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Community partners work together to help get client housed

Gerald and Shawnte

It really does take a village.

Take the case of Gerald, a Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center client, for example.

Multiple local agencies were involved in working with Gerald to help to get him housed along with arranging in-home services.

“It’s been a collaborative effort,” said Shawnte Boggs, the Bert Nash Center case manager who, when she was a member of the Supportive Housing team, worked with Gerald. “There were so many pieces that made it work. It’s been a long, winding road, but he is permanently housed.”

As Gerald’s case manager, Shawnte brought together the different agencies that had a role in helping to get Gerald housed along with providing the supports he needed as someone who is disabled. The agencies included Independence Inc., Heartland Community Health Center, Heartland RADAC, and United Healthcare.

“The case manager does a lot of the leg work putting the pieces together,” Shawnte said. “Then, bring it on home.”

“And she did,” Gerald said.

Gerald had been unhoused for three years. He lived in a camp near Burcham Park along with other people who were unhoused.

“It was pretty rough,” Gerald said.

Gerald also spent some time living at the Lawrence Community Shelter. He has been housed since December. Bert Nash Center Supportive Housing program managers Justin Gudenkauf and Eddie Velez played a key role in obtaining a housing grant that allowed Gerald to receive transitional housing.

When Shawnte and Gerald started working together, she told him, “If you show up for me, I will show up for you.”

He did, and she did.

“To have clients like Gerald, who do the work, makes it that much easier,” Shawnte said. “It’s such a happy ending and I’m so thankful to be part of it”

Gerald can’t say enough good things about Shawnte and how much she helped him.

“I can’t brag on her enough,” he said. “She rolled up her sleeves and dug right in. She transformed my life.”


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