People of Housing Security:
HealthNet’s street outreach worker finds joy in helping people navigate medical challenges.
When out in the community helping those experiencing homelessness, Hannah Gorman feels extremely lucky to offer her clients an additional service – healthcare.
Hannah serves as a street outreach case manager with the Bloomington street medicine team for HealthNet’s Homeless Initiative Program. This is the first known street medicine team in Indiana. She works with a psychiatric nurse practitioner to meet clients and provide medical assistance. During these sessions, Hannah learns more about people’s past medical history and medications.
Being able to support people during medical challenges is one of Hannah’s most rewarding parts of her job. Oftentimes, their clients have follow up appointments but lack transportation. Hannah has helped transport clients to their appointments.
Hannah is originally from the east side of Indianapolis. She attended Warren Central High School. She grew up in a low-income area. Hannah has fond memories of doing community service with her family. She told us that she finds joy in helping people. In addition to community service, Hannah was a gymnast for 10 years. Due to being an only child, she found solidarity and siblingship with her teammates.
Hannah pursued a bachelor’s degree in education at Indiana University. During Hannah’s junior year of college, she began experiencing some mental health troubles, and wanted to make a difference in the community. Beacon’s Shalom Center was near her home, so she decided to spend her time volunteering there. After volunteering at the Shalom Center for more than a year, she began working there as an outreach worker full time after graduating in 2021.
After about a year working full time at Beacon, Hannah took a few months off. Then, she started working in her current position at Indy HealthNet in December 2022. While Hannah works with a nurse practitioner and offers a lot of medical services, she also has the opportunity to provide Housing First case management, with the goal of moving clients into housing as soon as possible.
While Hannah loves her job and the opportunity to work in this field, her goal is that one day her help is no longer needed.
“I dream that one day I will not have this job,” Hannah said.
A world without housing insecurity is something that people in this field strive for in their jobs, even if that means that one day their position will no longer exist.
“I dream that one day I will not have this job.”
When Hannah is not working, she loves to spend time outside doing things like biking and hiking. Along with this, she also loves seeing what Bloomington has to offer with live music and local restaurants.
In her work life and personal life, Hannah finds value and importance in being lighthearted and making others laugh. She feels that sometimes laughter can even help those when they are going through a moment of crisis.
When her work gets hard, Hannah likes to reflect on a certain moment she witnessed when working at the Shalom Center. During the winter, Hannah was helping to pass out tents on a cold evening at the Shalom Center. However, they ran out of tents. One person did not receive one and was visibly upset. Seeing this, someone experiencing homelessness that had received a tent gave theirs to that person, despite not having anything else themselves. Thinking back on this moment reminds Hannah that she gets to work for people who are so hardworking, resilient, and kind.
Hannah finds that there are often many misconceptions about what she does and the medical system. She wishes people understood the current healthcare system, as well as people’s former experiences with medical professionals and environments. Even those who are housed often have trouble navigating the healthcare system, let alone people experiencing homelessness. Hannah said that some people feel apprehensive and scared about going to the doctor because they were poorly treated there in the past. This can cause a lot of fear surrounding the idea of seeking medical health.
Looking to the future, Hannah hopes that one day she will be able to get more involved in the legal side of housing security and have the opportunity to advocate for people experiencing homelessness in court.
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.