Hancock County Housing Case Managers Have a Seat at the Table

Author: Julie Brown, Hope House CEO

I never forget the words that a successful grassroots advocate shared with me: “I know that the changes I want won’t always happen. Most often, that is out of my control. What I do control is getting a seat at the decision-making table. If I get a seat at the table, and my perspective is heard, I consider that a success.”

June 18, 2018 was a bellwether day for the housing sector in Hancock County.

  • 25 housing case managers from a variety of local agencies and organizations in Hancock County were all in one room at the same time! This has never happened before. And even though they might talk regularly on the phone or via email as they work collaboratively to create wraparound care for our neighbors, many had never met face-to-face. New relationships and opportunities for collaboration were definitely created.

  • The case managers participated in an exercise facilitated by Jen Traxler, Benefits Service Center Supervisor, Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Through their lens of frontline expertise, the case managers shared their input on the current state of housing in Hancock County, barriers to housing stability, and even dreamed what a better housing future will look like for our community.

So, what happens next?

  • Once the data is compiled, it will be shared with the Center for Civic Engagement, housing consortium, local funders, community planners, government leaders, and housing agencies.

  • The conclusions will be validated through follow-up interviews with our neighbors who have been homeless.

  • The data will serve as an important tool for decision-making by local collective impact groups that involve the housing sector, nonprofit agencies, funders, and government.

  • The housing consortium will send quarterly emails to the case managers who generously participated in the June 18, 2018 exercise so they can see the impact of their input.

Best of all, the case managers who are on the frontlines every day helping alleviate homelessness in Hancock County, have a seat at the table. And we will use their expertise to make future community housing decisions.