I got married on February 8, 2014. At my wedding, I announced to all of my friends and family, along with my husband’s friends and family, that in order to work for me, you must be a superhero. We joke about this. Alan, Katie, and Sara are a part of the Housing Support Team, which is the program I serve as Team Lead. Alan and Katie are case managers for the Housing Support Team program, and Sara is our Assessment Specialist, taking all phone calls and walk-ins that come into Aurora, as well as handling some of the paperwork for Katie and Alan’s clients.
I feel that not just anyone can work at Aurora. You have to have a special place in your heart for the homeless population. You have to understand and empathize that it isn’t just one thing that puts people into homelessness, it is often a multitude of bad things that happen to people, often all at once or the course of a short-time, that puts them walking into our office, making the phone call to Aurora, or being referred to us from a shelter.
I can write all day long, but you can never understand what it feels like to know that you have no financial assistance to offer someone, but all you can offer are options of places that may help, and be able to offer an ear to listen and empathize and a tissue for tears of someone who feels that things are hopeless. Sara offers encouragement and often jokes that she is a cheerleader for many of the people she talks to in person and on the phone. We have gotten many e-mails thanking us for the support and encouragement Sara has offered to people who have felt that all was lost when they walked into Aurora and felt encouraged that they can be successful and have homework of places that can help them.
I don’t know that I can write and make people feel the joy my case managers feel when someone is successful. Knowing that they can offer support and guidance, helping to maneuver through paperwork, calling agencies for additional assistance, seeing the look on someone’s face when they get to move into a place they can call their own, helping client’s budget, job searching and finding the perfect job or the perfect second job that will work around the first job’s hours, providing transportation when getting from point A to point B seems impossible without a helping hand. Working through problems together and brainstorming multiple options and allowing the client to pick their course of action.
You may look at this list and feel like these are not major accomplishments. But showing our clients that there is more than one option for them, showing them how to budget, helping them through hurdles and applauding them through accomplishments, these things make me so proud of the team that I have. I could not ask for better employees, they are superheroes to each and every person they see.
Jennifer has worked at Aurora since 2008. She is a graduate from the University of Southern Indiana with her Bachelors and Master degrees and has her Certification in Financial Social Work. Jennifer is the Team Lead for the Housing Support Team. Jennifer also works at United Caring Services Transitional Housing providing case management.