Written by Selma Hassane, Host Homes Coordinator
The COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, leaving people confused, anxious, scared, and a whirlwind of countless other emotions. As individuals who work in social services, we often feel like there is a massive gap between the needs of the populations we serve and the resources available to them. During a global or national emergency such as a pandemic, we witness that gap exponentially enlarge. People are losing their jobs, individuals experiencing homelessness face various health risks, and the Stay at Home orders have shaken up unhealthy family structures causing an increased risk of domestic violence and child abuse for already vulnerable survivors.
The Housing Department at Home Start is working incredibly hard during this time to ensure the health and security of our current clients and provide services to individuals experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness to aid them in receiving stable housing through our various programs.
During the month of March, twelve program participants transitioned into stable housing, two of whom have young children, and two program participants successfully transitioned out of Home Start’s programs into self-sufficiency. Our staff have also been assisting at-risk populations with additional services such as food gift cards, diapers, unemployment application assistance, registering for classes and applying for employment.
Finally, as always, our Behavioral Health Therapist is constantly working on providing mental health services to our program participants, and more specifically working on anxiety relief with both clients and staff during this trying time.
Envision for a moment, Home Start’s various housing programs as bridges from homelessness to stable, permanent housing. The staff who put in hard work, day in and day out, are comparable to the tools that help build and maintain those bridges. In order to sustain and fine-tune those tools, we, as staff and service providers, must first and foremost take care of ourselves. Self-care and team-care can look different for every person.
Some suggestions to key self-care practices can include mindfulness, compassion and kindness towards oneself, rest, exercise, and being in nature when possible.
One thing COVID-19 has taught is that our world is incredibly small. We witnessed the virus quite literally travel from region to region in an incredibly small amount of time, transforming what initially appeared to be an epidemic into a pandemic. Just as a virus can quickly spread in our increasingly globalized society, so too can our actions travel from region to region in an incredibly small amount of time. Therefore, a chain reaction inspired by your simple action of positivity can change the world.