Hispanic Unity of Florida,
an institution that guides the immigrant
on his journey to his American dream
Josie Bacallao, President / CEO Hispanic Unity of Florida
They have connected more than 450,000 children, youth and adults from more than 30 countries to learn English, become contributing citizens and find better jobs
They have 38 years of service to newcomers to the country, providing assistance through 12 programs and more than 30 services in three languages in South Florida
Josie Bacallao is the President / CEO of Hispanic Unity of Florida, based in the city of Hollywood, Broward County. On the occasion of Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to bring our readers and followers of social networks, the programs and aid that this institution offers to immigrants and the way they can participate.
The guiding principle of Hispanic Unity of Florida appears to be captured in its name. Can you offer additional emphasis to more fully describe the organization you lead?
Families from all over the world move to the United States in search of freedom and opportunities, to improve the lives of themselves and their children. For 38 years, Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF) has welcomed newcomers to our country and guided them through their sometimes difficult, but always hopeful, process of learning what it means to be an American; this is the core of our work.
We've connected more than 450,000 children, youth, and adults from more than 30 countries to learn English, become taxpaying U.S. citizens, and find better jobs, all in one place. We are your coaches and we provide you with the tools and resources to help you on your journey to your American dream.
HUF provides assistance through 12 programs and more than 30 services in three languages to the diverse South Florida community. HUF, an affiliate of UnidosUS, is one of South Florida's largest agencies dedicated to the immigrant population. In 2019, the agency served more than 15,000 children and families. The institution offers assistance at three main office locations and provides extended services at more than 50 outreach locations, including citizenship services in libraries, free tax preparation on mobile sites, and educational services in public schools, among others.
Our mission is: Empower immigrants and other community members to become self-reliant, civically engaged and lead productive lives.
On their website they have information about all the programs and services Hispanic Unity provides to interested individuals and the community. Tell us about these programs and how people can get involved.
HUF offers programs and services in these main areas: Language and Education, Economic Mobility and Entrepreneurship, Citizenship and Civic Engagement and also provides services in the areas of Health and Well-being, Equal Treatment and Opportunities and Defense.
For example, we have a virtual tax preparation and tax hotline (free of charge), we are conducting numerous webinars for small business owners, prospective homeowners and current renters, and five weekly citizenship classes. We are helping our clients apply for food support, health insurance, reemployment and employment.
One of the best ways to connect with our team is through our main number: 954-964-8884.
There is little time left for people to respond to the 2020 census. They have until the end of September to do so. Can you offer a message of comfort to immigrants to persuade those who have not yet responded to do so?
We recognize that some people may fear completing the census. There is persistent misinformation about the 2020 Census.
We hope that everyone in our community will make the right decision for their children, families and each other by completing the 2020 Census online at or by calling the 2020 Census toll-free in Spanish at 844-468-2020. (or fill out the 2020 Census paper questionnaire if you received one).
The census does NOT request any personally identifiable information about you or your family.
The census does NOT ask you about your immigration status!
Our census responses are never used individually. And all of our responses are encrypted and kept safe for 72 years!
Neither ICE, nor the President, nor any other government agency or individual - local, state or national - can have access to our individual Census responses.
Take 5 minutes and answer the 2020 census today. Go to or call the Spanish census line 844-468-2020.
Census workers have already started going door-to-door until the end of September. You can verify the identity of a local enumerator by contacting your regional census center at 470-889-6800). Answer online or by phone. , is the safest way to be counted during the pandemic and prevents someone from knocking on your door
For more than 18 months, we have been working on the 2020 Census campaign led in Broward County by Commissioner Nan Rich. We will continue this effort until September.
We have also done a voter registration. We have been sending text messages and encouraging the thousands of people we assist with their citizenship process to register to vote.
In so many years you have been with Hispanic Unity, what special satisfaction have you received from this effort?
My inspiration comes from the team I work with every day and the clients we serve. Most of the HUF “family” have lived the immigrant experience. We know what it is.
I feel very fortunate to be my staff and sponsors such as the Jim Moran Foundation and the Children's Services Council and United Way of Broward County and led by a dedicated and supportive Board of Directors.
I want to leave to our readers this thought that is at the center of our values and our work:
What defines you here in this country is how you live your life and what you do.
Live your American dream. Be good and do good.