A Day in the Life of a Housing Support Specialist

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Tiphanie, housing support specialist, talks to us about her position and what a day looks like for her. 

Describe your role:

As a housing support specialist, we support individuals fleeing domestic violence find safe and stable housing.  After clients find their housing, we financially assist them until they are back on their feet and can self-sustain their rental payments. 


What led you to become a housing support specialist?

A friend that was working for the agency informed me of an open position and thought I would do well in the position. 


How do you start each day?

We typically start each day by catching up on emails that may have come at the end of the previous day or over the weekend and preparing paperwork for client visits that happen throughout the day. 


How many individuals do you talk to daily?

Are those both new and current clients? How many individuals we talk to throughout the day varies from day to day, depending on client’s needs. 


What sort of things do you help clients with?

We assist clients with finding housing, providing rental assistance and making referrals for food, utility assistance, transportation, and other resources in the community.  


What types of community resources do you connect clients with to help support their journey?

We connect many of our clients with a local agency called Resources Unite that helps furnish people’s new homes and provides some food, cleaning supplies, clothing, and other items people may need.  We also make referrals to Catholic Charities, Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP), and St. Vincent de Paul. 


Are there specific community partners you work consistently with?

We consistently work with Resources Unite, Catholic Charities, Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP), Waypoint, Riverview, St. Vincent de Paul, and the domestic violence shelter in Dubuque. 


Does work follow you home?

Most days, work does not follow us home, but with the clients that have higher (or more) barriers, they can sit in the back of your mind and you find yourself thinking about their situation and how you can assist them when you have nothing else going on.  Sometimes when doing an intake and the client has come from a very traumatic situation, those scenarios can creep up in your mind. 


How do you unwind?

We typically unwind by spending quality time with friends and/or family members; either watching tv, having a drink, or enjoying quality conversations. 


Briefly share the story of your most memorable client:

There was a client that had been staying at the domestic violence shelter here in Dubuque and was pulled into our Safely Home rapid re-housing program.  This client came to the shelter in Dubuque after enduring years of abuse from her ex-husband and was suffering from alcohol and drug abuse.  When we finally got this client housed, she found herself in a bad situation with her ex-husband, that sent her to the hospital.  During her hospital stay, this client made the step to attend an inpatient treatment center.  We drove her to the treatment center in Waterloo and she made great strides, coming back to Dubuque to live in a sober living facility.