I have been with Father Joe’s Village Health Center for just over four years as a certified substance use disorder counselor and supervisor of our Street Health Outreach Team. We go out to the field and meet people where they are, providing medical support and harm reduction tools — whether it be on the streets, encampments or hotels — pretty much anywhere someone experiencing homelessness may be.
I am grateful to make a difference in people’s lives, people who are on the same journey I was once on. People who may be living with substance use disorder and are losing hope, who just need someone to see them as people and willing to listen and help. I know firsthand the feelings of stigma, guilt and shame that goes hand-in-hand with being an active substance user.