A Day in the Life of a Housing Support Specialist

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Emma, housing support specialist, shares about her role. 

Describe your role.  

My role is to fill in throughout each of our housing programs when extra support is needed. Whether that is a staff going on maternity leave or leaving the agency, my role is to assist each program, so it can stay up to standards while there is a gap in staffing.  

What led you to become a housing resource specialist? 

I really liked the idea of my position always changing. A fact about me is that change really intimidates me. I wanted to work in a role that I knew would challenge me and help me grow as an advocate. Working in our different housing programs has helped me expand my knowledge throughout the agency. 

Describe the population you work with. 

The populations I work with currently are experiencing crisis due to domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and homelessness.  

How do you start each day? 

Each day I start by checking our voicemails on the hotline from the night before. We then add each voicemail to our callback tracker to ensure everyone calling in gets the help they need. You will also see me eating some kind of snack in the mornings  

What types of things do you help clients with? 

My job that I am doing right now is being on our housing hotline to answer calls. Some things I help clients out with are creating safety plans, diversion, doing housing assessments, or referring them to other local organizations if they need assistance that we cannot provide.  

Are there specific community partners or resources you work consistently with? 

Some of the community partners that I consistently work with are, Community Action, Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities. 

What is the most enjoyable part of your role? 

The most enjoyable part of my role is getting to meet and work with a bunch of different people. Since starting this position in April of 2021, I have worked in 3 different programs. Working in different programs allows me to surround myself with a variety of coworkers, atmospheres and has allowed me to develop relationships with many clients we serve.  

What is the most stressful part of your role? 

One of the most stressful parts of my role is telling the clients I serve that I will only be working with them for a limited time. I love being able to make close relationships with the individuals I serve and be someone that they can build a foundation of trust with. It is sometimes hard at the end of my time in that program to say good bye so soon.  

Does work follow you home?  

The Leadership team at my job does such a good job at expressing how important self-care is. I try my best to not let work follow me home. I have made close friends in the agency that I know at the end of a rough day would not hesitate to let me talk to them about my day and provide the support and comfort I need to decompress. We are also encouraged to take a personal day if you need one to recharge.  

How do you unwind? 

I really enjoy going for walks when the weather is nice to unwind. I also enjoy watching a good series on Netflix or scrolling on TikTok  

Briefly share the story of a memorable client or situation. 

A memorable moment that I have experienced is getting to be a part of one of the night outreach nights in Mason City. Seeing clients in tough real-life situations really opens your eyes and makes me even more grateful to get to be part of the work we do. I enjoyed being able to bring them warm food, something to drink and complete assessments to get them the help they need.