Bringing Siena Francis House To Those In Need – Mandy Rose!
Mandy Rose is a full-time staff member, here at the Siena Francis House – although she’s rarely in the office. Why is that? Because the most beneficial and impactful work that Mandy does is when she’s away from her desk and out and about in the community! Mandy is one of Siena Francis House’s Homeless Outreach Specialists, tasked with engaging with individuals experiencing homelessness in the Omaha area, but who are not, as yet, receiving services. Mandy makes contact with these individuals – often staying outdoors or other places not meant for habitation – builds rapport and engages them in available community services. Mandy’s ultimate goal is the same as that of our overall organization, which is to connect these persons with community resources they may need to help them move into housing. “I absolutely love my work”, states Mandy. “In my opinion, the people I serve are the hardest to work with, which is often the case, due to the severity of their mental illness. They often find it extremely difficult to trust others and organizations, and may be reluctant to stay at a shelter.” Because of the unique nature of her position, Mandy has become aware of a variety of locations around the metropolitan area where unsheltered individuals might be staying – abandoned structures, vehicles, homeless encampments, under overpasses – pretty much anywhere. Mandy often hears from Omaha business owners, church representatives and even local residents who are concerned for the well-being of someone they may encounter “out on the street”, and who may need services. “I continually give out my business card to as many business owners and residents as I can,” shares Mandy. “I want them to be in touch if they ever have any concern about a person they encounter who may be experiencing homelessness. There’s a lot I can do to assist.” When Mandy’s working, she keeps her car stocked with the kinds of items that unsheltered individuals might need – personal hygiene kits, deodorant, water, gloves, hats and socks. “I constantly hand these out”, states Mandy. “The people I give these to are so grateful. But, that interaction also serves as an ice-breaker for me to begin gaining their trust, in order to have more in-depth conversations about how to get them into housing.” One of Mandy’s fondest cases was a person she worked with named “Janet”. “Janet suffers from mental illness, and I seemed to be the only person who could relate to her”, states Mandy. “I worked with Janet for a number of months, until she was able to fully trust me. Over time, I was able to connect Janet with a local housing program, and eventually moved her into her very first apartment! I also presented Janet with one of our ‘celebration baskets’, filled with a few apartment ‘essentials, like plates, flatware, toilet paper and paper towels. Janet was thrilled to be housed.” Asked about the reasons she enjoys her position as our Homeless Outreach Specialist, Mandy shares the following: “I really love helping people who are just like me. I used to be homeless, myself, and had very little hope that my life could be different. Years ago, someone helped me obtain the resources I needed to get out of homelessness. Now, I’m able to do the same thing for others who are struggling. What I like most about the position is working with the clients. By treating them with kindness and compassion, I help remind them of their inherent dignity, which they so appreciate. And when they finally are able to move into an apartment, the gratitude on their faces is priceless – it’s definitely what keeps me motivated!” Mandy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-706-6307