Lee Interfaith For Empowerment
– LIFE –
Bringing together faith-based communities to address systemic injustices facing the residents of Lee County.
What is LIFE (Lee Interfaith For Empowerment)?
Lee Interfaith for Empowerment, also known as LIFE, is a nonprofit organization in Lee County, FL.
We are a coalition of churches and other faith based groups that are seeking to make positive changes in our community by bringing justice to broken systems. For more than 13 years our congregations and members have come together annually to vote on systemic problems to try and solve. Collectively working together to create change in Lee County. In the past, these pain points have included affordable housing and officer training for crisis intervention.
Identifying systemic issues that are impacting our community is paramount and finding winnable solutions that can be implemented at the local level to bring about positive change in people’s lives. That’s the goal!
LIFE knows that our communities’ power comes from our numbers. We use people power to hold our officials accountable for the fair treatment of all people.
13 years helping drive change in local communities!
Nonprofit seeks more transparency from Fort Myers on affordable housing fund
How does LIFE bring justice in our local community?
For example, our organization and its members helped hold leaders accountable in the city of Fort Myers to establish an affordable housing trust fund. Fort Myers and the surrounding area are experiencing a housing crisis like we’ve never seen before. Lee Interfaith For Empowerment (LIFE) pushed the city council to create a trust fund that is designated to build affordable housing for low income and moderate income families. This fund also provides rental assistance for families.
Lee Interfaith For Empowerment also pushed Lee County Sheriff’s Department to train all of their officers in perpetuity for crisis intervention so that when our local officers are responding to someone in the midst of a mental health crisis, they’re now being treated fairly. With the proper training officers can quickly identify when someone is in crisis, rather than incarceration. Identifying the root cause and facilitating assistance when someone is in crisis and respond accordingly, rather than criminalizing mental illness. Law enforcement officers are often the first ones to respond when someone is in crisis. This training now results in people bring brought to the proper places for help, instead of the person being arrested or abused. Without LIFE, this training would not be taking place.”
They’re being brought to places that can give them help instead of being arrested or tased or abused. The officers know how to handle people in mental health crises and they can respond more appropriately.
What is the process to bring about justice in Lee County?
The process is long and hard as you can expect to change a system like this.
It takes a lot of work. Once we decide on the issue, we’re going to work on behalf of our members, and then come together to research and implement winnable solutions.
for Affordable Housing
“We don’t want to go to the Sheriff and say, this is a problem. You need to fix it. We want to bring a solution to them that is proven in other areas and say this is what you need to implement and we’re here to help.” -Paul Leingang (Lead Organizer)
LIFE is a non-partisan, direct-action organization that addresses systemic issues in Lee County. We challenge public officials to make policy and funding changes, which will bring about solutions to community issues. We hold them accountable in both the short and long term to ensure lasting success.
Every year we hold our Annual Nehemiah Action, which is an assembly where we ask our public officials to commit to implementing our solution. We ask them to make a public commitment to bring justice to their communities
How can I get involved with Lee Interfaith For Empowerment and bring justice to my community?
Learn more about how you can INVEST IN LIFE today. If your congregation is already a member of our organization, then speak to your clergy or your team leader, and ask them for the next steps. If you belong to a congregation that is not a member, please then reach out to us or call our office to set up a meeting with us.
Get in Touch. Get Involved.
Connect with LIFE to make a difference. Reach out for information, collaboration, and partnership. Let’s build a just community together. Contact us now.
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