Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a key pillar of Father Joe’s Villages’ mission in serving individuals experiencing homelessness. Initiatives are implemented across Father Joe’s Villages to advance this work. These initiatives involve policies, programs, and practices that promote diversity, equitable opportunities, and an inclusive culture. By embracing DEI, Father Joe’s Villages aims to amplify diverse perspectives, promote innovation, improve decision-making, and foster a more just and harmonious organization
What is DEI?
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It is a framework and set of practices aimed at promoting equality, fairness, and respect for all individuals, regardless of their differences. DEI initiatives focus on creating an inclusive environment where people from diverse backgrounds, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, and socioeconomic status, feel valued, respected, and have equal opportunities for success.
Components of DEI
- Diversity: Diversity refers to the variety of identities and perspectives that individuals bring to a particular setting. It encompasses differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, national origin, and other characteristics. Embracing diversity means recognizing, appreciating, and celebrating these differences as valuable assets that contribute to a more vibrant and innovative environment.
- Equity: Equity involves ensuring fair treatment, access, and opportunities for all individuals, accounting for their unique needs and circumstances. It aims to address historical and systemic disadvantages that certain groups face by providing resources, support, and opportunities to help level the playing field. Equity recognizes that equality alone may not be sufficient, as different individuals may require different levels of support to achieve equal outcomes.
- Inclusion: Inclusion involves creating an environment where everyone feels respected, valued, and empowered to participate fully. It goes beyond mere representation and seeks to foster a sense of belonging, where individuals can bring their authentic selves, ideas, and perspectives without fear of discrimination or exclusion. Inclusive organizations and communities actively strive to remove barriers, biases, and prejudices to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard and valued, and incorporated.
To further uphold these principles, we have partnered with Equity in Action, a consultant for the San Diego Housing Commission. Equity in action provides guidance and training on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This collaboration provides a critical lens by which to evaluate our guidelines for suspensions and debarments and identify any potential factors that may contribute to the disproportionate treatment of our neighbors in need. Together we focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization to benefit our clients who are experiencing homelessness.
Our Commitment to DEI
It is imperative we address the disproportionate impact homelessness has on BIPOC communities. FJV is committed to finding a solution to the important issue by evaluating our own procedures and building bridges with community leaders and experts. It is through our commitment to compassion, respect, empathy, empowerment, and dignity that this goal will be achieved
How does Father Joe’s incorporate the principles of DEI?
Outreach and Engagement: Father Joe’s Villages employs diverse staff members company-wide who reflect the communities they serve to facilitate better connections with individuals experiencing homelessness. By having a team with a range of backgrounds, experiences, and languages, they can build trust and engage with individuals from various ethnicities, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds more effectively.
- Diversity of Client Facing Staff: Father Joe’s Villages is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within its client-facing staff. Recognizing the importance of representation and understanding the diverse needs of its clients, Father Joe’s Villages has actively sought to build a team that reflects the communities it serves. By recruiting staff from a wide range of backgrounds, including different races, ethnicities, genders, and cultural identities, Father Joe’s Villages ensures that clients can connect with staff members who understand their unique experiences and challenges.
Tailored Services: Father Joe’s Villages recognizes and addresses the unique needs and circumstances of a variety of populations. Father Joe’s Villages designs programs and services that account for the specific challenges faced by marginalized groups which very frequently includes the homeless population in general, and spreads further into subpopulations such as LGBTQ+ individuals, Veterans, and family members/individuals with disabilities or simply those who are Persons of color.
From children to Seniors, in addition to FJV services, FJV staff seek external connections for these neighbors depending on the need of the individual/family so upon ending their homelessness, and thereby leaving the Village, that support network remains in place. So, while the Regional Center Early Start helps us to speak to delayed development in children sooner vs. later, once in their own home, families are able to maintain that connection; our Seniors continue to benefit from the specialized services available through the County and entities like Serving Seniors; the same is true regarding the private entities providing to victims of sex trafficking tattoo removal as well as therapeutic intervention; eligible Veterans are (re)connected to the Veterans Administration or, if not eligible for that, other nonprofits specializing in their needs.
Very important to the goal of helping people to end their homelessness while at the Village, our staff also create opportunities for our clients to build their own peer to peer support networks through gathering opportunities with fellow residents. By considering and responding to these needs, and these opportunities, we speak to the immediate need for equitable and inclusive support and pave the way for ongoing support.
Cultural Competence: Training staff members on cultural competency and sensitivity is an essential aspect of DEI. Father Joe’s Villages provides training to staff members to enhance their understanding and awareness of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and lived experiences. This training helps ensure that interactions with clients are respectful, empathetic, and free of bias or discrimination.
Inclusive Policies and Practices: Father Joe’s Villages has established policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization itself. This includes implementing anti-discrimination policies, supporting employee resource groups or affinity networks, providing equitable opportunities for professional development, and ensuring that the organizational culture is inclusive and values diverse perspectives.