People of Housing Security:
Shelter director passionate about advocating for policies that strengthen housing security.
Chase Techentin is a husband and dad to two young boys. He finds joy in spending time with his family. He has recently been enjoying learning about the history of the British Navy in the 1800s. In this season of his life, Chase has been trying to consume less and give more. This desire to give back was birthed from his experiences during undergrad and continues at his work with New Hope for Families.
Chase went to undergrad at a small private college in Tennessee. During his time there he pursued a music degree as a trumpet player. He also met his wife Natalie.
While he was pursuing his degree, he was exposed to surrounding poverty. He noted that there were many churches in this small town but there wasn’t a homeless shelter in the area. He felt frustrated that there was a mass amount of poverty yet little to no services to alleviate those who were impoverished. He began to complain about church members who weren’t actively working to address the crisis that poverty caused their community. He soon realized he was one of those people who were simply complaining, but wasn’t doing anything to address the problem.
Chase felt challenged to do something.
After undergrad, he began to work in social services. His first job after undergrad was to live in a homeless shelter and do poverty relief work.
After that he lived at a Rescue Mission in Louisville. He and his wife eventually moved to Bloomington in pursuit of their masters degrees. When they first arrived Chase worked at Menards and Bloomingfoods. Still feeling impassioned to make a difference in his local community, he began volunteering at Beacon’s Shalom Center. After about a year, he applied for a job and became a street outreach case worker. He loved getting to make a direct impact on the lives of people. While being a street outreach worker, he yearned to make systematic differences within the world of housing security.
Chase received a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2019. He pursued this degree because he “wanted to do things in a bigger way.” Within the same year, he applied for the Shelter Director position at New Hope for Families. He still serves as the shelter director to this day.
“We have to respond, and I get to be a part of that response”
Within his current role he helps families experiencing a housing crisis get back into a stable lease. Since he works for a crisis response agency, his day-to-day tasks are always changing. He noted that “each day can be unpredictable when you work at a place that responds to crisis.”
Crisis response can be difficult for a number of reasons. Chase mentioned it can be really discouraging when he sees systemic issues impacting shelter residents. However, he sees every challenge as an opportunity to create systemic change. He told us he feels lucky to be in his role. “We have to respond and I can be a part of that response,’’ he exclaimed.
When he isn’t working directly with their shelter residents, Chase is writing grants and doing other administrative work. He also oversees human resources.
Chase is passionate about advocating for policy that makes homelessness rare, brief and non-repeating. He serves as Chair for the South Central Housing Network’s Advocacy Committee. He is also a member of a Cross-Agency Training Committee that is tasked with organizing training sessions for agencies working to strengthen housing security.
When asked about his hobbies, Chase replied: “For a lot of people that do this work, this is our hobby and interest.”
Outside of work, Chase informed us that he likes staying busy. He is a big fan of Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons. He and his wife are currently trying to garden. He hopes to become more aware of his ecological footprint and wants to contribute to society in a sustainable way.
He feels lucky to be a part of the lives of individuals while still being able to make a change upstream.
About the People of Housing Security: This series highlights the work of those committed to improving the lives of residents in South Central Indiana. Find all the articles in this series here.