Community Voice: Calling Social Workers to Challenge Policy Impacting Their Community

This Community Voice Blog Post was written by NSWM Member Frank Perez, M.S., M.S W

My name is Frank Perez and I am the owner of Christian Service and Referrals, a small nonprofit in Los Angeles County, CA that provides legal/social services to the poor and homeless for over 20 years.

Recently, my fine friends at The Network for Social Work Management have initiated a Policy Fellows program.  I personally invite anyone interested in being a leader, role model, and entrepreneur to strongly consider the Fellowship-but with one request…

Since the days of Jane Addams, our vocation has been playing catch-up.  In other words, we have been dealing with problems more than with solutions.  We get our clients after they suffer from homelessness, extreme poverty, justice related issues, health services; the list goes on.  What I challenge you to do is to consider creating a theory, a practice, a policy change, that prevents people from falling into these situations.  In other words-I challenge you to think and do something new.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be accepted into a PhD program with this in mind.  From my experience, and common sense, prevention is a lot more socially and economically effective than dealing with problems once they occur-especially when you see them coming.  I’ve decided to write my dissertation on a program I am working on now-providing mobile showers to the poor and homeless living on the street.  By maintaining hygiene, we prevent illness and have an opportunity for assessment, and then referral.  Mobile Showers-who’d a thunk it?

If you’re wondering why I am freely presenting my dissertation topic, I’m not afraid of copycats-in fact-I invite them.  It’s never about us.

So, I want everyone who has now been alerted of the Fellowship program to flood the switchboard.  I want you to come forth with new ideas, new strategies, and new energies to help enrich in our vocation and make life better for those who need us.  That’s what we do… Let us do it anew…

About the Author:
Frank Perez, M.S. M.S W is the owner/operator of Christian Service Referrals, a nonprofit located in Los Angeles area that serves the needs of the homeless and those experiencing extreme poverty for over two decades. Frank regularly consults and partners with community organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies in the quest to provide to those in need.