Hmong community members stress need for state funding, support during governor's visit in WausauSubmitted: 03/13/2019
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Hmong community members stress need for state funding, support during governor's visit in Wausau
WAUSAU - You never know how long it will take to get a response from the governor when you write him a letter.

Wausau's Hmong American Center's Executive Director thought it would take about a year after he invited Governor Evers to a roundtable discussion following the governor's win in November.  Just a few months later, Evers showed up.

Members of the Hmong community shared what some of the biggest challenges they face include during a discussion at the Hmong American Center on Wednesday.

There was an emphasis on funding for mental health treatment, economic development, and transitioning from rental units to homeownership.

Yee Leng Xiong says these issues have been talked about for years, but nothing ever changed on a state level.

"There was never a good time for us to really do things, to hold discussions like this and this is kind of like at the perfect time to be talking to the governor," Xiong said.

Evers agreed, noting the budget talks are a good time to bring these points up.

"Most of that money, frankly, is not earmarked necessarily, so hearing their needs and issues that are important to them, we can actually make sure that they are able to access some of this money in a way that is helpful," Evers said.

An attendee also gave Evers a binder full of statistics specific to solving problems in the Hmong community. He said he gave former Governor Walker the same data, but never heard back.

"Sometimes we're not getting these services addressed so, you know, this is one of the reasons why we wanted this discussion so they hear our concerns," Xiong said.

Evers spent about an hour talking with the group and fielding a number of questions.

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One local organization known as Tomahawk Area Interfaith Volunteers (TAIV) works to provide that extra help to seniors. 

This month those volunteers will throw their annual spring fundraiser, Master the Mic.

It will be a night of entertainment in support of the program's mission of helping others. 

"It's our major fundraiser that all the money goes back to TAIV for operational costs," said board member Patti Panfil.

TAIV offers a variety of services, but their transportation aide is in high demand. 

"A lot of seniors do need the help in their homes or perhaps are not driving any more and they need transportation to and from, mostly medical appointments," said Panfil.

TAIV is currently looking for more talent to perform in the fundraiser's talent show.

It will be on March 30th for those who'd like to attend and/or participate. 

For more details, visit the link below:


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