EAST PRICE HILL, Ohio (WKRC) - The Hispanic community in Cincinnati is on the rise.
Census numbers show in 2000, it made up only 1.2 percent of city residents. Now, that number is 3.6 percent, and the Latino community is facing certain challenges.
Lisseth Lopez came to the United States from Mexico five years ago. She says she never finished high school. She wants a better life for her two boys.
They're already on their way. Her 5-year-old is in preschool.
"He knows the ABC in Spanish and English and colors. He will be bilingual...I want him to go to the college and university," Lopez said.
Lopez found a preschool for him when she went to the Santa Maria Center for help. Now, she's formed a bond with Isis Canell, a counselor who even drives the families to and from places like parenting classes.
"We use to help them to do it. Now these families are doing it on their own," Canell said.
Canell has worked directly with Hispanic families for over a decade. She says Latinos have a different perspective than American-born families.
"They might not think they are living in poverty. Because compared to our countries, this is not poverty. They have a house, they have a job and they have what they need. They have food on their tables," she said.
Santa Maria was started in 1897 when it was founded by the Sisters of Charity to help Italian immigrants. Over the years, they've helped the Price Hill area, and, in doing so, one-third are from the Hispanic community.
CEO H.A. Musser says many of the people they help are working. The jobs, though, are low-paying. Lack of educational and transportation resources keep them from getting better jobs.
"Transportation is a huge problem in Price Hill. We have some bus lines that come through Price Hill, but they are not easily connected to jobs in the suburbs," said Musser.
Cincinnati's Child Poverty Collaborative says only 59 percent of the region's jobs are transit accessible, but in December, the SORTA board announced a plan change that and reinvent Metro. Changes include things like longer service hours and extending routes farther into the county.
That would help Lopez, who doesn't have a car. But for now, with two young boys, she's working on being the best mom she can be.
Price Hill has the second-highest Hispanic population in the city at 21 percent. The Carthage-Hartwell area has the most Latinos at 30 percent.