Room 307

by Wendy Grace Evans
January 07, 2013

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Homeless and Housing Resource Network writer Wendy Grace Evans-Dittmer recently had the opportunity to testify on a hate crimes bill in the state of New Mexico. If passed, this bill will elevate crimes against people who are homeless to the status of hate crimes. In this blog, she recounts her experience.

Eloise goes to the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Wendy goes to the legislature in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Several weeks ago, Senator Elect Bill O’Neill asked me to testify for a hate crimes bill to protect people experiencing homelessness. I testified on another homelessness matter for the Senator Elect in the past and was immediately happy to participate. Emails back and forth, as well as my experience covering Maryland’s passing of a homeless hate crimes bill, helped develop our plan for the testimony. I spoke with Michael Stoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless for additional information, including how to field questions we might receive from the sub-committee.

While all physical assault is a crime, a “hate crime” is prosecuted more seriously. A hate crime is a crime that is motivated by prejudice towards a minority. Congress’ definition of a hate crime includes: "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation." If passed, the bill that Senator O’Neill and I testified for would add New Mexico to the list of states that include homelessness in their hate crime legislation.

I entered the Capitol building in search of Room 307. It was difficult not to meander through the majestic halls, but instead I raced to the third floor. Senator Elect O’Neill had begun his testimony and beckoned me to take a place beside him. My role was to explain that people who misunderstand “the homeless” misunderstand that they are simply human beings without a home. Homelessness is a state of being. Someone you might see on the street is someone else’s brother, sister, mother, father, or child. I stated gruesome statistics about the beatings, burnings, and even decapitations of 880 individuals experiencing homelessness in 46 states over the course of ten years.

Senator Elect O’Neill shared the story of a man experiencing homelessness that he knew personally. This man was the victim of what would be a “hate crime” if this bill is passed. Father Rusty Smith, a giant of a man and the Director of St. Martin’s, a “hospitality center” located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, testified as well. He knew of a young man who lived with his parents, had a job, a car, and lived with mental illness. His parents died suddenly and he lost everything, only to wind up under a bridge. Young boys attacked him, relentlessly stabbing him 20 times. While the man who was living under the bridge survived, his story embodies the kind of hatred-fueled attack that skip the daily lives of the average citizen.

The subcommittee voted to take the bill to a vote for an endorsement the following day. Wendy returned to the Capitol and witnessed the political process: a machine at work. In this case, the machine returned an almost unanimous endorsement, save one abstention. The bill will now go to the legislature. We will testify again, and potentially a third time, if fortune shines through the windows of the legislative hallways.

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Category: HRC Insight

Taking a Different PATH

by Amy SooHoo
December 05, 2012

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Amy SooHoo recently began working with SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN), coming to this position after two years of providing outreach services in Boston, Massachusetts with the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. Here, she reflects on how her past experiences in outreach influence her work today.

What gives a day meaning? This can vary from person to person, day to day, and year to year. For me, I find meaning in simple moments—in the time I share with friends and family, reading a good book, and going for an evening run. But most importantly, I find meaning in my work.

In my prior position as a Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) outreach worker, I didn’t have to look far for meaning in my day—the direct service aspect of that position ensured it. My days were spent in conversation with those experiencing homelessness. I worked to plant seeds of hope and change, wanting others to believe that their future could be different. At the end of the day, I could reflect on what had meaning for me that day, how the tiny part of the world with which I had interacted was different because of my actions. I could reflect on taking a young woman to apply for food stamps, and how she’d now be able to buy food because of that. I could think of visiting a client at his new apartment, the smile on his face, and the long road leading to that moment. I could recall a counseling session in which a woman shared a piece of her struggle and painful past, allowing me to bear witness to her story, and think of the ways that her story had changed me.

I’ve recently done a bit of a 180-degree turn. I left my position as a PATH outreach worker and began a new position working primarily with the PATH program at the national level with SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN). It’s an entirely new perspective on the PATH program, and my time spent as an outreach worker informs my work in important ways. HHRN works to provide support and training and technical assistance to SAMHSA’s homeless program grantees, and accomplishes this by offering various resources, trainings, webinars, and consultations.

