How the SVDP moves toward Systemic change

by | Mar 18, 2015 | Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Systemic change, Vincentian Family

SVDP Systemic ChangeGiulio Grecchi, Tucson, Voice of the Poor, Western Region Representative, writes… The Goal of the Society is: Moving people out of poverty through Systemic Change One Person and One Neighborhood One Community at a time.

How do we do it? How do we achieve Systemic Change?

This is our step-by-step process:

  1. Home Visits

Through home visits, Vincentians establish a relationship with families in poverty and understand their issues. Two Vincentians always do this together.

  1. Temporary emergency help

Vincentians take care of the urgent needs of the family they visited

  1. Advice

When they can, Vincentians provide information that the family can use:

  • How to budget
  • How to write a resume
  • How to apply for SNAP or other benefits
  1. Understanding the Causes of poverty

Based on the stories heard during home visits Vincentians analyze the causes of their Poverty. They can be:

A. Individual Behavior

B. Absence of Human and Social Capital within the Community

C. Human Exploitation

D. Political / Economic Structures

Different causes have different solutions.

  1. “Bridges out of Poverty” (Causes of poverty A and B)

With “Bridges”, Vincentians offer a method and a safe environment for motivated people in poverty to examine their behavior, to assess the impact of poverty on their life, to understand the rules and language of economic class, to learn about available resources in the community and make a plan to move-ahead. By moving ahead, they will be able to enrich their community and help solve community problems, thanks to their new skills and self-reliance.

  1. Voice of the Poor (Causes of Poverty C and D)

However, there are societal issues that cannot be resolved by individuals alone, but require a collective community effort.

By being the Voice of the Poor, Vincentians advocate to remove the barriers and the unjust structures that keep people in poverty (Minimum wage, Predatory lending, Medical insurance, Funding for education and job training, Visas and Path to citizenship for migrants, etc.)

  1. Systemic Change

In Systemic Change, it is the people in poverty themselves that engage in the identification of the root causes of their poverty and create strategies, including advocacy, to change those structures, which keep them in poverty. (From Vincentian Family definition)

Vincentians teach Bridges Graduates and other people in poverty to advocate for themselves and to join in the work of Voice of the Poor. In this way, Bridges Graduates achieve Systemic Change.

Do you want to make a real difference for our brothers and sisters living in poverty?



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