The Town of North Hempstead and the Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) organized a seminar on March 30, which was conducted in both Chinese and English, at the Town Hall in Manhasset to introduce various town services to the members of the GNCA.
Chinese versions of the handouts were prepared by the GNCA volunteer translation team, and are available for download at GNCA’s website, www.gnca.org.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, a familiar face at many past GNCA events, welcomed new GNCA members to the community. Bosworth introduced her team, who later discussed the services that their departments provide to the community, such as vital records, senior services and more.
Every seminar speaker carried Bosworth’s spirit of keeping the speech short. The highlight of the evening was the lively discussions between the audience and town representatives on the town’s 311 service and building codes.
Paula Unl, deputy commissioner of the Department of Services for the Aging, passionately recalled the history of Project Independence. She enumerated benefits that North Hempstead seniors can receive, including free health and home safety assessment by social workers, reduced-rate rides to doctor’s appointments and free rides to supermarkets. She encouraged every senior in the community, despite his or her immigration status, to register by calling 311, the town’s 24/7 comprehensive service hotline.
Lauren Summa, Building Department applicant advocate, discussed building codes. When asked about various permit requirements, she welcomed residents to visit her department for a free consultation and a review of their renovation projects.
The seminar appeared to have had an immediate impact. Charlly Zha, a gentleman in the audience who recently emigrated from China and was about to sign papers on his new home purchase, decided to call off his closing the next day. The house may have had many renovations done in the past, which were promised to be “no problem” by Zha’s attorney. After the seminar, however, he was convinced that he needed to speak to Summa before signing any papers.
“The event was great,” said Zha. “As a new immigrant, I found it extremely helpful.”