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Insight from OFP Interns: Madeleine Veith, University of Denver MSW Intern

What have you learned during your time at Our Front Porch?

The most profound sentence I have heard from a handful of clients these last seven months still resonates so deeply: “Thank you for not giving up on me.” I am learning from my clients how difficult it is to navigate after a home fire. They share about unwavering stress, profound grief, and a new need to rely on the people around them… something so difficult and humbling especially for my most independent clients. As people navigate finding new housing, recovering items/documents, and renegotiating boundaries with loved ones, it can seem like nothing is going well for them. I work with these clients in case management and therapy, and I am amazed. They navigate such profound difficulty with tremendous resilience, and they often experience a newfound softening towards leaning on others. That is where that sentence—thank you for not giving up on me—comes in. I am always caught off guard, in part because I can forget how exposed they feel in losing the four walls they could safely live behind. Yet, in calling our clients each week, listening to their stories, and empathizing with them throughout the highs and lows of rebuilding their lives, I see their resilience and courage to keep going. I cannot help but feel honored to enter into their stories and offer support in the small ways I can… but more than anything it has shown me the importance of offering support to my loved ones and receiving support as well. We are all so much stronger when we can lean on each other.

The first Our Front Porch Home is now here! See the announcement here!

 

Beyond the Lights and Sirens – An Emergency Manager’s Perspective

Guest Blogger: Dr. Enessa Janes, Community Resilience Coordinator

When people hear the words “disaster” or “emergency management,” they typically think about first responders (police, EMTs, or firefighters) or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although these groups are crucial to response efforts, when it comes time for families and communities to begin recovery, it takes a diverse group of partners and expertise to be successful.

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This Work is Hard

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Olivia Vanni/The Victoria Advocate/Associated Press

Coming into this internship, I did not know what to expect. I had little to no clinical experience, I had never worked with the ‘short term’ homeless population nor clients who had severe trauma, and I honestly did not know how to do case management, let alone effective case management. However, while being a part of this organization, I learned how to do all of this and so much more. I learned that trauma can manifest in completely different ways within the same disaster, and that people are the most resilient when something tragic happens to them. From clients that have anxiety and depression, to clients that just want to move on; they are all resilient and deserve help. Another thing that I learned is that I am so irritated with how our society is ran. These types of clients (short term homeless) get little to no assistance through resources through in communities; why you ask? Because these people are physically not living on the street; per the homeless requirement in Denver, so they do not meet the criteria for government aid.

How messed up is this?

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10 Things No One Tells You About Being Homeless

Part 2

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

In my most-recent blog post, I wrote about the fact that until I began working with Our Front Porch, I had no idea just how difficult it is to become totally stable after living in that type of unstable environment. The difficulties of trying to save money and start fresh, all while searching for house and looking for a job, are magnified with you’re also trying to support children or a family. And unfortunately, there are other factors that make the recovery process so difficult to navigate.

Photo Credit: Matt Longmire

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How Our Front Porch Helps

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Every person in the United States faces struggles on a daily basis. From running out gas, to losing a credit card; the human race struggles in every aspect of life. But what happens when a natural disaster hits and you lose everything you own and love? Would you be able to pick up and move on, know what to do, or be able to function soundly? I know in my personal life, I would not be able handle the most basic of everyday tasks. People are resilient and can handle so much, but sometimes they need help in this crisis period. I say this, because this is what I do in my internship: I help individuals who have lost everything due to a natural disaster.

Residents wade through floodwaters in Beaumont Place, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters/Newscom

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How Much Should Housing Cost?

The generally accepted rule of thumb for housing costs is 30% of your income. Do the math. Where do you fall on the spectrum? If you live in the Denver metro area and are renting, that percentage has been steadily increasing over the last few years. According to Housing Colorado, one out of every four renters in this beautiful state spends more than 50% of their income on rent. So what do housing costs really look like?

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Image Courtesy of www.makeroomusa.org

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What Does Post-Disaster Housing Look Like?

Whenever I mention my desire to build post-disaster housing, I get a funny look as most people say, “you mean like the FEMA trailers?” Images like this one were far too common after Katrina and have been burned into our memories by the media. So first off, let’s dispel that myth.

http-::www.pbs.org:newshour:rundown:in-louisiana-toxic-trailers-return-to-house-oil-workers

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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