Case Management in ESP

Sep 19, 2014 by

Meara is a Case Manager in the Enhanced Support Program (ESP).  This program is the final stage of care in the Transitional Emergency Shelter Program.  It has 26 beds. ESP provides a safe respite where men and women can await housing or treatment, work on budgeting, register with the Social Housing Registry and take part in life skills training that will help them adjust to living independently.  The majority of clients living in ESP find more permanent housing within 3-5 months.  The reason that it takes so long is because of the shortage of subsidized housing in the city.
Meara was there when ESP became a new program of Shepherds of Good Hope in July of 2013.  She has seen tremendous transition and says she is truly inspired by the resilience and effort of the clients.  All of the clients have had very difficult lives but by the time they come to this program they are motivated to get a better life.  They work hard in the program and share ideas and goals that they work to implement.
Meara tells us she has had many memorable days in ESP but the one that sticks out in her mind the most was the first time we celebrated one of the client’s birthdays.  She said that the whole community in ESP came together to wish the person a very honest and caring happy birthday.  She was surprised by the expression of compassion she saw and said she would never forget that.  They were not a bunch of strangers living together; they were people who really cared about each other.
5Meara also has her challenging days.  She feels sadness for the clients who are ready to move on and because of the shortage of subsidized housing cannot. Their goals were to work hard to become housing ready and yet when the time came for some of them, there was nowhere to go.  She sees their disappointment and knows their frustration.
When Meara was asked what skills are needed by the staff working in this program she said that you must be able to listen and absorb what clients are really saying.  You must be flexible because you are constantly reprioritizing.  You should have a great sense of humor and you have to know your limits and how much you can take.  She also mentioned that you must be authentic when interacting with clients and they will respect you for it.
Meara talked about the support from senior staff and her extensive training.  She says that it taught her that in time of crisis she can remain level headed and clear thinking.   She loves what she does and has tremendous respect for those in her care.
Meara is just one example of the dedication and professional conduct of the many staff who work at Shepherds of Good Hope.  The clients know that our staff are there to help them become the best they can be and are extremely grateful.

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