Q. What would you like folks to know about you in addition to the fact that you have lived experience of homelessness/housing instability?
My true passion in life is racing cars. It started when I was about 8 years old racing go karts. The people that I was casually racing were actually serious racers trying to make it to professional leagues. They were surprised to learn that I was doing it for fun. It was then that I found out I had a real talent for being quick around a circuit. Unfortunately, my dad in particular never helped me make it a priority, focusing in my time in tennis. I did well actually, even being ranked in the top 100 in the USTA Juniors division. Up until, my financial and life collapse, I continued to race, during as many track days I could make it to in the track in the surrounding areas.
Q. What keeps you most engaged in this work as part of the CLIP cohort?
I do feel like I'm beginning the engagement part of this journey with this team (like anytime you 1st enter/get incorporated into a group, there's the orientation stage, and just seeing how things operate while attempting to find your footing, seeing just how you can best fit in and best assist) This process takes time.
My commitment to the goal and most importantly to my team will allow us to be comfortable, which will give us the confidence in dealing with any type of adversity (internal - miscommunication leading to disagreements or external - the obvious push back) that we'll definitely face (which we'll do together as well). My colleagues can trust I'll be committed firstly to them which quite frankly is all that I'd want to know, in being a part of any group. Reliability builds trusts, which starts with building a strong, solid base (taking the time to build this should prove one’s commitment), which will then stand the best chance of allowing us to be successful in anything we put our collective focus too!
Engagement is only possible if one is committed! I'm sure that we all are right NOW. I'll leave off by saying that, if YOU'RE still here apart of this group right NOW, then I'm certain you have been engaged, will stay engaged, have bought in and acknowledged there's a big problem, and with the hopeful trust we each have built, committed and so therefore obviously fully invested, engaged in collectively taking on any goal we set out to accomplish.
Q. How do you think persons with lived expertise co-leading this work can increase the participation and voice of persons with lived expertise in the future?
Through networking and social media, or any creative ideas we all could come up with to gain actual traction in what has been quite honestly a weak elementary attempt firstly communicating to society as a whole, this is a problem, more so than other narratives we have out here currently that's definitely getting the majority focus and therefore funding.
As far as how and in what capacity that would allow me to increase the participation and communication of the message/concerns/struggles of the entire community with living/lived experience is concerned, I'd be open to hear the ones that can facilitate and fund this outreach as far as what they "want" to do differently, in particular I'd be curious to see how they think that would look, taking into account the additional funding it would take to implement "new" avenues that would obviously be necessary to bring exposure and attention out in society. That's the most important thing! We need look at how and why and attempt to shift focus to something even more human, even more essential if all these various narratives that are currently focused on by our society.