HRC Trainers on the Road: Report from Omaha, Nebraska

by Wayne Centrone
October 25, 2010

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Recently, the HRC was invited to travel to Omaha, Nebraska, to present a series of workshops on evidence-based practices. EBPs are interventions that have been shown to be most effective to helping people recover from substance use, mental health problems, and homelessness. My HRC colleague and I were asked to provide training on how EBPs can be best integrated into the day-to-day service delivery of such providers.

We offered presentations on Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Informed Care, Intensive Case Management and Cultural Competency. The goal for each session was to present practical, real world tools that providers and clinicians could immediately incorporate into their service delivery.

Our workshops were part of the 2nd Annual "Surviving in Today's Economy" Conference, organized by Family Housing Advisory Services, Inc. Family Housing Advisory Services, or FHAS for ease of writing purposes, is a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping "improve opportunities for low-income families to purchase homes in Omaha." FHAS has been working to develop a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of low-income people before they become homeless.

The conference was a mix of business sector companies and homelessness and housing services providers, and sessions were available to meet the training needs of each group. The unique nature of the audience, a mix of counselors, front line staff, administrators and clinical providers, kept us on our toes.

One participant commented that she was really struggling with how to best work with one of her clients. She said that the material she learned in the HRC training helped to provide some clarity on how to work with her client. She told us that she felt "empowered" with the new knowledge she gained at the conference.

Working as a trainer and technical assistance expert for the HRC has provided me an opportunity to really learn from the amazing providers who work hard every day to deliver care in our communities. At the HRC, we are privileged to assist service providers in gaining the new skills and knowledge that will enable them to better serve their clients.

Interested in being a HRC Guest Blogger? Email us at generalinquiry@center4si.com

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Category: HRC Insight

Writing and Listening

by Wendy Grace Evans
May 25, 2010

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I write for the HRC from my kitchen counter in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During the day, I am alone, but I’m never lonely. Some days I interview people who work here in New Mexico, in person. But most of the time, I spend my days on the phone, talking to people about their work in the field of homeless services.

I was struck by HRC trainer Wayne Centrone’s blog post when he wrote about how people working in the homeless service field regularly experience loneliness, exhilaration, defeat, and the lack of time for reflection. People tell me the same thing all the time.

In the last year I have interviewed over 120 people around the country about their professional lives as homeless service providers, policy makers, and researchers. My goal is to share information about evidence-based and promising practices, successful program models, emerging research, and new policies that shape the field. But there is always a human story embedded in every interview.

I strive to make my interviews into collaborative conversations. I use open-ended questions to learn more about a person’s work. I try to make the interview into a space for reflection, asking people to share what sustains and inspires them, in their work and their lives. Last week I interviewed a Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP) Program Coordinator in recovery, two Executive Directors, and a psychiatrist who works in Assertive Community Treatment and Outreach. The topics of the interviews included Motivational Interviewing simulations for medical students, the importance of meditation and self-care, approaches to HPRP funding allocations, street outreach, services for veterans, and historical reflections on building the infrastructure of homeless services.

People talk to me.

I listen to the people I interview, and we experience a connection that I have the privilege to share with HRC community members. I love the reciprocity of collaborative communication. Last week, two people shared with me that they never have to time to reflect on their work in this field. They thanked me for the opportunity to pause.

One man was a monk for 3 years before becoming the Executive Director of a men’s shelter and practices daily meditation for an hour every morning. This practice supports and informs his role as an administrator. Another man I interviewed shared that he is an engineer by training, a veteran, and a man in recovery. He believes he connects with people he helps through stories and understands some of his most tragic personal experiences are his best asset. One leader in the field is a yoga instructor and the principles of yoga inform her work and her way of being with others. Another provider has a painting given to him by a woman he helped on an outreach. He described the painting as an abstract representation of grief and relief, a reflection of her successes and struggles.

Every week brings new interviews, and each interview is a new opportunity for growth, reflection, learning, and sharing.

Interested in being a HRC Guest Blogger? Email us at generalinquiry@center4si.com.

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Category: HRC Insight

Look for HRC Around the Web!

by Justine Hanson
April 19, 2010

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One of the HRC’s goals is to make connections – to help connect people with peers and the resources they need to do their jobs. One of my favorite parts of the job is seeing how excited people get when they hear about the resources HRC offers – FREE training for homeless service providers, FREE webcasts, FREE open access to the latest research on homelessness, and FREE, easy, online access to training toolkits and information on the latest best practices.

So, I’ve been even more excited to watch the news of HRC’s work spread across the web, and I wanted to share some highlights with you.

Our friends at InforUm, an online nationwide dialogue about housing, poverty, and homelessness, have been re-publishing HRC feature stories on their website. Thanks, InforUm!

Meanwhile, the folks at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network asked if they could feature HRC’s work on parenting and homelessness on their homepage. It turns out that some of their members contributed to the articles included in the Special Section of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry on the theme of “Parenting and Homelessness,” guest-edited by the HRC.

The Special Section helps fill a gap in the research on the challenges of family relationships in the context of homelessness. HRC is sponsoring free open access to the full text articles.

Recently, our friends at The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
(NAEHCY)
published an article about the HRC in “The Beam,” their newsletter.

Then, just the other day I came across an article ("Gay and on the Street") in Q Notes about the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth who are experiencing homelessness. The article references an HRC article, " Supporting LGBT Youth and Their Families: The Family Acceptance
Project
," about the importance of reaching out to families to help prevent the homelessness of these vulnerable youth.

HRC has also partnered with Brainline.org, a WETA website offering information and resources about preventing, treating and living with traumatic brain injury. Brainline.org is now pointing their users to HRC on their partner page, and we will be frequently sharing content across sites!  

It’s so gratifying to be able to share our work with a broader audience – and we’re so grateful for all our amazing partners!

Interested in sharing content like this? Email me at jhanson@center4si.com.

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Category: HRC Insight