Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP) is a pretty amazing place to work. The clients we see want the best for themselves and their children, and make the first step toward a better life for their family by taking a literal step through our doors. There are a myriad of programs available where clients receive services and support for needs such as housing information, wellness care, prenatal classes, computer access, interview and resume help, access to diapers, food and clothing, as well as more intense case management for people experiencing domestic violence, open Child Protective Services cases, substance abuse, homelessness, and mental health issues.
With all of these
hard issues to deal with, clients are welcomed into HPP in a warm and
caring manner, and are treated with respect and adoration. Everyone on
staff has such passion for their work and the vision of HPP. For many,
this passion comes from their gratitude for the support they received
when first coming to HPP as a client. More than half the staff are
former clients that have gone through the Community Health Worker
Training program and have moved up to be case managers and service
providers. I am truly humbled every day by my co-workers' and clients'
stories of perseverance, hope and strength, as well as their continued
humility and service.
Through MVS, my position at HPP is a housing
intern, and I do a variety tasks. One bigger responsibility is to lead
an English housing workshop twice a week for clients and community
members. I, along with a couple other co-facilitators, go through a
20-minute presentation informing the attendees about various housing
options in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Housing can be very hard to
come by, especially in the Bay Area, but we are able to give them tips
and crucial information and resources for them to succeed. The rest of
the workshop is devoted to actually completing applications and sending
them out to the properties. Right now, I am also updating our list of
open housing options by calling property managers all over the Bay Area,
inquiring about income requirements, rent, if their waitlist is open,
and how to receive applications. The learning curve is pretty steep, but
I am taking it in stride.
We also have a Deposit Assistance
Program where clients who have found a place and meet the requirements
for eligibility receive the deposit they need in order to move into the
unit. The program does not operate like a loan system, but instead, HPP
is promised to get the deposit back if or when the client decides to
move out. There are specific documents we need in order to use the
program, and I have been learning how to put all of that in the right
order. I also enter the checks into the database system. HPP partners
with another organization called Season of Sharing, which supplements
our help if a deposit is more expensive. Every two weeks, I go to a
review board where we check possible missing documents and
inconsistencies in order to approve or not approve the case.
are other tasks that I do as well, but these are the hats I wear when
directly doing housing work. I hope this paints a picture of what I am
doing on the day-to-day. Yes, I have already learned so much about
housing, but I am seeing that the clients' stories and experiences are
teaching me even more. Blessings!