As we look back on the past three years, we got the thoughts of some of the colleagues who have worked on the programme to get their reflections of what being a GM Housing First hero means. In the penultimate part of our series, we have Great Places' Cheryl Marney.
My journey on the Housing First Project has been emotional on a few levels.
I started working on the project near the start of the pandemic. In addition to learning a new role, training and navigating through the barriers of the pandemic, it was quite tough.
As many people and roles were effected by the pandemic, this put a strain on the people we were supporting. Services were not open, going out to visit people and we were maintaining and supporting people in ways that went beyond what I felt qualified in.
But putting this aside, my attraction to the role was the forward thinking principles, and I thought I want to be a part of that!
They struck a chord that was aligned with my own values. So I continued to push through the pandemic barriers and try and deliver the best quality to the people who were referred to the project. Maintaining a positive attitude wasn’t easy, but I felt essential to keep up with what we needed to provide.
On coming out the other side, and into year four of the programme, on reflection and looking at the amazing achievements of the people we support brings a huge smile to my face.
Although sometimes stressful and sad, the positives shine through with what some of our people on the project have managed to achieve and pull their lives together so well, despite having backgrounds of trauma and despair.
When I see this, I feel this is what I have worked hard for and it’s a relief when I see, what might be insignificant to many are huge changes and progression for others.
Within this role, it's not just a job and administrative role, it’s being an integral part of another person's life and journey of progression for the time you are supporting them, through crisis and through celebrations.
The onwards journey for me withing the project, has gone past the fire fighting and into the fire lighting. Progressing people forward into their own wonderful talents and introducing people to how they can proceed to share the contributions of their life they so deserve.
Being a Housing First Worker is a shared experience with the person you support, learning and helping each other to understand and share our skills and knowledge as equals.