People of Housing Security:
Beacon’s Rapid Rehousing director urges the community to “donate with dignity”
Diana Ogrodowski is the program director of Rapid Rehousing at Beacon, based in Bloomington, Indiana. Beacon’s Rapid Rehousing program works to help people experiencing homelessness move into homes as quickly as possible. This includes providing a combination of short-term financial assistance for items such as rent, utilities, application fees, moving expenses, and security deposits.
Diana has been in this position since April of 2022, but also has a history of working in other housing security roles. While earning their bachelor of social work degree, Diana interned with Crawford Homes, Beacon’s permanent supportive housing program.
Additionally, they served as the shelter monitor of the COVID Isolation Shelter, operated by Beacon. So when there was an open full-time position with Beacon, Diana applied.
While every day brings a range of clients with different needs, typical daily tasks for Diana include coordinating with landlords, meeting with clients, and finding the necessary resources for these clients. Diana often serves as a connecting point for people who don’t know exactly what services they need. With this position comes the responsibility of providing appropriate referrals and helping community members navigate services.
When asked what they wished people knew about housing insecurity, Diana noted that it’s important for everyone to understand that homelessness could happen to anyone. “A lot of people are two paychecks away from being homeless, so you never know if you could end up in the same position,” they said. “Once an individual is homeless, there are a lot of barriers that make it difficult to get back into housing.”
Diana believes that “housing is a human right – you shouldn’t need to earn it.” We often don’t know a person’s background, where they came from, and what they’ve been through, but regardless of these things, everyone deserves housing, Diana notes.
As someone who also works closely with clients of Beacon’s Shalom Center, Diana faces many challenges that come with the job. When we asked what motivates Diana on difficult days, they were quick to emphasize the importance of staying optimistic. Even though bad days are bound to happen, Diana believes it’s important to focus on the good days and celebrate the wins.
“A lot of people are two paychecks away from being homeless, so you never know if you could end up in the same position.” – Diana Ogrodowski
Diana said that remembering people’s success stories reminds them that change is happening and good is coming from what they’re doing. Diana also enjoys knowing that, through their job, they are making someone feel heard and cared about, ultimately adding to the few connections that some people have in this world.
Diana reminded us not to underestimate the power of volunteering. For those that seek to get more involved in supporting the homeless response system, it doesn’t take much. “When donating to Beacon and other agencies near you, donate with dignity,” Diana said. “Remember that you are donating to another human that is just as deserving of nice goods as you are. Be sure to treat homeless neighbors with respect, and don’t make them feel invisible, for they are just as human as the rest of us.”
About the People of Housing Security: This weekly 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.