Bay Area Expands Housing Justice to Encompass Community Well-Being
We put tenants and community members front and center in our work,” explained Ysrael Quezon, Racial Justice Project Coordinator at FAJ and an F4ICA Community Advisor. “Young people show up to meetings and it’s them and their families getting displaced. This is why we address issues beyond housing. Youth and families struggle with their mental health due to worsening housing insecurity, so they’re getting involved to heal, organize, and build healthier communities.”
“F4ICA and its funding partners provided us flexibility as we deepened mental health and well-being programming informed by the community,” said Pamela Ignacio, Communications Coordinator at FAJ and an F4ICA Community Advisor. “This is a more supportive and sustainable way to invest in people – to hear from us first, learn about our needs, and identify opportunities for groups to partner with each other to build relationships and collective power.
FAJ’s efforts among the Bay Area’s Filipino community did not happen in isolation. Organizers across the Bay Area are increasing their focus on mental health and well-being, recognizing how the challenges communities face lead to very real and human consequences.
The Regional Tenant Organizing Network – funded and supported by us at F4ICA and led by local organizations – is redoubling its leadership development work, pairing recent organizers with seasoned leaders in mentoring relationships. 40 people have gone through this program run jointly with the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Organizers across generations require more support than ever to ensure their needs are met even as they fight for their community’s needs.
We are working to heed the call of base-building organizations urging philanthropy to invest significant resources in leadership development, mental health, and community well-being. The Fund is learning and applying lessons from the pandemic to ensure leaders and residents can sustain organizing and community engagement for the long-haul in a way that nourishes and recognizes them as full human beings dedicated to fulfilling a bold community vision for housing justice and equitable development.