This is an interdisciplinary practice in the study of social work that basically focuses on ending the socioeconomic oppression or poverty. Anti-oppressive approaches seek to lessen the exclusion of some certain social groups in the community from social equity. Social equity is how social resources in a particular community or social setting are supposed to be shared equally. In equity, Poverty in a community is brought about by the factor of care versus control theory. This means that caring brings about a responsibility. From responsibility rises to power and control, these two factors cause the exclusions (Humphries, 2004). An imbalance in care and control of social services automatically leads to oppression. Having the knowledge of an act of discrimination and deliberately causing it is oppression. Lena Dominelli (2002) defines Oppression as, "relations that divide people into dominant or superior groups and subordinate or inferior ones. These relations of domination consist of the systematic devaluing of the attributes and contributions of those deemed inferior and their exclusion from social resources available to those of the dominant group."
Homelessness and Mental Health
One of the many factors contributing to homelessness is poverty. Homelessness and mental health are two problems that go hand in hand. One argument, it is valid to say, mental health issues can put an individual in a situation where they end up becoming homeless. Yet on another argument, one may argue that lack of housing or a home may make and individual develop a mental illness which is a true fact. Unemployment is also a factor contributing to homelessness and thus playing a role in the developing number of cases of people fighting mental illness. These are vulnerabilities of the adult populations that the Bridges aim to serve. The three factors, unemployment, homelessness, and mental health issues are intersectionally directly related. Reported high cases of unemployment often mean that a majority in the society cannot afford decently or any housing at all, this leaves them homeless. Homelessness causes a spur in the mental illnesses that, the majority-unemployed, suffer from.
The RISE Model of YSM
The rising model at the YSM stands for Respond, Invite, Support, Engage. Responding means dropping in food, clothing, and community support. Inviting means, health services, counseling, mentorship services for the victims, and offering spiritual support for the adult victims. Supporting involves offering to teach them life skills, education services for even the children of the affected, stabilizing their situation that is, offering home structures for them and also supporting them through employment. Engaging stands for, equipping them with proper skills to maneuver, and teaching them to organize their life needs and responsibilities, advocacy, volunteers for help and proper engagement in their lifestyles to feel supported.
Community engagement works on the concept of emphasizing diversity and welcomes the perspectives and insights that are brought about by those whose experiences of the issues are different from our own. Having diversity to be embraced is not an easy task because people's beliefs are not easy to put aside. Focus on aspiration combining it with an attitude of curiosity and continuous learning is central to building an effective foundation for authentic engagement of the community. Richard Harwood describes it this way; "a growing number of individuals and groups have been relentless in their effort and how to better understand the real challenges before them" (Harwood, 2015, p8)
Community engagement plays a key role in fighting poverty not only in Canada but all over the world. Everyone has a role to play in eradicating poverty. From the government to every individual in the society that the poor live with us in. the RISE initiative at the Bridges program at the YSM addresses more than one problem in the community, people are trapped by what they do not know, by social skills that create distance and by systems like corrupt governments, that make progress difficult and rob people of the little hope that they hold on to.
The Bridges program for adults is doing the most considering the fact that not so many people or organizations with better funding take initiative in addressing the poverty pandemic. There is more that can be done to improve the program. This includes trying to work for hand in hand with the government which can solve the housing problem at large. The government has the ability to reinvest in social housing considering that over fifty thousand families in Britain are considered homeless and shattered.
Making the program more aware able and known out there would play a big role in helping the course. This is because it would attract more volunteers as well as funding which would help the program recruit more and help more homeless poor and mentality incapacitated people in the community.
Creating a forum for getting feedback from everyone involved would also help the program improve its functionality. Everyone has a say.it would help when people can air their opinions especially those who are helped by the program and also the volunteers. Feedback helps in running an effective program because it allows diversity which is good for growth.
Lena Dominelli, Jo Campling (2002). Anti-Oppressive social work theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
Mullaly, Bob: Mullaly, Robert (2010). Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege: a critical social work approach. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Elton consulting. (2003). Community engagement in the NSW planning system. Sydney, Australia; Department of Planning.
Cheuy, S. (2018, October). Community engagement | A Foundation Practice of Community Change.
Yonge Street Mission. (2017). Supporting community members in their journey to Change.
Maclnnes, T.et.al. (November 2015) Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion.
Mental Health Foundation (September 2013) Starting Today: The Future of Mental Health Services. Final Inquiry Report London: Mental Health Foundation.
South, J (February 2015) A Guide to Community Centered Approaches for Health and Well Being. Briefing London: Public Health England.
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