08 Sep Social Justice One Day at a Time
Social Justice is often talked about in broad, sweeping terms, but for Vail Place employee Kayle, social justice is something she works towards every day. Kayle is the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Housing Services Coordinator at Dow Towers in Hopkins. Her role is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assess and address the needs of public housing residents. And, as Kayle has learned over more than two years in the role, housing is critical when it comes to social justice.
Kayle’s role at Dow Towers is focused on supporting residents to get and maintain benefits, get connected to services, fill out paperwork, and pass inspections, etc….
“At the end of the day, it’s about helping people achieve whatever their housing goals are. Often it plays out in the day-to-day services and just letting them know that someone cares so they know they can come and ask for help.”
Kayle is also a founding member of Vail Place’s Social Justice for Housing group. The group meet via Zoom and discuss ideas and methods to address issues of social justice in relation to housing. As Jolene Peterson, Vail Place Clinical Services Director says:
“One of the biggest issues the individuals we work with face are the barriers they run into around finding safe affordable housing. When individuals don’t know where they are going to sleep tomorrow, it is difficult to focus on health, attend appointments, and find recovery from mental illness.”
Kayle echoes Jolene’s sentiment, citing psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how it is difficult to achieve stability, and pursue active, fulfilling lives before addressing the foundational need of a safe and warm shelter.
Social justice is something many people talk about and strive to achieve, but when it comes down to it, working towards social justice is difficult without first addressing housing. Kayle’s day might be full of helping people fill out paperwork and teaching people how to pass their inspections, but really, she is fighting for social justice one day at a time.