Core Value:  Social Justice 

We work towards a society where all people are safe, able to meet their basic needs, and treated with dignity and consideration.  We are committed to social change with a focus on safety, equitable access, and respect. We believe in social justice and inclusivity, embracing all people and treating each of them fairly and equitably. 

Working towards Social Justice Locally in Tahoe

By Elizabeth Balmin and Ana Guerrero

Sierra Community House promotes social justice by providing vital resources like food, housing, and healthcare, ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met. Our advocacy goes beyond aid, encompassing educational workshops, advocacy campaigns, and partnerships aimed at challenging biases and fostering inclusivity. Through community engagement initiatives, we promote dialogue, understanding, and empowerment, amplifying marginalized voices and building solidarity.  

Social Justice to us means advocating on behalf those who have been marginalized, focusing on issues such as poverty, homelessness, discrimination, disempowerment, harassment, and other forms of injustice. Social Justice looks like providing information, help, and other resources to people seeking equity. It also means providing education to our entire community about the negative impact that discrimination has on individuals and in society.   

Advancing social justice means addressing injustice, including examining our own biases and encouraging others to do the same. We work to create more equitable support systems and identify structural conditions that contribute to disparities in the health and well-being of individuals and communities. In our work at Sierra Community House, we see a variety of community members seeking legal services from general landlord tenant rights to fleeing domestic violence.   

After learning about our services at her school through our prevention program, a teen mom, Alice* came into our office one day seeking services on healthy relationships.  She had a newborn child and realized that her current relationship was abusive and controlling. She met with a Crisis Advocate, shared her current situation, and explored the possibility of a Protection Order, as she had realized that she was being stalked and harassed. The advocate welcomed her, provided her with her options, and allowed a safe space for her to share and decide on her next steps.  Once restraining orders were granted and Alice felt safe, she met a Sierra Community House Legal Advocate and started the process for custody, which she was granted. Not only did she receive services on the legal side for custody but also for civil legal matters such as employment rights and support with landlord-tenant matters.  We also connected her with other services in our agency through Family Support and Hunger Relief. All this assistance provided basic needs and empowered Alice to leave an abusive relationship to establish a safer home for her and her baby.  

Sierra Community House especially values culturally competent services and can provide services in Spanish by staff that are bilingual and bicultural. Cultural Competence interaction takes place in a way that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families and communities and protects the dignity of each. 

Thank you for supporting our work throughout the year—we couldn’t tackle these difficult issues without you. 

With gratitude, 

Elizabeth and Ana