Perhaps no one knows the difference a few years can make better than Kenneth Harvin, one of Housing Works’ care navigators in the Bronx. Three years ago, Kenneth was living in Summerton, SC, a rural town with a population just over one-thousand people, and famous for being the birthplace of Briggs v. Elliot—one of the class action suits that led to Brown v. The Board of Education. Unemployed and in need of health care services, Kenneth found Housing Works online and made a simple phone call, which he says changed his life forever.
HW: Tell us about your life before you came to Housing Works—what year was it, and why did Housing Works appeal to you?
KH: It was 2009, and I had been living in South Carolina, where supportive services were scarce and communities were plagued by poverty and health disparities. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to find the services I needed nearby so I conducted an internet search and found about Housing Works and the Bronx Health Home offices. I was immediately interested because of the holistic care that Housing Works offered: job training, medical care, and housing assistance.
HW: How did you transition from being a Housing Works client to become a Care Navigator?
KH: When I first came to Housing Works I entered Housing Works’ Second Life Job Training program, which provided me with the skills and training to become a case manager. Shortly thereafter I received a promotion to care navigator, which complimented my experience and passion for social and economic justice and working on poverty, homelessness, and illness issues.
HW: What do you think makes Housing Works different from other social justice and service organizations?
KH: Housing Works’ uniqueness lies in its support and development of its constituents’ economic and political power. For example, through the Job Training Program, the Thrift Stores, and comprehensive health clinics, Housing Works empowers clients to become advocates and activists on their own behalf, and helps us contribute to the organization’s goals of eliminating homelessness and AIDS.
HW: Why do you think it’s important for people to know about Housing Works and the work that we do?
KH: People should be aware that there are supportive organizations like Housing Works that provide supportive care services like housing, employment, and medical care in a comprehensive and respectful environment.
HW: How have you seen people’s lives change after they have become part of the healing community here at Housing Works?
KH: I can tell you from personal experience that after joining the Housing Works community, my viral load is now undetectable because of my heath education and treatment, and my personal economic status has changed from an unemployed African-American male to a professional with healthy social relationships. And many of the clients I have served as a Care Navigator have since become proactive in their healthcare and empowered to address the social detriments of housing, poverty and access to care that affects their families, friends and communities where they live.
HW: I understand that you are riding in Braking the Cycle™ for the first time this year, congratulations!
KH: I am! I will riding the 285 miles from Boston to New York to help raise funds to help support Housing Works’ efforts. It’s a three-day and three-night ride, and I hope to raise $14,000 to help Housing Works and the amazing clients that I serve.
Please take a moment to support a great cause and donate online to Kenneth, rider #72, at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/kennethharvin/brakingthecycle.
To learn more about BRAKING THE CYCLE™ and to register, visit www.brakingthecycle.org or call Global Impact Productions at 212-989-1111.blog comments powered by Disqus