Meet Maria, A Case Manager In Community Housing

Meet Maria, a Case Manager in Community Housing

I am a Community Housing case manager for chronically homeless individuals. I have been with The Kitchen, Inc. for almost two years.  More than a Job Being a case manager for the homeless is more than a job. It’s a calling, a love-hate relationship of give and take, ups and downs, successes and defeats. It’s a “never the same day twice” kind of job that fills you with pride when things go right and hurts your heart when they go wrong. At its simplest, my job is to empower others to bring about change in their lives. At its most complex, my job is to lead others to the endless possibilities change can create. Embracing Uncertainty A day in my life usually consists of receiving referrals to assist individuals, scheduling meetings in a comfortable place to learn about a person’s needs and guide them to resources that provide solutions to those needs. These can include food, housing, transportation, insurance, or psycho-social needs such as counseling or therapy. I can plan out my day to the minute, but if a client calls in a crisis, I drop my plans and become a source of stability and support to resolve that crisis. I’ve learned to embrace uncertainty and to adapt on the fly.  "I've learned that change comes to each person in their own time and of their own making." Maria Graham I may work with a person for a period of weeks, months, or years. I’ve learned that change comes to each person in their own time and of their own making. Our program is goal-driven and allows people to decide what aspects of their life they would like to improve. I often help people budget their money, get to medical appointments, apply for benefits or access community resources. My clients…

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116 Children Served By Community Housing Since January

116 Children Served by Community Housing Since January

Since January, Community Housing has served 255 people, including 116 children and 6 individuals aged 62 or older. The program is on track to surpass total served numbers from 2019 (298 served, with 130 children and 8 individuals 62 or older). What is Community Housing? Community Housing is a program of The Kitchen, Inc. designed to help families and individuals quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. We use the Housing First model to place people in safe, affordable housing, and then address the barriers that led to their homelessness. Housing First recognizes the need for safety and shelter before other issues and struggles can be addressed.  Who We Serve The Community Housing program encompasses four distinct programs supported by grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Each case manager specializes in one of the programs to provide the best service to clients in that program. HUD Families is a rapid rehousing program that works with families with or without children for up to two years. HUD Youth is a rapid rehousing program that works with youth ages 17-25 for up to two years. HUD Chronic is a permanent supportive housing program that serves chronically homeless individuals. HUD Shelter Plus Care is a permanent supportive housing program that serves individuals with disabilities and their families.  What We Do The goal of the program is to place people in permanent housing and provide individualized supports to help clients overcome barriers to maintaining their housing. These services can include: Case managementRental and move-in assistanceHousehold goods, furniture, food, and clothingTransportation for job interviews and appointmentsReferrals to other community services like Burrell Behavioral Health and MSU Care Case managers work with clients individually to identify barriers, set goals, and provide resources as needed.  How to Help Want to help end homelessness for…

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2020 Charitable Nonprofit Of The Year

2020 Charitable Nonprofit of the Year

Last Thursday, The Kitchen, Inc. was recognized as the Charitable Nonprofit of the Year at Springfield Business Journal’s 2020 Economic Impact Awards. Housing is the Key For 37 years, we have provided services to homeless individuals and families in Springfield and the surrounding communities. As our community of nonprofits grew, we adapted our services and focused on what we do best: housing. Helping people get back into permanent housing is the first step towards long-term stability. Once housed, our case managers work with clients to overcome the barriers that led to their homelessness and create plans for them to remain stably housed.  No One Face of Homelessness There is no single face of homelessness, and we’ve developed programs to make sure homelessness is rare, brief and nonrecurring for each of our clients. Rare Breed Youth Services focuses on the needs of at-risk and homeless youth ages 13-24 years old.Home at Last, funded through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs, serves Veterans who are homeless or at-risk of experiencing homelessness. The Community Housing program works with local landlords to provide housing opportunities for families, individuals, youth, and seniors experiencing homelessness.The Emergency Shelter provides a safe place for individuals and families to stay before they can move into permanent housing.  Safe. Affordable. Desirable. Everyone wants to live in a home that is safe, affordable, and desirable. As highlighted in the 2019 Community Focus Report, “The availability of safe, high-quality and affordable housing remains a concern…Affordability is what keeps housing out of reach for low-income families.” We help meet this need by providing 222 affordable housing units through our housing developments: Franciscan Villa, Beacon Village, McClernon Villas, and Spero Place. A Community Without Homelessness Our vision is “a community without homelessness.” Maintaining our focus has been possible thanks to community support, collaboration with community…

