Community services like transition houses and shelters are crucial in creating supportive, accessible spaces for folks needing support. But sometimes even these organizations and agencies can fall short in ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for all.
This manual is a guide for “implementing an integrated, anti-racist, feminist service delivery system” at community agencies. Whether you’re an employee or leader at such an organization, a community activist, or someone looking to access these community services, demanding a commitment to developing more accessible and welcoming spaces is super important.
Perhaps there are current structures an agency is unknowingly perpetuating, or their language is unsuitable for emphasizing inclusivity. Using this guide can help with the process of gaining the support of a board of directors, or to improve communication between organization members receiving services and administration members. There are some great tips in this manual, but also lots of checks and balances to ensure effective delivery of services. For instance, anti-racism/anti-oppression committees are recommended as an effective way to keep an eye on the inclusivity of your services. However, these groups can become a force of authority and feel similar to “police” while other organization members may use the group as an excuse for ignoring their responsibilities in ensuring safe spaces.
Here are several other ideas you’ll find in the guide:
-cementing your organization’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility in a structural way (by-laws, governance, etc.)
-creating a specific anti-racism and anti-oppression policy
-analyze the composition of your community and members accessing services
-including anti-oppression materials in all hiring/training procedures (including advertising, interviews, orientation processes, etc.)
-creating a strategy for individuals who don’t comply with inclusive and accessible policies
-checklist for programs and avoiding institutionalized oppression/racism
-processes to create an effective evaluation of welcoming spaces/services
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