Lead Case Manager Courtney Rutkowski shares the insights she gained from the Family Promise Morristown Symposium held September 20-22.
One of my biggest takeaways from the Family Promise Symposium is that work relationships are more important than I realized. Relationships with churches have always been and will continue to be important, but there are so many more. Relationships with companies, other community resources, and landlords are crucial. The panel on affordable housing focused on relationships with landlords. There was a landlord on the panel and he expressed that reaching out to landlords, talking with them, and creating a connection with them would assist in finding homes for our families.
Another informative part of the symposium was a panel discussion on families telling their story. We heard from past guests, case managers, and Executive Directors. They provided a list of questions to use when asking guests to tell their story. It was also suggested not to ask families, “How did you become homeless?” and “How did your kids handle being homeless?” The guests stated that those questions were personal and harder to answer.
There are many ideas from the symposium I would like to implement, but the first one is a monthly activity night to bring families together. Families need to know they are not alone. Having them build connections and relationships is just as important as myself making connections! A second focus will be landlord outreach. This can be done in many ways and I am confident our staff will develop fun and exciting ways to connect with landlords.