Urban Pathways/Amtrak Outreach was one of the best jobs I have had. A typical day in Penn station consisted of Homeless outreach in the morning. Afterward I would search for shelters and Detox/Rehab for potential clients. I would also counsel clients and potential clients and let them know their options to help keep them off of the streets or falling back into bad habits.
One of the major lessons I've learned working with the homeless and mentally ill was everyone has a story. We, as a society, have a habit of judging the homeless and assuming they are in the predicament they are in because of bad choices and laziness. This has been proven not to be true. I have met former bankers, accountants, teachers, and army vets. Many with degrees. They have taught me that it is very possible for any one of us to become homeless and addicts. It doesn't take much.
The management at Urban Pathways were fair and supportive. If I needed guidance or help on a project, management was right there to help with encouraging words. This is the same for my coworkers. WE all supported one another and push one another to be the best case worker, case manager, and even supervisor.
The hardest part of my job was keeping the clients focused on the end result. The goal. Many have been homeless for so long that they did not have faith in the system or any other human beings to help them. They did not see the light at the end of the tunnel and assumed that being homeless was the last stop.
The most enjoyable part was proving my clients wrong. Showing them that it was very possible to rejoin society. I took great pleasure in finding placements for them or helping them through rehab. Seeing the clients happy and adjusted was the most awarding aspect of being a Case Aide.