Last month, Geoff Morgan sat down with FCH's Permanent Supportive Housing Manager, Harjeet Reehal to talk about successes and challenges in Harjeet's first year on the job. We recorded the interview and you can view it here.
Harjeet also graciously answered additional questions that help us to understand our residents' needs and the needs of the greater community of our unhoused neighbors. Here are some of the takeaways from Harjeet's personal story and interactions with residents.
How did you first get drawn to your work?
After graduating high school and stepping into my first year of community college at Evergreen Valley College, I experienced a horrific and devastating tragedy of losing my father. This was very unexpected, and my entire life flipped around in a single day. There on after, my family and I had to face many obstacles and hardships and realized how quickly somebody’s entire life can change so rapidly. My views, values, and perception of things had changed, and I also felt lost for quite some time. I had then realized and decided that my future career path would be in a field where I would be able to assist people that were vulnerable and needed help overcoming crises and difficult life changing situations.
Tell me about the residents that you work with.
The population that I am serving are all Permanent Supportive Housing clients. These folks are the most vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals in Santa Clara County based on the VI-SPDAT survey. All of them have experienced major obstacles in their lives and need appropriate supportive services to live independently and work towards complete self-sufficiency and improve their overall well-being.
What stories have you heard about how they became homeless; how long they were homeless before being housed at an FCH property?
The majority of PSH clients have been chronically homeless for many years before finding a permanent housing opportunity. There are numerous factors on how individuals become homeless; including, break up of families, unemployment, being a foster child/youth, mental health struggles, substance abuse obstacles, lack of resources, eviction, and not knowing how to find help!
Do you find your work rewarding or challenging?
Every day is rewarding. Looking to have a positive impact on somebody’s life and providing guidance to go in the right direction and being a part of their success is what makes me love what I do. It is also extremely rewarding to be doing work for an amazing organization like First Community Housing. First Community Housing is the best Non-Profit Organization I have been a part of my entire career. FCH truly follows their mission, values, and vision for the communities we serve! It is always rewarding when somebody can proudly say that, “I love my job!”