As a PATH outreach worker, I didn’t give much thought to the work that went into the PATH program—I was simply grateful that my position existed, and that I had the tools and resources I needed to do my job. I entered data about my clients, but didn’t really consider what that meant or how it would be used. I went to trainings and read articles, but didn’t think about the work involved with planning an effective training, or in writing an informative and relevant article.

In my new position, I witness the incredible amount of work that goes into ensuring that the PATH program provides effective services. I am grateful to have opportunities to apply what I learned as an outreach worker to the work that occurs on the national level. I find that I am constantly coming back to my time as an outreach worker, trying to determine how a potential change or new policy might affect the services being offered on the ground. I think about what was most challenging to me when I was working in the field, and if there’s anything that can be done to address these challenges.

At the end of the day, the meaning of my work has not changed. I still strive to improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness, and I know that while my current work does not generally have a direct effect on this population, it indirectly affects these individuals in powerful ways. This is what matters most to me, and what gives my days meaning.

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Category: HRC Insight

Giving Back in the City of Brotherly Love

by Marcella Maguire
November 07, 2012

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Marcella Maguire, Ph.D., of the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and partner in the Journey of Hope project in Philadelphia, has worked in recovery outreach programs for many years. Her work with Journey of Hope demonstrates a commitment to a recovery-focused system that provides support for long-term recovery and enhanced quality of personal and family life. This is a significant change from acute serial episodes of brief stabilization, and requires cooperation across many levels of service, family, and community. In her own words, she explains how the city of Philadelphia is ending homelessness, one person at a time.

Some questions are so simple and yet so complex at exactly the same time. “How do we end homelessness in this county?” is exactly that type of question. The simple answer is that housing ends homelessness. It’s that simple. It’s exactly that simple answer that Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter decided upon when he took office in January 2008 and decided to make ending street homelessness a priority for the City of Brotherly Love.

When we began the program we had no idea how it would work. The initial thought was that 200 people a year could come off the street, receive vouchers, and leave homelessness. But we knew people need supportive services and it is challenging to determine which supportive services are necessary for someone who is still living on the street. Limited resources make service matching important; you never want to give someone more services than they need because someone else needs them, too. On the flipside, you never want to give people too little services because that may set them up for failure. People experiencing chronic homelessness often have many failures in their lives. One more is not necessary.

BL had been living in the downtown train station for over five years. She lived on and off in the shelter system for three years before that. She had some mild mental health issues that life on the street made much worse. Over the winter, she used one of the winter overnight cafes, which are Philadelphia’s version of an overnight drop-in center. The cafe system gives people a warm dry place to sleep and engage with needed services in the morning. She made a good connection with staff at the cafe and they believed she would be successful in her own place with a voucher and a little support. She engaged with a case manager and began the housing process. Her unit was inspected twice before it passed and both delays made her ask the question, would she really receive housing? Eventually, before winter ended, she was able to move in and leave the train station. She still visits friends who remain and advocates for them, but she returns home every night.

We utilized Medicaid-funded supportive services of targeted case management, drug and alcohol case management, and peer supports. Openings that were created in homeless programming were held solely for people with a documented history of street homelessness.

Over three and a half years, my team of committed professionals helped move 587 people out of homeless programming and into their own apartments. Participants were required to participate in supportive services for at least one year prior to their lease being up and had to sign a document agreeing to that fact. Perhaps most importantly, everyone received an individualized recovery plan that matched their needs and desires, rather than a one size fits all approach. As such, the project had fewer participants who disengaged from services and we believe this increased our success rate tremendously. We implemented a monthly feedback form to check in and track housing outcomes such as paying rent, adhering to the terms of their lease, etc. If participants were experiencing challenges there was a process of reevaluating supports to assist them in maintaining their housing and recovery.

As of May 2012, 534 of the 587 remain leased, for a 91 percent housing retention rate. Of those leased, 82 percent have been leased up for at least 12 months. Many have been able to re-enter the work force and a number of them are now employed by the administrative system or provider agencies. Nothing makes this work more worthwhile than being able to organize and plan services with colleagues who have moved beyond their life on the street, engaged with their recovery, and are now giving back to the City of Brotherly Love.

