Clients and Advocates Homelessness 101 Training Robert Hofmann, Simpson Housing Services Derek Holt, Our Saviour’s Housing Damien Jones, St. Stephen’s Human Services Jocelyn Groce, People Serving People John Petroskas, Catholic Charities Dominick Bouza – The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center Cathy Heying, St. Stephen’s Human Services
Overview Becoming a Strong Advocate Let’s talk about boundaries… Working Effectively With Homeless People Who May Not Be Very Excited About Working With You Advocates and Clients – Who Makes More Sense? Working with those barely clinging to the bottom rung, creating ties with the community and creative ways to address negative actions. Advocacy and community organizing
Yourphilosophy What is your philosophy as an advocate? What motivates or sustains you in your work?
Your background • How have your life experiences shaped your philosophy? • How does your background affect the way that you approach your work? • How do your experiences and background affect the way you relate to the people that you serve?
Meeting your participants“where they’re at” • Keep hospitality in sight, despite the burden of program agendas. • Be a good listener. • Understand the power dynamic that exists between you and the people you serve.
Hospitality • What is your participants’ first impression of you? • How do you identify yourself to your participants? • What is the first thing that happens when a participant enters your facility?
Hospitality • “Managing the chaos”: “I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it. I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.”
Listening Skills • You can’t know where someone’s at unless you let them tell you. • Similar backgrounds and barriers doesn’t always equal the same approach. • “Fair doesn’t mean that everybody gets the same thing; fair means that everybody gets what he or she needs.”
Understand the Power Dynamic • Understand that you hold a degree of power over your participants. • Accompany people in their journey. • Don’t take credit for success or failure. • Don’t be a “savior” • Relate to participants in ways other than their homelessness.
Be patient! • Every interaction does not have to be goal oriented. • Don’t take it personally when participants don’t take your advice or don’t follow through. • Understand your own biases and triggers.
When do you take things personally? Types of language Barrage of questions Invading personal space Understanding your personal triggers, and not taking offense • Exercise: What types of language or behavior sets you off?
Understand your role and responsibility within your organization… What does your job description say? Most of us are not licensed therapists, and therefore need to recognize our own limitations. What is the mission of your organization?
Setting and Maintaining Boundaries RED= a major violation, never ok, this is a big problem YELLOW= up for discussion, could pose a problem, depends on the situation GREEN= no concerns whatsoever
You are driving in your car with a client when you realize you left your calendar at home. You’re in a hurry, so you stop at home with the client to pick it up. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?
A friend of one of your clients asks for information about accessing county services. Even though you are not working with him directly, you write down the basic information about how to apply for General Assistance. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?
You are meeting with a client whom you’ve had a hard time building a relationship with. He begins asking a lot of personal questions, and out of frustration you answer them. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?
A client asks for $3 for bus fare. You give it to him. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW? (What if the $3 is for cigarettes? Does it change anything?)
It is a cold day and you are driving into work. On your way to the office, you see a client who you know is headed to your office as well. You stop and offer him a ride. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?
You notice that your fellow staff person is handing out bus passes to a group of five clients who helped carry in a large donation. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?
On the way to work, your bike chain snaps. Tom, a client in your program, notices this and indicates that he can “fix the chain no problem.” You let him fix the bike chain. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?
You are invited to a party at your friend’s house. When you arrive, a current client of yours is also at the party. You stay at the party. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?
A client wants to thank you for your help and gives you flowers and a card. You accept this. Is this situation RED, GREEN, or YELLOW?