The extraordinary efforts of 10 individuals and agencies who serve Utahns experiencing homelessness were honored at the 2019 Homeless Summit in Salt Lake City on October 10. Learn more about this year's winners by reading their nominations below.
OUTSTANDING CASE MANAGER AWARDS
Megan Rose – YCC Family Crisis Center
Megan is an extremely intelligent individual who excels at whatever job she is assigned to do. She created a data tracking program that analyzes her client’s successes and which tools and programs best support that success. Megan has an amazing gift to see the best in people and help them recognize it themselves. One example of her detailed care for her clients was a father and his daughters who finally got housing just before Christmas. It was cold outside and Megan noticed that they did not have coats. Megan took the time to ask each girl what her favorite color was and went in search of coats. She returned with her arms filled with coats and blankets of the specified colors. We can see why Megan has so many clients who continue to stay in touch with her long after they have left the program.
Julie Sloan – Uintah Basin Association of Governments
Julie is a warm and compassionate person who is always willing to go the extra mile whether it be for a client, co-worker, or anyone she may have contact with. She takes on an extremely high case load by operating the Rapid Re-Housing, Homeless Prevention and Emergency Service programs for the Uintah Basin area. She has worked for the Association of Governments for eight years and takes great pride in the work she does. She is constantly striving to learn as much as possible about the regulations of all funding sources and how to implement best practices in all programs. Julie is a great person and an absolutely wonderful case manager who is truly deserving of this award.
Lenissa Jimenez – Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments
Lenissa has worked for Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments for approximately four years. During this time Lenissa has worked with homeless individuals and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligible customers in our rural region. Lenissa always goes above and beyond in assisting clients to ensure their needs are met. Lenissa connects her customers with resources to help them with their crisis and also help them on the path to self-sufficiency. She is compassionate and always takes time to listen to each customer in an effort to provide these needed resources. Lenissa helps customers get food, clothing and shelter, providing exceptional case management and setting the standard for other team members.
Leticia Vasquez – The Road Home
Leticia is one of two case managers for the House 20 program, which is a challenging case load. Her clients have some of the most extreme mental conditions with lifetime histories of trauma. Even after housing has been secured, intensive case management must continue. Leticia always speaks to her clients with respect and is dedicated, patient, humble in her efforts to help them succeed. In one instance, Leticia made appointments with about five or six plumbers, because her client didn't trust any of them to come inside her apartment to fix her hot water supply. Leticia finally found a plumber that her client felt comfortable letting into her apartment, and they were able to fix the water heater. Her tenacity is astounding.
Giv Development Group creates sustainable and innovative structures that reside well in their place. Giv's primary areas of focus center on mixed-use, mixed-income, all-electric and catalytic developments in urban corridors. Giv is leading the way in modeling the feasibility of developing affordable units statewide, with set-asides for homeless individuals, such as Project Open, Exchange and Denver Street.
Provo Housing Authority
The Provo Housing Authority started a project that is a true housing first model. The project features 27 small apartments that will provide housing for homeless individuals. This has been accomplished by converting an older motel in Provo into rental units for the most vulnerable individuals from the Homeless Management Information System list. The Provo Housing Authority will pay the rent for one year for each individual while they stabilize their situation and increase their income and benefits. The deposit will also be covered and all utilities will be included in the rent, including cable and internet. Through donations, the units will have everything that a person needs to create their own safe and reliable place to call home.
Kelly Roemer – Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services
Kelly is well respected among her colleagues, partners and stakeholders in the homeless service system. They know that she is responsive, effective and compassionate in working with vulnerable seniors and assisting them in navigating a complicated system. She has created strong and effective partnerships to better serve clients and the community as a whole. Kelly has a unique ability to “look upstream,” while at the same time addressing the immediate needs of her clients. Clients regularly indicate how instrumental Kelly has been in advocating for them and connecting them to resources.
Matthew Melville – Catholic Community Services
In the face of a greatly revamped homeless service model, Matt has led his staff and organization in preparation to open and operate one of the three new homeless resource centers — a new venture for his organization. From conducting yoga classes, to hosting client feedback sessions, and building out the Catholic Community Services kitchen, to serving as a job training center — Matt does it all. He serves as a leader in his organization and in the community.
Crossroads Urban Center – Ending Child Homelessness Campaign
The Coalition of Religious Communities is a project of Crossroads Urban Center that brings people together from a variety of faith traditions to end child homelessness in Utah. They sponsor an annual diaper drive for children who are homeless, they provide a weekly email called Ending Child Homelessness Weekly Update, and host the annual “Ending Child Homelessness Day" at the State Capitol. The campaign to end child homelessness by the Coalition and Crossroads Urban Center helps to keep the issue top-of-mind for Utahns.
Project Homeless Connect
Now in its third year, Project Homeless Connect is a one-day, one-stop event in Salt Lake City that brings together community volunteers to provide services for individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The event includes medical and dental care, vision screenings, housing intakes, veterans services, mental health and substance disorder treatment, employment assistance, haircuts, pet care, bike repair, and so much more. Project Homeless Connect creates a vehicle for community-wide involvement in addressing homelessness.