One Person At A Time – A Reflection on what it takes to help the homeless
Last week one of our long term case managers, Heather, ran up to me with a smile ear to ear. She was beaming as she exclaimed “This is why I do what I do. My month has been made”. She was referring to the sweetest possible reward for our work – she had sealed the deal for a client to get housed.
The client in turn wrote this email:
A special thanks to the staff of Bridge House for all that you continue to do to move me to my own new home!
Heather, within minutes you removed the only obstacle I had once I had signed the lease for the apartment. I am sending the $500 which I saved for housing directly to my landlord and will let her know to expect the rental assistance checks from Bridge House.
Tim, I now have a perfect dark business suit from the career closet. Dee Dee, Jefferson, and Linda gave me access to the career closet and made sure that when I go to the upcoming interview for the better job that I have a confident and professional appearance. Great teamwork from all at Bridge House!!!
With much gratitude,
In the day to day of Bridge House, we work hard, staff are intrepid with unwavering dedication toward helping our clients. The Bridge House case management staff and their colleagues at sister agencies who choose to work in our field are the unsung heros of the homeless community. On good days we guide clients along their journey to a higher level of self-sufficiency by linking them to a resource or providing the rock of support they need to navigate along their path. On harder days staff can feel overwhelmed by immensity of the circumstances our clients face – no place to sleep that night or a horrific story of the dangers they face on the streets. But on a great day – on the days where a client becomes housed or employed – there is no better feeling. It is truly why we do what we do.
Too often the people in the trenches don’t get the credit they deserve for being that first line of support for the homeless in our community. They work tirelessly and never give up hope. It takes a special person to wake up each morning optimistic about facilitating a change in someone’s life – often a stranger. We can’t have the systemic change we need to have in our community to truly address homelessness without these extraordinary people.
We need more great days. Our staff needs more tools and resources to assist the clients who come to us. More affordable housing options, more jobs, more treatment programs to refer to so people like George can get what they need.
Bridge House is committed to creating such resources for those we serve through our own programs and through working collaboratively with the service provider community in Boulder for other agencies to do the same but we have a lot of work to do.
Our staff is skilled and ready to solve homelessness one person at a time. Let’s make sure they have the resources they need to change people’s lives.
Written by Isabel McDevitt