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Category: Guest Entry

Remembering the Motivators

by Steven Samra
October 03, 2012

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As a deputy project director for SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy, I sometimes find myself feeling removed from the day-to-day work performed by my colleagues providing direct service to those individuals who must cope with, and exist through, the challenges that arise from mental health and/or addiction issues.

This is challenging for me. I am a person with lived experience whose life dramatically changed for the better because of interaction with direct service providers. I’ve also done my share of service delivery and know firsthand that the real experts are those sitting across from me, hoping that I will be able to provide the answers that will assist in guiding them out of homelessness and into a better life. Truth be told, the best answers for that assistance often come from the individuals themselves. As a direct service provider, my job was simply to reflect what people already knew back to them in a way that reinforced and validated their own knowledge. The people I worked with taught me far more than I could teach them.

So, it is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I greet any occasion to reconnect with direct service providers so that I may learn, refresh my understanding, and share in the joys and the challenges of the work they do and I am passionate about.

Recently, I had this opportunity as organizer of a SAMHSA Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN) webinar, “Increasing Consumer Involvement in Planning, Implementing, and Assessing Homeless Programs.” Three direct service providers shared perspectives on operationalizing their work as Peer Specialist, Recovery Coach, and Tenant Advisory Board Consumer Specialist.

Each presenter articulated not just the standard information concerning the roles of these specialties but, more importantly, their motivation for—and their understanding of—the raison d'etre of each position. As peers who entered their professional roles with a desire to serve and “give back” to their communities, the insight and perspective they shared offered a deeper, more personalized sense of the responsibilities the titles carry, as well as the intense level of commitment each of them bring to the role.

Their passion and commitment came through in dramatic fashion as the presenters completed the discussion portion of the webinar and began answering questions posed by the audience. I felt pride—and a twinge of envy—as I listened to their personal stories of engagement; of working side by side with those individuals who continue their struggle for housing, for recovery, for hope; and of application of their own lived experience as catalysts for providing, as William White calls it, “experientially credentialed” guidance.

Their responses were potent reminders of the importance of peer contributions in behavioral health, and how essential they are to the field and to the constituency we serve. Peers’ additions to the overall treatment protocols established by treatment teams complement clinicians and professionals in a manner that provides insight, balance, and dignity.

The issues of homelessness and the journey of recovery are as complex and unique as the individuals who experience them. The contributions of peers in assisting them and those who endeavor to serve them are important for many reasons. They provide an important perspective for the rest of the team. Furthermore, peers providing direct service stand as a testament to the ability for recovery. They provide hope and inspiration that simply cannot be conveyed by a non-peer. This in no way diminishes the incredible importance of the professionals in the treatment team. Rather, in my opinion, it provides the impetus for the mandatory inclusion of peers in a treatment team construct.

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Category: HRC Insight

Becoming Trauma-informed, Agency-wide

by Jay Crowe
August 30, 2012

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Jay Crowe is the Behavioral Health Program Manager and Clinical Supervisor at Albuquerque’s Health Care for the Homeless, which is the recipient of a Grant for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI) from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). Recently, Jay and three other members of his team were selected to participate in an eight-week virtual learning classroom on Trauma-Informed Care. The course is offered by SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network technical assistance contract, which supports SAMHSA's homeless programs grantees.

Our Executive Director really believes that having a trauma-informed culture is primary, which means that we must have buy-in from senior management. This is why we selected several managers to take the eight-week virtual learning classroom (VLC) on Trauma-informed Care. Most of my web-based educational experiences have consisted of dialing in, or connecting and watching a slideshow, without ever actually coming face to face with another person taking the course. With the SAMHSA VLC, everyone was on webcams and we were able to see not only the instructors, but the other participants as well. I was able to put faces to names. It is so important to see people’s facial expressions when connecting with another person, as it allows you to discern nuances in what they are saying and how they are learning.

One of the most important things I learned is that it is not enough to be only person-centered and client-focused, but that we must also be staff-centered. That really resonated for me. If we have staff who, over time, have been exposed to people who have experienced trauma, then we are likely to have staff who are experiencing vicarious trauma. If we don’t take care of ourselves, and if the staff doesn’t feel safe, then we cannot ultimately help our clients with their complex trauma in a thoughtful manner.

