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CSULB MSW Student Brooke Clavesilla, Continued


Of the three proposed city-wide housing elements presented to the City Council (Mixed income housing; Permanent, local sources of funding; and the Rent Trust Account Program) all were rejected by the Council.

Of course, the fight goes on, and these proposals will be taken back to the new Council later this year -- which makes the work of dedicated social workers like Brooke all the more important.

"When I moved to Long Beach, I was not attracted to the upscale developments or tourism industry; I was attracted to its diverse population, progressive reputation, and unique local businesses. In no other city have I felt a sense of belonging and community, where diverse populations come together to find solutions to the challenges they encounter."

School of Social Work: What brought you to the city of Long Beach, CSULB, and Housing Long Beach?

Brooke Clavesilla: Well, I have lived here in Long Beach about a year and a half. I'm from Covina, and grew up in the suburbs, and I was really attracted to the diversity here in Long Beach. And I had heard good things about the social work program. Ironically, I almost didn't apply, because the person I spoke to on the phone said they didn't have a macro focus here, and it was something I was really interested in! Of course, when I got here I found that wasn't the case at all.

I worked a lot with adolescents, and I was becoming frustrated by how treatment plans would sometimes be ineffective because of lack of participation from parents, who are often not engaged because they are dealing with things like housing and economic issues. And I started thinking about the bigger picture with policies that affect those concerns. My internship is actually with a hub organization of which HLB is just a part. I've enjoyed working there and have worked with some smart, dedicated people who've taught me a lot.

SSW: What are your long range goals?

BC: I would love to be an Organizer, but I feel like a great organizer really needs to know the community, and I am still working to get to that level of familiarity. To me, it's not just about bringing resources to clients but bringing people together to help each other. And down the road I would like to go back to school to get my PhD and become a social work professor.

Brooke spoke at length about how critical voter engagement is to bringing about policy change, and opportunities for social work students in Policy classes to help the community: