Q & A with Lexii Coleman
Lexii Coleman is a case manager supervisor in Pine Street’s New Chardon residence where she provides support services for 20 formerly homeless women. “I am honored to be able to work with and in this community and help them continue to grow and flourish,” Lexii said.
Q: Why is it important to build community within PSI housing?
A: Our tenants have felt alone and isolated for a long time and they crave a community. Many of the people at New Chardon have faced similar challenges. These experiences impact everyone in a different way. When people who have been through similar things get together, they start to encourage each other and help each other realize the only place to go from here is up. Having a community helps everyone know that they are not alone. It makes the world a less cold and soulless place.
I have seen this sense of community work so well at New Chardon. The tenants have built a community and are getting to the point where they are supporting their housemates in recovery. They encourage each other’s growth, and when someone falls, others help them get back on their feet. I’ve heard tenants say things like, “Girl, look at you growing and changing. It looks good on you.” I am honored to be able to work with and in this community and help them continue to grow and flourish.
Q: What's your favorite way to see a community being built?
A: I like it when tenants come into the common room during celebrations. People will come in, listen to music, eat and talk. Then days later I’ll see people hanging out with folks that I had never seen them talking to before. I also like it when we have trivia games. It’s a really unique way for people to get to know each other. Sometimes people who usually stay to themselves come out and have knowledge about things that no one knew they had. Once people start to praise and encourage them, that person comes out of their shell and builds relationships with different people. It is a great thing to see!
Q: How do you go about creating community and fostering it with staff and tenants?
A: It all starts during training. New staff members are asked to sit in the common room and have conversations with tenants as they come through that area. Either myself or another familiar staff member are on hand to get the conversation rolling if anyone is feeling shy. We also do cooking activities and games with the tenants and include all on-site staff members. This shows the tenants that we are all just people and that we’re there to support and encourage their growth.
I feel so lucky to be able to work with these tenants and to know that I am making an impact on their lives.