During National Superheroes Month, we celebrate our staff! Meet Manager of Stabilization Services Joann Boblick. Joann, a long-time member of the BEDS community, helps people who are struggling to remain in their homes stay in them.
"The goal of these (prevention and stabilization) programs is to prevent people from ever needing to use the shelter in the first place," she said.
Joann started as a volunteer with BEDS in 2012, helping with the Saturday meals program. She enjoyed connecting with shelter clients, who were always happy to chat with her. Every Saturday, clients would talk to Joann about BEDS. One client kept giving her the address for the BEDS support center along with his case worker's name.
"He really thought I needed a job and was certain BEDS was the place for me," she said.
Joann continued to help out at BEDS, volunteering about 20 hours a week for more than a year. She was later hired as a part-time staff member while she finished college. Now, Joann manages the homelessness prevention program and stabilization services.
Homelessness prevention is a financial assistance program that helps clients get caught up on past-due rent following a hardship such as a job loss, illness or unexpected expense. The stabilization and diversion programs are focused on case management. Joann said the goal is to work with a person or family to identify their natural strengths and support system during a time of crisis to help them avoid the trauma of coming to shelter.
"Sometimes this involves explaining to family what shelter really is (it is not a temporary apartment) or helping with bus fare so someone can be reunited with a family member that wants to help them through this hard time," she said.
Joann said she truly enjoys the work she does at BEDS and loves helping clients overcome hardship to achieve success.
"The most rewarding part of my job has been running into people years later and finding out they are doing great," Joann said. "Every so often I will run into someone at the grocery store, and we will chat. When I realize they just needed BEDS for a moment in their lives, it really makes my day."