BOARD MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: NICCALA LEE
Board Member Niccala Lee has a deeper understanding of the profound impact that NSO programs can have on people's lives. In the past, Lee has experienced homelessness and uses that to inform her perspectives and decisions as an NSO Board Member.
1. Why are you motivated to serve on the NSO Board of Directors?
I am interested in serving because I want to be part of the solution to ending homelessness in the city of Detroit and surrounding areas. I am also interested as to how I could be of help regarding the factors that may lead to homelessness.
2. You went through a stage where you were homeless. How does that inform what you do on the NSO board of directors?
I am a living witness on how to take a negative situation and use to start over and come back strong as ever. Starting over requires the help and support from organizations like the NSO. Because I was previously homeless, I am very familiar with the trauma related to housing instability. I remember sleeping in abandoned homes, hospital emergency rooms, and cars.
There were times when I had to be in unsafe and unclean environments just to have a place to sleep. That experience has motivated me to be committed and determined to identify and treat the PTSD that accompanies homelessness.
3. What appeals to you about NSO as an organization and how much do you enjoy serving on its board?
NSO is an organization that inspires hope and empowers individuals by giving direction and resources which are vital to overcoming homelessness and its challenges. I enjoy assisting in any way I can with helping them bridge the gap between Detroit’s homeless population through community advocacy and wrap around services that also include mental, physical and fiscal health.
4. What was the most important thing you learned during your homeless journey?
Homelessness can happen to anyone and therefore the face of homelessness is me and it could be you. There are many life experiences that may lead to homelessness, but you can dust yourself off and get up if you get connected to the right resources and the right support system.
5. How do you feel the NSO board benefits from your experiences with homelessness?
I think that NSO benefits from my willingness to be transparent and share my experience of homelessness with the community. I can share how I benefited from wrap around mental and physical health services as well as financial literacy and peer support to name a few. Access to wrap around services is essential to ending homelessness because homelessness is deeper than a lack of shelter. But beneath the surface lies past and current traumas that has and will continue to be a major contributor to housing insecurity if not addressed or treated.
Since the NSO represents and provides support and resources that an individual will need to start over, I can give back to the community by serving as an example and source of inspiration for those on their journey back to living again.
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