Advocacy. A big word with a lot of meaning. Advocacy can mean something different to any individual person. Advocacy can be shown in a multitude of ways. Examples of advocacy are volunteering, working on policy, fundraising, and networking.
What can you be an advocate for? Primarily, here at HOME, Inc. we advocate for housing. That means we advocate for tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities, affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, education, and primarily for people who do not have a voice.
Our staff advocates on behalf of our clients every day. It seems as it is just something that we do, and that is the job. Recently, one of our employees dedicated themselves to help a client better his lifestyle and standard of living.
The power of advocacy was so impressive in this situation. One of our Lanlord/Tenant counselors advocated for a client who was mentally disabled and needed additional support. He lived with his brother who was able to help take care of him majority of the time, but sometimes the client would be worried or nervous about something minimal and call the landlord when it was not essential. The calls continued to occur more and more frequently to the point where the landlord was thinking about an eviction. Neither parties wanted this event to occur, so that is when HOME, Inc. stepped in.
Everyone knew that the current housing situation was not beneficial or healthy for anyone. A new solution had to be concocted where the brother can still be in the client’s life, the client can have a primary care taker and a home where he feels safe, and the landlord could prevent an eviction and also spend less time on the phone. Our counselor then worked on a team with the case manager, DHS, the brother, and a group home. The counselor spend many days advocating for the client and their well-being by also making sure everyone else in the situation was feeling confident and happy about the process.
To solve the problem, the client will move to a group home and his brother will work to reestablish guardianship. This helps the brothers maintain their relationship, the client have a dependent location with minimal changes to be worried about, and the landlord will be put at ease with less phone calls.
A lot of times our landlord/tenant counselors advocate for our clients by giving them self-confidence and the information they need to solve the problem on their own. In this situation, our counselor talked to many other community members and organizations to speak on behalf of the rights and responsibilities of our client, advocating for his well-being to find resolution.