April 25, 2016

Our History

HistoryIncorporated on August 20, 1990, Southeast Asian Assistance Center (SAAC) is a non-profit corporation organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes and has established its tax exempt status under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  The Sacramento Region is home to the largest immigrant and refugee communities in Northern California. Many immigrants and refugees are limited English proficient (LEP); therefore, limiting their access to critical health and social service programs.

Southeast Asian Assistance Center, formerly the Indochinese Assistance Center, an Interfaith Service Bureau program, has served Southeast Asian refugees for 39 years. The Center was organized in 1977 with Church World Service national dollars and regional denominational money in order to provide mental health and adjustment service to the increasing numbers of Southeast Asian refugees arriving in Sacramento County.

In fiscal year (FY) 1979-80, having established a good record of accomplishment, the agency was granted federal funds through the State Department of Social Services to provide social services. By 1980, Indochinese Assistance Center was also receiving grants from Sacramento County Mental Health Division and federal funding for adjustment services through the Department of Social Services. In 1981, the federal priority for serving refugees shifted from social services to employment programs.  Money to provide social services and mental health was cut. This resulted in the agency receiving only County Mental Health funds.

In 1982, additional funding was received from the County to provide substance abuse prevention. Since FY 1989-90, the agency has received federal refugee funding through Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) to provide Social Adjustment and Cultural Orientation services to the Southeast Asian and Slavic communities. In a mutually cooperative decision with the Interfaith Service Bureau, contracts with the County Mental Health Division and SETA were transferred to the Southeast Asian Assistance Center on July 1, 1991.

In order to provide linguistically and culturally-responsive services to the LEP community, staff are from the communities they serve and are bilingual and bi-cultural in Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, Mien, Lao, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Bosnian, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Farsi, Dari, and Pashto. SAAC services provide the support, education and guidance to assist refugees to become full participants in American society.