Consumer Action started in San Francisco in 1971 — growing to national prominence, but being mostly based in San Francisco — the organization helps people with financial assistance, including those with limited English skills. Services are offered in Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and other languages.
Outreach workers cater to the community at large. The types of issues for which persons receive help from Consumer Action includes things as internet training and common financial complaint issues. This organization has three main offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC, but also has remote workers as well.
Director Linda Sherry spoke about how Consumer Action helps low-to-moderate income households. She stated during her interview, ‘Limited English-speaking people can reach out to Consumer Action for help. It is organized for low-income people by helping them boost their credit. They also help others gain more grant programs that function as a result of the constitution of extra money.” If you view the Consumer Action website, you can find those further resources Sherry mentioned, such as newsletters — and most importantly, class-action listings which help the public claim money that is due them.
Publications and other resources include community outreach. Overall, Consumer Action seems to be doing well for the community. While speaking with the Community Outreach Manager Nelson Santiago, a noticeable sense of pride for the organization was evident.
Santiago explained the training programs on different educational modules — such as those in Pittsburgh. He stated, “We work around there with over 30 nonprofit government organizations, talking about debt collection and using educational materials.”
Santiago noted that many training services are offered, especially in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, New York and Detroit. He emphasized that they reach people nationwide — which can seem rather amazing, since there is so much detailed involvement in the economic assistance of the general public, and by reaching out to those who need the assistance, and those who need to be educated on how to use their money wisely.
Serving so many individuals can include a wide range of those with a lack of English-speaking skills. There is so much diversity, especially in San Francisco, that it has become a work in progress. Luckily, they have interpreters such as Jaimie Woo, a Consumer Action community outreach manager.
Woo is mainly a Chinese translator who enjoys helping those immigrants from their native country to Northern California. Mostly based in San Francisco, she helps Chinese immigrants with job training and job readiness.
As Woo explained during her interview, “After six years with consumer action as a translator, I did community outreach at senior centers to conduct workshops. I also speak to the Chinese media. I also help the seniors with alerts that are related to scams.” While working at the senior centers, Woo helps the Chinese senior citizens with writing in English, since it is so hard for Chinese seniors to write in English. Similar to any other language, it takes time to pick up a new language, which can be frustrating, but can also be a learning experience.
There is much to learn about Consumer Action. By speaking to Sherry, Santiago and Woo, you can get a sense of where they are coming from and how Consumer Action benefits the community and gives a lesson about working with diverse minorities.
Not only does the staff not pressure individuals from low-income or diverse backgrounds to gain needed assistance, but they purposely make themselves available for anyone in need to reach them. The staff can be reached by phone, email, text, video chat, or even by mail.
This organization has done a great deal for the people of San Francisco and beyond. Consumer Action is here to save the day and help those who are desperate for this type of assistance. The organization has fantastic workers and good accreditation. Traces of gratitude and discovery abound, whether this is in its publications or in the many outreach endeavors. This is a nonprofit organization that deserves recognition for many reasons. You can check out the website at www.consumer-action.org/.
The San Francisco consumer complaint hotline is 415.777.9635.