Meet Home Start Hero Veronica Lopez

Veronica is the Housing and Urban Development Case Manager at our Maternity Housing complex in Normal Heights. She is the powerhouse who welcomes and works with all of the women and children who walk through those doors into a safe and permanent home.

It was while working on her Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership that Veronica first entered the nonprofit world working with parolees coming out of jails and prisons who faced homelessness. What she realized through this experience was the importance of addressing attitudinal adjustments as much as the physical needs of our clients.

“The wrap-around services that we offer at MHP focus on keeping children safe with our Child Development Specialist and provide emotional, individual support by meeting with our Mental Health Therapist.”

When Veronica came to Home Start, she worked closely with our Residential Program Manager, Earlene Adams, to address some of the emotional trauma these women have suffered and created a holistic program that promotes solution-based case management and positive productivity.

“We say, what do you want to do this month, what do you need to do next month? Let’s create an action plan to see how you’re going to get there.”

While clients are required to pay rent based on their income, as they work toward these goals half of their rent is put into a savings account that is then returned to them when they choose to move. This gives them both motivation and a nest egg for that next big step.

Over the past three years since she started here, Veronica has seen a lot of progress, and the development of the Home Start Thrift Boutique is one of the areas of growth she really wants to shine a light on.

“It’s staffed by the women who are in the program and offers them a variety of different job skills because the women who are in the program may not have had any kind of work experience.”

And Veronica enjoys watching her clients find confidence and build their interaction skills while working at our social enterprise.

“It’s a good thing to be able to have that tool because, if the bottom line is to work towards financial stability, it all starts with holding down a job and the Thrift Boutique is a big part of that.”

So, what is it about this job that she loves the most?

“What makes me happy is being able to motivate and support the women I work with. I’m able to give someone a tool that maybe they didn’t have before,” she says. “I’m grateful that I’m able to let some of these women and their children know that they can make it, they can do it. Don’t ever give up – that, I think, is what keeps me coming every day.”

And we are so grateful to have you here at Home Start, Veronica! Thank you for helping us strengthen families and protect San Diego’s children.

If you want to be a Home Start Hero, check out our volunteer opportunities here.

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