People of Housing Security:
Beacon’s crisis caseworker is helping individuals transition into housing.
Minae Berryhill’s journey in the field of housing security began after she volunteered at Beacon during her sophomore year of college. In her junior year, Minae volunteered at Middle Way House, and was an intern at New Leaf New Life. Her senior year, Minae also worked at Jill’s House, an assisted care center, for about six months. Minae explained how all of these experiences are special to her in their own way and provided unique perspectives toward those impacted by housing insecurity. In 2021, Minae graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in social work, and later accepted a position with Beacon as a caseworker in September of 2022.
Minae works at Beacon’s day shelter, Shalom Center, where daily services are provided for those experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. At Shalom Center, Minae serves as the Crisis Caseworker. As the Crisis Caseworker, Minae works with clients who are already housed, helping them with any troubles they might have, like not being able to meet rent, pay for their utilities, or any other challenges that arise.
During her work as a Crisis Caseworker, Minae has learned to be flexible. There are some meetings with clients that take only 5 minutes, while others exceed their allotted time slot. During our time with Minae, we were reminded that handling crises is a complex problem and solutions often exceed appointment times. On average, she meets 10 to 12 clients every day! In addition to meeting with numerous people throughout the day, Minae also handles lots of emails and phone calls to help get information she needs to support her clients.
It can be hard sometimes to stay motivated in the midst of chaos and remind yourself why you’re doing this, but for Minae, it’s simple. There is no choice for her, because “not doing something can be detrimental to their life,” she said. The help Minae is able to provide can be the difference between someone living on or off the street.
“Have patience and be humble”
When we asked Minae what she would like to tell our community, she said to always “have patience and be humble,” and she strives to do just that in her position every day. She mentioned that it’s important to have patience because a lot of the individuals she works with are frustrated and can unintentionally redirect these frustrations toward others. It’s also important to stay humble and not think you are better or more capable than others, she said.
Minae explained how there is often a misconception that people become unhoused because they’re “lazy.” However, Minae reminds us that “many circumstances led individuals to where they are now,” so no one is in a place to judge or think more highly of themselves.
Outside of work, Minae has many other hobbies and ways she enjoys spending her free time. She is an avid Sims player and also has a deep love for baking, especially cakes. Minae comes from a very big family, the middle child of 10 siblings, and enjoys spending her time with loved ones.
In addition to her work as a Crisis Caseworker, Minae also works with the inter-agency group that Heading Home formed to end veteran homelessness. Learn more about veteran case conferencing here.
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.