Meet Pat Williams, Director of Housing Operations at Helping Hand House
Q: How long have you been at Helping Hand House?
A: I’m going into my 19th year.
Q: What is your primary focus at Helping Hand House?
A: Helping families overcome homeless and become permanently housed. Many kids haven’t had stability in their lives and being homeless will have adverse effects and kids moving to a stable atmosphere can better overcome these. Homelessness doesn’t happen overnight and families having some stability can more easily link up with resources. A long-time saying is “Delivery of support services without housing is almost ineffective” and that is so true.
Q: What inspires you to do the type of work you do?
A: I initially entered into this profession because of my Christian faith. My parents were successful and I had a great life growing up. I was in a profession that allowed my family financial stability and I had a great family life. But I wanted to do something for people other than myself so taking a large pay-cut and taking a job at Helping Hand House allowed me to do that.
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve seen with the homeless population over the years you’ve been with Helping Hand House?
A: Lots has changed, but the one thing that has not changed is that almost all media coverage continues to be about singles experiencing homelessness. I wish that would change. During my 1st 10 years at HHH, the Homeless Response System was mainly about emergency shelter and transitional housing. That system didn’t allow us to serve as many people as we do now. Even though I miss a lot of the life skills classes and other programs, we serve so many more people with the system we have today that I’m happy we’ve been able to make that change.
Q: If there was one thing you would want people to know by reading this, what would it be?
A: Although you may not be able to see them, there is still a huge population of homeless children. Intervention services, like the housing that Helping Hand House provides, have long-term benefits in their lives.