The staff is taking over Facebook this week. Here’s what Natalie’s Friday looks like. Check out FAC’s Facebook to follow along!
4-11-2014 // 9:49 am
Hi! My name is Natalie and I am a case manager for our ESG housing program at FAC. Because I work under more than one grant, I get to wear many hats here. Primarily, I provide case management for clients living in the shelter as well as clients who are in our ESG (emergency solutions grant) and TBRA (tenant based rental assistance) housing programs. I also help with our weekly support groups, informally supervise interns as needed, help coordinate a weekly clinic here at the shelter, do street outreach to connect people living on the streets to our services, and do administrative work for my grant such as monthly performance reports.
From 10 am to noon, I went to a few homeless encampments that I have visited before for our weekly street outreach. We do street outreach because we know that people who are homeless and transient are particularly vulnerable to abuse exploitation, and assault. It is one of our many ways to teach out to high risk populations. Today we gave out hygiene bags, bus passes, a few jugs of water and helped one person with a prescription and sugary food to raise his blood sugar.
The faces of homelessness are incredibly diverse, and each one has a different story and a different set of skills, abilities and needs. Today we talked with a man who has lived outside for many years. When asked what he needs, he simply told us he’d like his dog to have his shots. We also checked on a couple who are newly homeless and are diligently looking for work. Their campsite was well organized and complete with abstract art and decorations. They were glad to see us again, and only asked us for a bus pass to use for job searching.
Street outreach is one of my favorite parts of my job, especially on beautiful days like this one!
Yesterday, I inspected three apartments for clients who are transitioning into our housing programs. Today, I am getting together some of the paperwork needed to move the process along. When a client is accepted into one of my programs, I become their case manager. From here, the first step is securing safe, affordable housing. Once we find the right home, I inspect it for safety. I look at wiring, ventilation, structural integrity, security of windows and doors, and much more. After a little more planning and paperwork, we help our clients move into their new homes. After that, we continue to meet regularly for support groups and case management until they graduate from the program.
Working with our housing programs means that I get to be a part of the journey all the way through. It starts with a hotline call, then an intake. When they come into our emergency shelter, they are often at their lowest. After what is often many months in our housing program, I am usually saying goodbye to a person who is at their highest, knowing that our ending is really a brand new beginning for them.
As the day winds to an end, we leave it to the resident advocates (RAs) to make sure everyone is safe and happy until Monday. Of course, a social worker is on call all weekend in case of a crisis. The RAs will work in shifts so that someone is here 24/7 to meet daily needs and answer our hotline. It has been another busy but productive week at FAC! I met with several clients, did a few intakes and inspections, took a few hotline calls, submitted my monthly grant report, successfully coordinated clinic and our weekly staffing meeting, and spent a lot of time helping clients obtain needed resources and services. These might include a bus pass, a referral, a neutral party to help solve a conflict, a prescription, transportation, crisis intervention, or advocacy and collaboration with other agencies. It has been a great week working with a fantastic team of professionals! Have a great weekend everyone! – Natalie