The first time I visited Southpoint Place, I was a case manager at a family homeless shelter helping my client pick up her keys to move into her new apartment with her children. Southpoint is a permanent supportive housing complex developed for parents and single adults receiving services for mental health and/or substance abuse. My client had worked hard on her application to Southpoint, and it was rewarding to see her transition there. Permanent supportive housing provides services such as on-site counseling, life skills training, and vocational services to help residents who are often facing complex challenges. As the community at Southpoint has developed, service providers have been able to identify different needs to be addressed. My task this summer is to develop and pilot summer programming for middle and high school aged kids living at the complex with their parents. I’ll also be working with the K-6 kids, and thinking through different ways to use the community center for the teens.  I’ll be doing this with the guidance of my excellent host site, Concord Counseling Services, the behavioral health agency that provides the on-site supportive services for Southpoint.

A little more about me: My name is Emily Hanlon, and I am a graduate student at the Ohio State College of Social Work, where I’m focusing on family therapy. Before graduate school I worked in the family homeless system in Columbus, and then for a couple years doing mediation and conflict resolution in Franklin County’s eviction court. My time in these positions influenced my inclination to see things from a family systems perspective. I think any program or intervention for youth has to take into consideration the influence and strengths of their family.

This week I have been getting to know the staff at Concord Counseling, as well as the staff and families down at Southpoint. I’m very excited to see where the summer takes me, and to follow journeys of the rest of my cohort!

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