Hello everyone. How is your 2016 shaping up? Well mine has been eventful and is looking like a busy year. With this new position I have referred to my experience theses first few months learning how to do this job to be like “drinking from a fire hose.” But it is all good and I am loving it. So let me take a moment to use this first blog post to introduce myself a little bit as well as introduce why I am here and what you can expect in the future from the Training and Technical Assistance Program and these posts.
My name is Wally Czech. Before this I was the Housing First Specialist with the City of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Alberta. While there I worked with and helped to develop multiple Housing First programs as well as the community Housing First System of Care. I also provided the clinical and operational support and monitoring for all Housing First funded programs. So some would say that and other experience and involvement has made me a “Housing First Expert.” I have been flattered by that label but honestly feel a bit under qualified. But I have learned at the feet multiple other experts including Iain De Jong, who literally provided me my first real taste of quality HF as he consulted with our community. I also include in my list of mentors, Dr Sam Tsemberis, Steven Gaetz, Tim Richter, Diane Randell, Susan McGee, Roxanna Nielson Stuart, and others. That’s easier than trying to name everyone.
Whether I am an expert or not is likely still up for debate but here is what I can tell you without question. I love the HF philosophy and have grown to know, understand, and believe in its effectiveness. I have always seen it as an adaptable methodology, not meant to be “cookie cutter” as I have said before. But the ingredients of the cookie dough are what is important to keep consistent and intact. So in my mind the recipe would be the core HF principles. Once they are adopted you can use whatever shape of cookie cutter and decorate it however you want that best suits your community and the people you are serving. I love to talk about, teach and train about, and watch those principles be embraced and then put into practice.
This to me is in large part the purpose of the TTA Program as well as this blog. My goal and purpose as the Director of Training is to ensure that our customers, the various communities across the country, are provided a firm understanding of those principles and how to incorporate them into their community context and then support them to be as true to those principles as possible. In addition, I want to provide communities and HF programs with access to the best possible training in best practices that are and can be associated with HF and ending homelessness. In this blog I will talk about these practices. I will highlight new ideas and training opportunities, and I will discuss why some things are found to be helpful and some are not. I will attempt to expand your thinking about how to use new strategies and the value of being evolutionary and visionary in your HF practice. I will also touch on things we are learning as we travel across the country providing training, including common issues and concerns and struggles that providers are having. And of course I will talk about common successes and the reasons for that and much much more.
So I hope you will tune in regularly to hear my thoughts and information I have to share. I am happy to take requests as well. You can keep track of this blog by linking to this site directly or by following me on twitter through my personal account @Wally_Czech as well as the brand new TTA account @CAEH_TTA which is currently needing followers. You can email me at email@example.com or call me at (403) 894-5565. I look forward to future communication whether it be in text, over the phone, or personally in your community delivering training and support.
Take care and “keep on keepin’ on.”