Spotlight on Holly Rotman-Zaid, our Outreach & Engagement Manager

Monday, December 31st, 2018
We are proud of Holly, who was featured in the "Success Corner" of the Built for Zero Committee Newsletter from the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County. 
Holly also shared the following client success story:
A client in Northlake was living in parks and an abandoned retail space, though the owner of the building often called the police on him because he did not want him squatting in his building. The client had been homeless since 2012 after serving a significant prison sentence, and has family members that are unwilling to assist him. This client presented with many challenges, including behavior and hygiene. The client was first identified by an agency staff person who frequently saw him in the community. The staff person notified the outreach team of his location so they could engage with him and connect him with the appropriate services.
Slowly over time, outreach staff established a relationship with the client, while also collaborating with Northlake police who cooperated strongly. Police officers contacted the client’s outreach worker whenever they encountered him, and worked with case managers to provide assistance to him. The outreach worker that was working with the client also contacted a community volunteer who agreed to help get the client to shelter every night, and even stored the client’s shopping cart and all of his belongings in his garage for him so that the client’s belongings would stay safe while he was at shelter.
Through this community collaboration and police support, the client began coming to shelter regularly, was accessible to case managers, came to support centers for showers, and was able to be fully assessed by an outreach worker. He was even able to receive a disability verification from a psychiatrist that agency staff had arranged to come to shelter.
CE team members worked proactively with the case manager to get the client on the By Name List. Once all of his documents were pulled together, they were uploaded into HMIS and within an hour, a referral was received. The client has now signed a lease and is scheduled to move into an apartment on December 17.
While this has not been a particularly easy process, the community collaboration and cooperation with the Northlake Police Department, the community volunteer, and agency staff has truly paid off and made a difference for our client.