Through our Coordinated Entry & Outreach pillar, we work to prioritize building equitable housing resources for the Sacramento Community. One approach we are taking to achieve this is by providing support to our vulnerable populations with Outreach Navigators. We sat down with Dennis Smiley, one of the newest team members on our team, to learn about his experience and role.
What will you be doing at SSF?
I will be providing outreach by visiting occupied encampments and direct service connections to TAY (Transitional Aged Youth) experiencing homelessness in Sacramento County. I also plan to build rapports with local partnering agencies, and gather as many resources as possible.
What motivated you to join SSF?
While working my previous job, we partnered with SSF to house/shelter TAY and collect the proper data in HMIS. I believe it was the structure and dedicated staff at SSF that were making things happen for me! Plus the idea of knowing that I will actually be going out in the field and visiting campsites really caught my interest. I couldn’t think of a better position that fits my drive and ambition.
What do you wish people knew about homelessness?
I wish folks knew that it could happen to any of us, and to understand that with any living source, “SHIFT Happens”! It doesn’t matter if you were “on top of the world” or “the bottom of the barrel”, it could happen to you. My lived experiences were my greatest teachers. I personally know that with just a bit of support, self-sufficiency and independence can go a long way.
What are you excited to do in your new role?
I’m excited to create lifelong connections in the community I reside in. I’m knowledgeable in navigating resources as I have lived here in Sacramento, CA. for 37 years, and worked as a community service worker for the past 15 years. Helping others gives me a sense of purpose, it’s rewarding to my heart. Having worked in the community I’ve developed unmatched experience, a variety of skills, and gathered resources that are beneficial when providing assistance. I intend to bring an open, non-judgmental approach that allows me to build rapport quickly and effectively. I am an advocate of people, and I am excited to go out in the world to do my part to end homelessness in the TAY community.
We look forward to seeing Dennis create community connections and advocate for homeless Sacramento youth. If you’d like to learn more about how we’re helping to increase access to services, please visit our Coordinated Entry webpage.