Green Doors Blog > A day in the life of… Green Doors Senior Housing Specialist Andrea Garcia

A day in the life of… Green Doors Senior Housing Specialist Andrea Garcia

Andrea GarciaIt’s not uncommon for someone to ask me about my role as a Senior Housing Specialist for Green Doors.

Although my days are typically consumed with phone calls and paperwork, I often tell others that my main role is to “make people cry.” It’s true, even with the toughest, hard-nosed individual. Every time I hand a resident their housing voucher, as if on cue, here come the waterworks. What can I say? Happiness comes in many forms … smiles, laughs, hugs and yes, even tears.

The truth is, most people only know about 20% of what I do every day. With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you what some of my day-to-day responsibilities are in working with our residents so that they can reach the ultimate goals of housing stability and financial independence.

First and foremost, I want everyone reading this to understand something I keep in mind on a daily basis as I perform my job functions. The individuals we work with, whether homeless or not, are just people like you and me who encountered some very unfortunate circumstances. What most people don’t realize is that even the common every day Joe or Jane is just one missed paycheck away from homelessness. Truly, the difference between you and the formerly homeless individuals we serve is simply circumstance.

As a Senior Housing Specialist, my day-to-day functions can vary depending on the needs of the residents I serve. Among my main responsibilities is conducting monthly home visits with our residents to review monthly personal goals that help them reach a place of independence. Although some of these functions can be somewhat impersonal and matter-of-fact, I make it a point to remember personal details about each individual I serve. Most of them will inevitable surprise you over time. Even the most reserved and closed off resident will one day open up and tell you what’s on their mind. How was your daughter’s high school graduation? Did your mom visit you last month, as planned? Were you able to register for that class at Austin Community College? It’s all the little details that mean the world to our residents. It makes them feel valued and gives them a personal, trusting connection to me. In short, I make sure to check in with the person first before moving on to official business.

During these visits, our residents often bring up issues they have to see if I can help them in any way. So naturally, a big part of my job is researching low cost or free resources through partner agencies, the city or the state to see if I can help meet their needs. Whether it’s a bus pass or a health screening, I’ve become fairly adept at finding services at little to no cost to our residents.

Of course, the best part of my job is seeing those tears of joy. I call these tearful looks the “faces of hope” because that voucher means more to them than many of us will ever realize. It means having the resources to pursue their dreams of going back to school or seeing their children go to a real home after school instead of a motel or shelter. It means the potential to do more. This is easily the best part of my job. It’s the reason I keep coming back for more every day.

And while occasionally I have to deal with the disappointment of seeing a resident not meet their goals and regress, it’s a part of the job I readily accept because I know those happy, tearful encounters far outweigh the times when things get tough. Perhaps the one critically important trait that’s most needed in my position is the ability to see the potential in others. That’s what I do. Where others see the tired eyes of a troubled individual, I see the potential in them to do more and move beyond a life of homelessness and despair.

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Andrea Garcia

Andrea Garcia joined Green Doors as Property Manager in February 2009. Andrea comes with several years experience in the real estate industry and has worked extensively in property management, as well as a community liaison aiding in the relocation of families in the process of achieving self-sufficiency. Andrea also has conducted research studies in education, social and personality psychology, marketing and consumer behavior at national and international levels for various public and private sector entities, including the University of Texas at Austin, Coca Cola, Anheuser Busch, Lottery of Texas, and ConAgra Foods. Her endeavors are well aligned with her vision of social awareness and the need to positively impact our world. She firmly believes that the world can indeed be a better place if we all did our part, a little bit at a time. Andrea is a native of Colombia and holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

One Comment

  1. Maria Elena
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Te felicito, estoy muy orgullosa de ti.

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