The Diocese of Des Moines
Worth a change of plan
August 19, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke & Sherry Kepner

One of the services provided at St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter is case management to help guests work toward returning to self-sufficiency. Our very compassionate and knowledgeable Community & Family Support Advocate, Sherry, works with each family to create goals and a plan that will enable them to move forward-- that may involve finding affordable housing, gaining employment, taking care of medical needs, enrolling in school... the list truly goes on and on.


Here, Sherry shares a bit about her day-to-day work at the shelter.


When I arrive each day, I come with a plan, or at least an idea of what I want to accomplish that day.  Due to the nature of this work, that plan is subject to change at a moments notice, depending on the needs of those that I serve.  It may be a school issue, a transportation problem, no child care, an unexpected appointment, a need for housing resources, an address, a phone number, advice on where to start on a case plan, or just needing to talk to someone. 

No two days are the same, but to feel the stress lessen for a family day by day as they begin to trust and find hope, is always worth a change of plan.



As you can imagine, providing an advocate to the families we serve is an essential piece to shelter care. Of course, all of the shelter staff, supporters and everyone reading this can be an advocate.  By using knowledge of how programs like St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter actually work, we can all call attention to ineffective policies and systems that create barriers, and work to improve them.


During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter. Save to


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