LEFSA Presents on Community Based Decision Making

James Addison and Karolina May attended a Vincentian Family Gathering in Denver, CO from October 23-25, 2015. The theme of this year’s gathering was “Going Deeper: Building Community and Collaboration for Systemic Change around Homelessness.”
James and Karolina presented on LEFSA during one of the breakout sessions. The title of the presentation was: “Community Based Decision Making: Everyone is a Leader.” About 50 people attended.

The presentation touched on the problem of homelessness in New York City, the history of LEFSA, the team model, LEFSA’s mission and objectives, and various programs and initiatives that LEFSA gets involved with, as well as numerous ways it has collaborated with others over the years.

From the presentation:
How does the communal decision making process contribute to people’s empowerment?

  • Affirming dignity and respect of every person
  • I make decisions and I am regaining control of my own life
  • Self-esteem and self-worth
  • Feeling of being a part of something and being involved in a supportive community
  • Power of having my ideas matter
  • I can change communal and social structures

Systemic Change and Why Does it Matter?
“Systemic Change in works among those living in poverty aims beyond providing food, clothing and shelter to alleviate immediate needs and enables people themselves to engage in the identification of the root causes of their poverty and to create strategies to change those structures which keep them in poverty. This also requires changing attitudes that have caused the problem.”
(working definition for North America)

See the full presentation below.

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