Word on the Street Issue 21, May 2022

Frank DeAngeli, Case Manager at Interfaith Sanctuary

There are a lot of common factors that can lead an individual or family to homelessness, but no two stories are the same. It’s important to keep in mind that becoming homeless is usually the result of multiple coinciding and often devastating events in a person’s life. Picking up the pieces requires a lot more than just finding different housing. The best way to help somebody tackle these problems and start moving forward is to fully understand and empathize with their situation. I believe that the best way to listen to people experiencing homelessness is to engage with the stories of the individuals themselves, rather than just the story of losing a home.

Terrence Sharrer, Interfaith Sanctuary’s Project Recovery Supervisor

The important thing working with clients is empathy, compassion and cigarettes to defuse and process strong emotions. Really listening to what the client is going through and not solving their problems for them helps empower them to change. Self determination is really important for our guests. To have some kind of control over a chaotic existence is key. We help support them in every step of their journey beyond the shelter. Plus giving them a smoke to calm down is always helpful!

Maranda Jay, Shelter Director at Interfaith Sanctuary

It is important when working with a client/guest to always meet them where they are at. This means that even though they may have many barriers, struggles, and areas that could be goals and objectives to work on, they might not be ready to address certain things for many different reasons. Trying to force someone to focus on an issue they are not ready for negatively impacts the level of trust and rapport you have with them as well as inhibits them from wanting to engage in the process of achieving goals and objectives. If they are not feeling truly heard and understood as to what they feel they are ready for it could potentially be detrimental towards them seeking assistance and support in the future.