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Road To Stability

Road to Stability

Our spotlight this week features a 51-year-old Army Veteran. He was happy to share his story but wished to remain anonymous. Growing Up Old School This Veteran grew up in Springdale, AR and “found out real early there is nothing in life for free.” At nine years old, he began working with his dad blocking mud on construction sites. He recalls returning to school in the fall as “quite a buff kid.” He credits his country, old-school upbringing for his work- and life-ethic. Connecting to Home at Last After losing his home, this Veteran found Home at Last after talking with the local VFW and Springfield VA hospital. Shortly after connecting with the program he had a major health crisis. In December 2019, he was admitted to Mercy Hospital unconscious. Waking up three days later, he learned that in addition to pneumonia and a lung infection he had suffered a stroke. After spending 10 days in the hospital, he was released to The Kitchen. Inc.’s emergency shelter. In the emergency shelter, he met case manager Kendall and two staff members of Home at Last: Val and Valerie. They began working with the Veteran to create a housing plan. Home at Last staff helped him find housing options to meet his needs and provided the start-up cost to move in. He moved into his new home on Christmas Eve. In addition to connecting him with stable housing, staff also referred him to MSU Care, a health clinic for uninsured, low-income adults. The Veteran was able to meet with healthcare providers to begin rehabilitation after his hospital stay and get needed prescriptions. He says, “they took care of me. They definitely helped me out.” With access to care for his physical and mental health, he was able to focus on getting back…

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Thieves Stole A Catalytic Converter From The Kitchen, Inc.’s Box Truck This Past Weekend.

Thieves stole a catalytic converter from The Kitchen, Inc.’s box truck this past weekend.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Thieves stole a catalytic converter from The Kitchen, Inc.’s box truck this past weekend. This is the third catalytic converter stolen from the Kitchen in the past year. Last September, a converter was stolen from the truck, which is used to move clients into their new homes and transport donations. In February, a converter was stolen from the company van used for transporting clients and maintenance around the properties. Deliveries and donation pickups will be halted until the truck is fixed. About The Kitchen, Inc. The Kitchen, Inc.’s mission is to bring stability and purpose to people who are homeless. Maintaining that focus has been possible thanks to community support, collaboration with community organizations that share our vision, dedicated teamwork among staff, and creative and flexible thinking to successfully maneuver the obstacles that arise to help people exit homelessness. To learn more, visit

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Life Of A Case Manager

Life of a Case Manager

As a case manager, we are steadily finding the balance between office work and providing direct real-time service to our Veteran clients while out in the community. No day is the same as life happens, and we handle ongoing circumstances as they occur.  Working the Case We are present at the beginning stages when a Veteran is looking for permanent housing, but really step in after they are housed. It is unrealistic to expect someone to focus on other goals before their basic needs of shelter and safety are met. Once the Veteran is stably housed, we help the Veteran work through a housing stability plan and budget to ensure they are taking active steps towards maintaining their housing.  Case managers engage in regular contact with clients to ensure they are motivated and accountable to their goals. As a case management team, we talk daily so we can bounce ideas off each other and stay up to date with what is going on in each of our clients’ lives.  Building Relationships In order to provide the best service, we rely on community connections to local resources. We work closely with partner agencies to seek out the best possible connections to help the Veteran tackle upcoming needs and obstacles. These include the HUD-VASH through the VA, One Door, the Homeless Veterans Task Force, Burrell Behavioral Health, the Red Cross, OACAC, Veterans Upward Bound, and Harmony House. Community outreach helps us discover new resources and spread information about the program. We are always learning, training, and attending events to stay current in the world of Veteran affairs and ending homelessness.  Remi Anders, Home at Last Case Manager Ways to Help Your donations allow us to end homelessness for more people in our community. DONATE

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