Currently, we are in the midst of an initiative to become a trauma-informed agency, beginning with making our agency a safe and welcoming environment. This is the first of five dimensions of becoming trauma-informed. One of my main goals is to make sure that we are trauma-informed all the way through the system, meaning that we are staff-centered as well as client-centered because we don’t want people to burn out.

And this is not the end; we hope to take this to an even deeper level. Trauma encodes itself within a person’s brain—codes that, when triggered, result in flight, fight, or freeze. It is complicated to transform that type of encoding, which is why we are committed to becoming a trauma-informed agency for everyone that walks through our doors, whether they are staff or clients.

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Category: Guest Entry

Building Relationships Among Beets

by Jolie Olivetti
August 01, 2012

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Jolie Olivetti is Farm Manager of ReVision Urban Farm, an innovative community located near Boston, MA. It is dedicated to opening doors to recovery and hope for individuals and families facing homelessness and living with addiction and other chronic illnesses. Since HRC last spoke with them, their farmland has doubled in size. They have a new greenhouse, a new terrace, and a new farm stand on Blue Hill Avenue, an impoverished area of Boston. The organization provides not only recovery services and shelter, but also the opportunity for people to rediscover healthy ways of eating food, growing vegetables, and rebuilding confidence. Jolie reflects on her role and shares insights about vegetables to the meaning of her work.

My favorite vegetable? Well, I usually say that I love beets. They are easy to plant. They are grown directly seeded and are fun to grow, fun to harvest, and fun to eat. You pull them right out of the ground. It’s a longer crop. It takes 50 to 55 days to grow, and the growing season runs from April to October. They are versatile. You can eat them raw or cooked, and I think they are delicious.

Part of the beauty of farming is being able to show people where food comes from. Many of the individuals and families who come to our farm have long histories of gardening, while others are gardening for the first time. This is a community of revision, so we share cuisines from all over the world. The work of our shelter is to develop meaningful relationships with individuals and families. At the farm, we are just as much a part of that goal. Working side-by-side while farming is a great conversation starter.

My background is in environmental education and, through working here, my views on homelessness have really changed. All I knew before came from the media, my observations, and volunteering. I have learned that homelessness is not a permanent condition, but rather, that people experience homelessness. It is about stable and safe housing, and it is about poverty. Most people who experience homelessness are not in that situation because of just one thing, and it is not the first thing you should know about someone. It is not an identity.

The young people I work with in the garden have had a significant impact on me. Many of the children between ages 5 and 11 take a real shine to the farm. It is like a dream for them—an exciting place, especially if they like to get dirty. They have so many questions about what we are doing. When a young person calls out to us and shouts out, “What are you doing?”, I may feel I don’t have time to answer because my task list is so long. But I have realized that the most important thing I can do is to make time to answer, because the most important thing that I am doing is supporting and interacting with the young people who are with us.

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Category: Guest Entry

Helping Clients Develop Health Literacy

by Claire Berman
June 26, 2012

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Claire Berman, M.S., is a Health Communication Specialist and part of SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network team. She specializes in issues of health literacy, behavior change communication, narrative approaches, and cultural competency. She shares her reflections on the connection between health literacy and homelessness and lessons learned from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s Health Literacy Conference of May 2012.

I like to think of health literacy in this way:

Imagine sitting in an advanced calculus class (and for the purposes of this blog, imagine that the last time you studied math was over ten years ago). The professor is saying words and describing concepts you’ve never heard of before—integral, optimize, derivative, function, and infinite series. You are a smart person, but you can’t follow any of it. Before you leave, the professor turns to you and asks, “Do you have any questions?”

You are so lost in the discussion that you don’t even know where to begin. It feels too late to start asking questions now, and you’re afraid you’ll look stupid if you do—so you say no and quietly leave the room.

Now imagine that instead of a calculus class, it’s a doctor’s appointment, and you are a person experiencing homelessness. The last time you saw a doctor was ten years ago. You’ve never had much education around health, and the health issues you struggle with are fairly complex. Your level of health literacy is probably fairly low, which means that you are less likely to understand what your doctor tells you and less likely to ask questions. As a result, your health is likely to suffer.

