College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Department of Social Work

A Grand Challenge: Ending Homelessness

Brian Wainwright, MFT who facilitated the event on behalf of VTC. Brian’s expertise in narrative therapy, and facilitating discourse within the narrative approach, was evident as the veterans shared their testimonies and students had the opportunity to listen and honor experience.

One of the major goals set forth by our profession, within our Grand Challenges, is ending homelessness. To better understand the circumstances of homeless individuals, particularly veterans, students had the opportunity to hear five veterans give their testimony about their lives, including the experience of homelessness.

Partnering with the Veterans Transition Center (VTC) in Marina, a panel of veterans spoke with pride about service to our country and shared the difficulties that led to homelessness. A theme throughout the presentations was human dignity as veterans shared their life stories, often discussing of their daily challenges related to mental health and substance abuse. First year MSW students, currently enrolled in the SW 510: Foundations of Social Work posed questions and heard diverse perspectives to include suggestions for how to be effective as a social worker with active listening as we hear the story of our clients.

One of the take-home messages was the importance of outreach initiatives to those experiencing homelessness in order to realize program goals and ensure service linkages. This particular event coincided with Veterans Day. As a department, we are so very appreciative of our partners at VTC for hosting the event!