Hope Solutions’ staff spotlight features our team members and the amazing work they do to fulfill our mission to heal the effects of poverty and homelessness by providing permanent housing solutions and vital support services.
HOPE SOLUTIONS: What drew you to Hope Solutions?
BETH: I joined the Hope Solutions team (then Contra Costa Interfaith Housing) in November 2015. I was drawn to Hope Solutions for its mission…it was focused and direct: provide permanent housing and vital support services to vulnerable members of our community. Having worked in children’s mental health for years, I knew how hard it was for families to focus on “well-being” when their basic needs were not being met. It was an ongoing challenge. Community services were so siloed; it was difficult for families to access everything they needed to succeed. Then I heard about Hope Solutions, an agency that took a big picture look at what our most vulnerable families needed: safe and stable housing, food security, medical access, employment opportunities, parenting and well-being, AND mental health support. It was the kind of integrated community-based programming that my previous in-home mental health teams and I used to dream about.
HOPE SOLUTIONS: What positions have you held at Hope Solutions?
BETH: I started as the Clinical Case Manager at Garden Park Apartments, providing support to 27 families who had exited homelessness. After a while, I transitioned to the Family Services Manager, supporting all of our site-based family programs (case management and youth enrichment) at Garden Park Apartments, Los Medanos Village, Bella Monte Apartments, and Lakeside Apartments. I also was responsible for supervising and training our mental health clinicians, and eventually became part of the agency-wide training team.
HOPE SOLUTIONS: What do you like most about your position(s)?
BETH: I love working on a team: there’s something exciting about bringing together diverse experiences and beliefs and values toward a shared mission. I love developing programs that support the families we work with, sharing in the creative process. I love the clinical challenges that present themselves in working with families with multiple needs, really listening and engaging. Sometimes we are able to think things through to resolution. Sometimes we just sit with the emotion. I love supervising and training early career clinicians as they develop their sense of self in their clinical role.
HOPE SOLUTIONS: How has your role adapted to COVID-19 pandemic?
BETH: Wow. This is a big one. My training is all about relating to people and, all of a sudden, we were called upon to relate to each other in a very different way. When the first stay-at-home orders came out in March 2020, I supported my teams in responding to the most immediate crises: How do we help families get the resources they need without leaving their homes? How do we support families in managing their children’s education through remote learning? How do we check in on families when we’re not supposed to be in physical proximity? How do we inform families about a pandemic, the risks, and the protective efforts? There were a lot of logistical changes that we needed to make quickly. Then it became clear that the restrictions were not going to be as short-term as we’d hoped. We needed to move out of short-term, resource-focused emergency response mode into revising entire programs to meet new “virtual needs.” I found myself supporting our youth enrichment coordinators in transitioning quickly from well-established in-person summer camps to Camp Hope, a 100% virtual summer experience. Our mental health clinicians were learning how to provide play therapy online. Our case managers were accessing community resources that had never existed before. Essentially, my role shifted to recognizing unique family needs created by the pandemic, supporting staff in re-learning their trade, and establishing effective ways of managing communication (including misinformation). It took a lot of creativity, a ton of trust, a bunch of mis-steps, and a good deal of determination by our teams. My role has always involved supporting my teams, but it seemed more intense during COVID.
HOPE SOLUTIONS: What do you do for self-care?
BETH: I love to cook. I love to sing. And I love spending time with my family, especially my 9-year-old child. And if I’m to be totally honest…I am currently obsessed with “Happy Color,” a totally random coloring app.
HOPE SOLUTIONS: What brings you hope about your work and the mission of Hope Solutions?
BETH: The families that I work with bring me hope every day. I have worked with kids for my entire career and watching them grow and blossom has always brought joy to me. Watching parents develop in their sense of self and sense of competence and confidence is incredible. This is probably my biggest source of hope. But I also have to include my teams in bringing me hope. We all share a goal of making the world better, one family at a time. The comradery of this goal brings me hope. And finally, watching early-career professionals grow into their professional roles brings me hope. The work we do is complex and pain-filled and messy. As young professionals learn to engage in this work with compassion and skill, I am filled with hope for the future.