This May, I attended the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s Health Literacy Conference in Irvine, CA. The conference explored operational solutions to low health literacy, and it came as no surprise to me that much of the work being done in health literacy intersects strongly with the work being done in homelessness services.

The vast majority of us in the U.S. (nearly 90 percent) have “less than proficient” health literacy skills. We also know that people with certain experiences are especially likely to have low health literacy. Less education, less access to mainstream services, and higher levels of poverty often lead to the lowest health literacy.

People experiencing homelessness often have all of these risk factors, with enormous costs to their personal health and to our health care system.

The thing about health literacy that makes it so hard to “fix” is that it goes far beyond one single skill. Instead, it is a complex process that relies on reading, writing, verbal, and numeracy skills, among others. It’s about how we are able to find and understand health information, and what we are able to do with that information once we have it.

Can we understand the language? Do we have the basic math skills to understand and follow instructions on medication? Do we have the ability to formulate questions for our doctors, and the confidence to ask them? Do we have people we trust to help us when we don’t have these skills?

What I heard at the conference was a commitment from the health literacy field to find new and innovative ways to reach our society’s most vulnerable populations with appropriate health information. Homelessness service providers work hard to cultivate relationships with marginalized individuals—people who may not have any connections to health care at all.

Providers have the chance to be an important part of the solution. As a starting point, I’d recommend some great resources and methods for addressing low health literacy among clients, such as:

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Category: Guest Entry | HRC Insight

Shifting the Paradigm by Judge Paul Herbert

by Wendy Grace Evans
May 24, 2012

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Judge Paul Herbert of Columbus, Ohio leads the Changing Actions to Change Habits (CATCH) program, which is a two-year program for women who have been involved in sex work or human trafficking. Instead of sending them to prison, the program allows the women to spend two years on probation and to enter an intensive rehabilitation program for substance use and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Judge Herbert shares some reflections on the CATCH program.

The Changing Actions to Change Habits (CATCH) program is two years in length, and while many women do not make it the whole way through, I can track them through the criminal databases. Data shows that of the 80 women who have been accepted into the program, 78 percent have not committed a new crime. The remaining 22 percent are women who relapsed and have committed crimes and are back in the system.

The other venture we are pursuing is an attempt to differentiate between prostitution and human trafficking. The more I see women come through my courtroom, the more I am convinced that many are human trafficking victims.

I have spoken to different people in search of a human trafficking assessment tool. I found one in Washington, D.C. with the Polaris Project, which is the leading national human trafficking research organization. It defines human trafficking as follows: whether by force, fraud, or coercion, a person submits to a commercial sex act if they are over the age of 18. If they are under the age of 18, the selling party must have sold them for sex in order for sex to fall under the guidelines of human trafficking.

Based on this definition, we assessed 20 women who are currently in the program, and 93 percent fell within the guidelines of being human trafficking victims.

This tool helps enormously because it gives me hard data, which can help me shift the culture and mindset of how people in Ohio and the country view prostitution. In Columbus alone, 1,500 women a year are arrested for prostitution. Based on the results of the initial Polaris assessment, this would mean that approximately 1,396 are actually trafficking cases. I cannot sit back and watch this happen. The recovery centers are full, and women are now waiting in jail cells.

I also had another epiphany, which is a belief that Ohio State University should become the first university to open a center on human trafficking. The center would provide research, education, publishing, treatment, and outreach. Some of the most prominent issues that these women face include Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from trauma, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), substance use, mental illness, homelessness, and physical health problems (including vision and dental problems).

I am looking for an approach that keeps the women at the center of our attention as a community so they can heal, and so society understands they have been sold into this lifestyle of degradation—and it should be said that it is hardly a lifestyle. It is more of a death sentence.

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Category: HRC Insight

The Phoenix Rising: Describing Women’s Stories of Long-Term Recovery

by Gretchen Hammond
April 27, 2012

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I could have explored many topic areas for my dissertation on women and recovery, but I knew there was a distinct need for more on how women talked about their own lives. In my own career as a provider at Amethyst Inc., I worked with women in treatment at the beginning stages of sobriety. This is the start of the big change when many women wonder, “Am I always going to be this uncomfortable?” It made me want to give both women and providers a roadmap for recovery.

