Thursday, January 15, 2009

DTV Assistance Center Now Open

The Lao Assistance Center in Minneapolis just opened a DTV Assistance Center to help Laotians prepare for the Feb. 17 Digital TV Transition. The DTV help hubs have opened with the assistance of the Lao Assistance Center, Main Street Project, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund. The Twin Cities metro is one of seven cities nationwide opening assistance centers tol assist impacted communities with the transition and offer information and tech support before, during, and after the transition.

If you know someone who wants to know what kind of a converter box to get, where to get one and how to install one properly, contact the Lao Assistance Center at (612) 374-4967 or e-mail You can also drop in at 503 Irving Ave. N in Minneapolis during regular business hours.


The Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota now offers support and assistance for individuals and families who are concerned about issues involving dependency and abuse of substances like alcohol, drugs and other substances that are harmful for you.

The Northwest Hennepin Human Service Council is currently supporting the Lao Assistance Center and the Southeast Asian Community Council to address many issues including denial and the negative impact alcohol, tobacco and other drugs have on individuals, their family and the community. Together, they hope to facilitate appropriate and timely access to successful treatment and provide support for sobriety for Hmong and Lao in the Northwest Hennepin metro area.

“This is an important issue for our community,” said Sunny Chanthanouvong, Executive Director. “We know it’s not easy, but we want people to know we’re here and there for them.”

The Lao Assistance Center has several qualified staff members working daily to assist community members of all ages who seek help, and will be increasing their programs throughout the year to build a better understanding of these problems in the community.

In the future, they will be conducting trainings and outreach to people of all ages, presenting at community events and special occasions. There will be biweekly support groups and resources to assist families and individuals in developing sobriety plans that allow them to enjoy happy, healthy and productive lifestyles.Groups who are interested in seeing presentations should contact the Lao Assistance Center.

For more information about the Lao Assistance Center’s programs and how to get involved, you can contact them at (612) 374-4967 or e-mail

Or visit them online at
Their offices at 503 Irving Avenue North in Minneapolis.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Special Access In Action

In December during the holidays, Mrs. V., a recent widow in her 80s living in the Harrison Neighborhood of Minneapolis learned to cut coupons for the first time to assist herself and her children and grandchildren.

Many in her family were recently laid off from their jobs during the financial crisis. Her husband passed away two months ago. He was a veteran of the Royal Lao Army who assisted the United States during the war.

Mrs. V. currently has very limited financial support in the form of SSI and public assistance. She was born in Luang Prabang and came to the US as a refugee almost 25 years ago. Mrs. V. is currently living by herself in subsidized public housing. She has no English skills and cannot drive. She deeply appreciates the support Special Access gives.

The Special Access staff of the the Lao Elders and Families program currently visits her and other Lao elders once a week to take her shopping for groceries and to meet other needs. Special Access staff also assist her in reading her mail and other documents she receives.

The Lao Elders and Families program can always use volunteers. Let us know if you're interested in helping!

Special Access in Action

On Thanksgiving weekend, Mr. T., a 76-year old veteran from Savannakhet  was struck by a hit and run driver while walking to Cub Foods to get food. He was checked into Hennepin County Medical Center. 

When he was entered, he gave the hospital staff the Lao Assistance Center's Special Access staff business card to contact for help. He lives in North Minneapolis by himself in public housing. He has limited English and marginal financial support from SSI and Public Assistance. He was a military officer in Laos and came to the US 25 years ago to rebuild his life. We wish him a speedy recovery. 

If you are interested in more information about Special Access for elders in Minnesota, contact the bilingual Lao Special Access Worker, who can meet you at our offices or your home. 

If you need help, please call:
Bounleuth Gowing, Special Access Worker, (612) 374-4967 or e-mail 

The Lao Assistance Center can also use volunteers who would like to help us meet the needs of Lao elders in Minnesota. If you are interested, please let us know!

This program made possible by a grant from the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging.