It’s been too many weeks since I published something on this blog and I miss it. My life has been caught up in work, side projects, planning for the future, and a new kitty. (See above.) Plus I’ve been feeling a tad uninspired, and I’ve been spending more time reading other peoples’ work than writing my own, which is an okay space to fall in sometimes. But since a lot of what I do is relevant to cities, here’s a brief overview of my life right now.
I am extremely fortunate to be working in a field that is basically exactly what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time—helping to end homelessness. I get some direct service interaction with clients, which I truly value, but I also get to do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, which is where I really thrive. I am helping to run a rapid rehousing program (read all about that type of homelessness intervention here, in one of my first ever posts on the blog) in Milwaukee, WI. That means that every day, I help homeless families find apartments, and connect them with funding from the federal and local governments to help them afford to live in those apartments. The goal is that by the end of 12 months in the program, with the help of our case managers, they will have increased their income enough to afford the apartment on their own. Thus far, we have put more than 40 families in housing, just in the span of 3 months. So naturally, that’s been keeping me pretty busy, especially since the program started from scratch on January 1 of this year. It’s been incredible to see the transformations that a family experiences when they go from living in a homeless shelter to living in their own home. The stability that a home brings is an essential foundation for helping parents to create a better life for their children, not to mention addressing mental health issues, financial struggles and more. In the short span of time that I’ve been working with this program, I’ve had many reflections and new ideas about how to combat homelessness in the future. One of the realizations that has definitely risen to the top is the need for more affordable housing, which I wrote about in a Strong Towns post on Wednesday. More on this topic soon.
I am now posting once a month on Strong Towns, as well as putting together some new columns for Urban Milwaukee. I love these opportunities to write in other places and reach new audiences, especially because of the communities that exist there. I truly believe in Strong Towns and its mission to improve this nation, so I’m glad I get to be a part of that body of knowledge. However, all this writing does mean less time to spend on this blog, so that’s an unfortunate side effect. I’m trying to get my schedule more aligned with my writing needs.
The Jay-Z tune, “On to the Next One,” is sometimes my theme song, and now is one of those times. I’m currently deciding whether to apply to graduate school for urban planning and if so, where. I’m also balancing my partner’s newest venture, along with our decision to stay in Milwaukee a little longer than we had originally planned. It all means figuring out how to make this life work and figuring out how to be a part of this city in a way that makes sense for us.
Finally, I have achieved one of my biggest goals for 2015! I know it sounds silly but getting a cat is something I’ve wanted to do for ages and it was finally the right time to make that happen. A few weeks ago, we drove over to the Humane Society (in my mom’s car) and met Theo. Although he wasn’t getting a lot of love from the other visitors who passed through, nor was he particularly outgoing according to the label on his door, as soon as we got to know him, we knew he was perfect. He has made himself right at home here and we love him lots. Although his presence makes our space feel a little smaller, it also makes our apartment that much more joyous. Usually I come home to an empty apartment because my boyfriend and I work very different hours, but now I come home to Theo. Life is good. Back to your regularly scheduled programming soon.