Initially, many women I interviewed thought they had to have it all together in the first 90 days of being sober. But when they talked about the “beginning” of recovery, I was surprised to learn that they were discussing the first five years, which are surprisingly difficult. Women talked about new feelings that emerged, emotions that had been previously buried. They were peeling back new layers of understanding about who they had been and who they were becoming, which can be both frightening and rewarding. They were making life decisions about careers, getting married, and how to live life sober.

When I talked to women about years 10 through 12, they realized—perhaps for the first time—that they were no longer questioning who they were, and that they were comfortable in their own skin. Every woman I spoke with had experienced some type of major loss around that period of time—something tragic. All of the women shared, almost in unison and from different parts of the country, “I just walked through my recovery.”

One of my favorite interviews was with a woman who had a long career working in the church and then became, as I put it, a “rip-roaring alcoholic.” She married and then entered into recovery. After her husband died, she reached towards her faith, which had always been present. Like many people who enter sobriety and have been through addiction, this woman understood that she—like anyone who is in recovery—is always just one drink away from losing her sobriety. There are no guarantees.

Women told me about the importance of support from other women and of spiritual exploration without being told what to believe. All of the women insisted on sharing with me how they became addicted to alcohol or other substances. They needed to make sense of their trajectories. It was often challenging for women to recall periods of time that followed the first five years. Years can blend into each other.

I believe it is critical to give women time to exhale. One of the most important things for service providers to do is teach women to not be so hard on themselves. Self-discovery is an evolving process for women in recovery, and allowing them to foster this is crucial. Some of this has to happen through private sharing. It is also important to remove time limitations. Light bulbs turn on at intervals, and moments of realization happen at different times for different women.

When I asked women how they knew that they were in long-term recovery, they explained the presence of a feeling, a knowledge that an internal change had transpired. As one woman said, “I walk differently, I move differently—and I know my life is different.”

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Self-Care: “I Have to Start Somewhere”

by David Sisneros
April 03, 2012

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David Sisneros is the Program Director at the Metropolitan Homelessness Project men’s shelter, The Albuquerque Opportunity Center (AOC). He also fills several other roles at the organization. David describes his realization that he needs to take better care of himself and his journey towards self-care in a conversation with Wendy Grace Evans after her visit to the shelter.

There can be a fine line between serving others and taking care of myself. I provide all personnel supervision, job coaching, and on-site training at AOC. I directly manage all of our residents in the veterans program, and I am responsible for ensuring the safety of all residents. For us, this typically totals 75 men per night.

I focus my time on getting to know both staff and veterans. Getting to know people on an emotional level, especially people who are struggling, and who come and go, is not an easy task.

I value working diligently with the men in our program. Sometimes, they are victims of circumstance. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they have a mental health or substance use relapse. I have been in this field for a long time, and it is difficult to feel these tragedies. I can’t let them rest heavy in my heart.

I have also seen my own family struggle with both mental illness and substance use, and I have seen how we have overcome them. I have always known that I wanted to serve, and I gain a great deal from serving others.

Six months ago, I realized that this was all too much. It was clear that I was overwhelmed and was working myself to death. Working 50-hour weeks at 110 percent just to get the basics done is unhealthy.

When I first started working those hours, I felt proud that I could do that much, and do it well. But people started asking me, ‘How do you take time for yourself?’

That is when I realized that I wasn’t taking time for myself.

Initially, my wife was supportive of my pace, but then I started hearing, ‘We want to see more of you.’ We started bickering more about when I would be home. I felt resentful that she was putting pressure on me when I was out doing something for the community.

But then I remembered—she is my wife. She is my family, and she and my daughter deserve more attention.

Since realizing my need for self-care, I have started making some changes. I go hiking and camping with my family. And while I don’t yet feel I am in a place where I can take an hour for myself to go running, I am finding joy in being present at home with my wife and daughter.

I have also been a musician for a long time, and it was hurting my heart that I didn’t have time to play music anymore. So I joined the West Side Drum Circle, and now I play with some guys and bang the heck out of African drums.

I would love to take yoga. Physical exercise is a part of my life that is out of balance. When I think about self-care, I think of people spending time by themselves and taking care of themselves. I guess I am doing that now, and that’s a start. I have to start somewhere.

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