When speaking to the residents at our Esplanade House, they often boast about the care and dedication of our staff. We have councilors, administrators, program specialists, and case workers all on the same site as our Esplanade House living facilities. Part of the reason our staff takes their job so seriously is that many of them have a personal connection to the work they do.
When hiring, we look for people who will treat our program participants and their families with dignity and respect and carry a sense of hope. They are all on board with our mission and program and dedicated to doing their best to support the residents and their children to be successful.
One of the benefits of our program structure is having resources readily and locally available to our residents.
“We literally can walk across the parking lot to an office full of people who are open-armed, willing to help us, and have thousands upon thousands of resources and knowledge to give us. It's a great program,” says our current resident, Amanda.
Our Esplanade House is uniquely designed for our residents to heal, learn, grow, and successfully transition to independent living. Here they gain knowledge and build new habits so when they no longer have our program to rely on, they can still be resilient in the face of challenges.
We value the families as a whole and support both the children and parents. Relationship is a large component of our staff’s work and our counselors make a big impression on the residents.
“Well, I've loved all the counselors here. I have had great counselors here. That's like my main favorite part here,” says Amanda.
Our program places special emphasis on helping the children recover from the trauma of their family’s homelessness. We provide the support they need to succeed in school, address developmental progress, and gain social and emotional competencies necessary for their future.
The healthy independence of our residential families and a transition to the world outside of our Esplanade House is our goal. We provide resources, education, and counseling to make sure everyone has what they need to achieve that success. However, without components of accountability and structure, our program would be pointless.
While we can do our part of the program, our residents also need to choose to participate. Breaking the cycle of poverty and addiction is hard and takes a lot of personal commitment and courage. Sometimes when we walk away from old habits and behaviors, it can feel like a sacrifice and like we’re losing control. However, when we get to the other side of change, we see that’s where true freedom lies.
“I know that you have to stay on track here. I don't think they let anything slip through the cracks. We have to test, we have to follow a certain standard, we have to check in, we are held accountable for ourselves. Like it’s not just, ’Here's everything we're doing for you,’ up to a certain extent, we have to hold up our end of the bargain here. And I think that's what it takes, I think other programs should have the same kind of thing and really, I think it's necessary. You’re wanting your family back. You're wanting your kids back. I think it's necessary,” said Amanda, who is in Phase II of our program.
A Different Perspective
We’ve told you a little about the great staff we have at or Esplanade House, but you should hear what they have to say about why they work here, what’s important to them, and how they have been impacted by our program.
Our Program Specialist, Diana, learned about our Esplanade House while actually applying for a position in one of our other programs.
“I came over here and interviewed with the HR and the program manager at the time, who was Tom Dearmore. He totally made me feel I needed to be here. I fell in love with the program. I left feeling like I want this job. I want to work here,” she said.
Our Senior Case Manager, Brooke, was a substance abuse counselor before she came to work for our Esplanade House. She has a family history of substance abuse and homelessness and felt called to do this work.
They have both learned lessons and made memories while working here. For example, every year, our Esplanade House has a Christmas Dinner that both the residents and the staff look forward to.
“I think it's where we’re given an opportunity, when they come to the Christmas dinner, they sit at tables that we line with tablecloths, and we decorate. We do a beautiful centerpiece and everything, like plates, silverware, cups, everything's lined out for them. So they just come in, sit down, enjoy. We bring them the food. We fill their water glasses. We cater to them as staff members to give back to them and let them know that they are important, that they are loved,” said Brooke.
Events like this highlight the service and community that is a core value of what we do here. It’s impossible to rebuild families without meaningful relationship- though it’s a delicate balance.
“I learned a lot of lessons. When I first started, I wanted to do everything for the residents. I wanted to help them. I wanted to be a part of it. And then just time after time, I was kind of getting smacked in the face, essentially. I learned that I needed to let them do it on their own. I needed to not enable them and continue the cycle of codependency by bringing them in… like, okay, let's do this together,” said Brooke.
Because of the nature of social work and recovery, we need our staff to be united under our mission.
“You have to have staff that is onboard with the mission and who wants to see families succeed and move forward. So that's a lot of it but I think Esplanade House is just so special and that it's not just housing that we offer, this as a program,” explains Diana. “As you could probably tell, I love working at Esplanade House. I really love my job. I love coming in everyday and seeing families and seeing progress. It's just incredibly rewarding to watch.”
The Need for Programs Like Ours
Our community needs programs like our Esplanade House. Even though we have been operating and growing for 30 years, many people don’t know about us. If they do, they may not fully understand everything the program does.
Chico and Oroville have the highest numbers of unhoused individuals in Butte County, just under 800 in total. Of the total unsheltered population in Butte County, 21% experience chronic homelessness and 12% struggle with substance abuse disorders. These statistics include families with children.
“Working at the Esplanade House has definitely made me more aware of the needs of homeless families, specifically, and it's made me feel like I am a protector and an advocate for our families here.
The Esplanade House gives people hope and motivation and a new outlook on their situation. We offer families the chance to reunify and the chance to work on themselves, to work on their families in a safe and supportive environment. That's how I really see the impact as it gives so many families here hope. And then for staff, or myself specifically, that gives me hope as well.
"Families can come in and reach their goals and they can get obtained permanent housing and get out of homelessness. So, hope is the main impact that I see,” said Diana.
We’re celebrating 30 years of that hope for families struggling with homelessness and addiction. 30 years of giving children the best shot they can have at life and showing them the possibility of a better future. But we want to be able to do even more in our next 30 years!
In the words of our Senior Case Manager Brooke, “By giving, I can speak for the residents here, by giving them hope and motivation and a new outlook. Like I said, it’s a chance to reunify families, and again, help attempt to break that cycle of addiction or generational poverty, and give the kids something to look forward to.”
If you’d like to help us continue this work and celebrate what we’ve done so far, please consider donating using the link below or share this story with a friend.