generosity and expertise of our partners, is the latest addition to our efforts to help them.”