Home Visit w/ Jaleesa | Ms. D
Wed Mar 5, 2020, 11am
Hi there, Bridges Partners! My name is Ashley Hill Trotter, and I am the newest member of the Bridges team! I currently serve as the Director of Strategic Partnerships, a role in which I will be working to advocate on behalf of Bridges homelessness related efforts in Newark and the County of Essex, as well as to mobilize the City of Newark around the Built for Zero initiative. My journey here at Bridges started just last Monday, March 2, 2020, and I have learned so much already (thanks to Rich, the Executive Director, and the Project CONNECT team!) about the needs and vulnerability of homeless residents in Newark and Essex County, and how Bridges is working to ensure that those needs are prioritized and met PERMANENTLY!
After shadowing our Executive Director on Day 1 and participating in a few meetings on Day 2, I had the opportunity to join Project CONNECT Caseworker Jaleesa on a home visit to a Bridges client that was recently housed in the City of Newark. To date, Bridges has housed 10 individuals in permanent supportive housing with Section 8 vouchers and remains committed to supporting these residents indefinitely to ensure that they never experience homelessness again. Through the provision of individualized case management services, Project CONNECT caseworkers remain engaged with housed clients on a monthly or as needed basis to ensure that residents are meeting their basic needs, and that they are able to pay their rent.
Our appointment with Ms. D was scheduled for 11am, and when we arrived to her apartment building, she was waiting for us in the newly renovated lobby. Together we rode the elevator up to her apartment while she expressed excitement about starting her new job as a home health aide later that afternoon. Ms. D had successfully completed Bridges Wise Women Program in which she and over 50 other women were trained and licensed to become home health aides through supportive funding from the Reitman Foundation.
As we entered her apartment, Ms. D’s excitement and pride in her living space were palpable. She wore a radiant smile as she unlocked the door and welcomed us into her home. We entered into a spacious living room that featured dark hardwood floors and was furnished with a sofa, love seat, desk, and chair. A decorative painting was mounted on the wall, and a potted plant sat stylishly between the sofa and love seat. Attached to the living room was a dining area that featured a round table surrounded by four dining chairs. The wall that connected the living room and dining room had large windows that allowed for a perfect view of the New York City skyline. Next, Ms. D escorted us to her bedroom that allowed for the same beautiful view and featured her king size bed which she absolutely loved! The apartment also had a small kitchen with all of the major appliances, a single full bathroom, and additional closets in the hallway. Jaleesa and I complimented and congratulated Ms. D on her beautiful home.
After the grand tour, Ms. D invited us to sit at her dining room table where she provided an update on her previous employment, her new employer, the purchase of her new car, and a nonprofit that she created to engage teens in recycling and community improvement. Ms. D also expressed some concerns about an increase in her rent as a result of her new employment. Together, the three of us reviewed Ms. D’s current income and expenses, and we were able to generate a budget that allowed Ms. D greater insight into her finances.
Jaleesa asked Ms. D about her mental health since being in her new apartment. Ms. D reported having previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that it is currently being managed with regular injections that are covered by her insurance. Other than that, Ms. D reported experiencing some mild depression due to isolation experienced by living alone. Jaleesa and I encouraged Ms. D to continue to tap into her natural networks including her church family. We also discussed maintaining contact with the other recently housed residents. And Jaleesa assured Ms. D that her door and phone line are always open and available to her.
Jaleesa will visit Ms. D again next month. Below is a list of some of the things that Ms. D could use in her new apartment if you would like to contribute toward this young lady’s continued success:
- Bottled water
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Dish detergent
- Laundry detergent
- Liquid fabric softener
- Air freshener
Ashley Hill Trotter
Director of Strategic Partnerships