Tim, Director of Homeless Outreach
started as an evening shift supervisor at BRC's Reception Center in 2002, and now works in Transit Homeless Outreach.
He's pictured (right) in blue with members of his Outreach team.
How has your role changed during your time at BRC?
The biggest change has obviously been being more removed from the client services aspect of what we do here. To be honest, I don’t really hold the view that anything has changed as my title has. We are here to give each individual, regardless of their situation, the respect that they are entitled to. There is no role here at BRC that does not have that as is its point of origin.
How have you seen BRC change during your time here?
When I came to BRC it still had a “grass roots” feel. I remember getting a call saying, “Muzzy is bringing someone in. He will be there soon. Hold some food for the person.” Muzzy showed up about 20 minutes later with someone he encountered on the street on his way home. I remember thinking, “This is the place. This is how it is supposed to be!” I had come from a much larger agency and I can promise you that in no way would anything like that have ever occurred. Over the years BRC has gotten much larger and expanded the services available, but still fights to keep the focus on the individuals we work with.
What keeps you motivated and engaged in your work with BRC?
Regardless of my role or title at BRC, but especially within outreach, I firmly believe that BRC helps give voice to a population of people who are often minimized by society. I tell the outreach staff that every time you approach an individual and take the time to have even a simple conversation you help give them back a bit of the humanity that many others can’t give. When BRC Outreach approaches someone who is displaced we offer them the chance to have a conversation that is not about failings, but about possibilities. Taking that moment helps give that grounding back to being valuable.
I get to work with a group of people who walk towards those who most people walk away from. Outreach staff are out there in the most bitter cold and the blistering heat, day in and day out just on the chance that maybe, possibly someone who is homeless or displaced is going to connect with them in a conversation and take a chance that they are worth the trust that is inherent in every transaction between themselves and an outreach worker. It is not something for everyone and I consider it one of the great honors in my life to have the opportunity to be involved in giving them the tools to do one of the most difficult things anyone could ever do on a day in and day out basis.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your time at BRC?
BRC has become family in many ways. What we do and how we go do it, you can’t help but become invested with the people who make up this agency, both as staff and the clients. A number of years ago I was told one of the staff I had worked with during my first years at BRC had passed away. I thought of how he had been the first staff member to welcome me my first day; how he had been the first to reach out to clients (really everyone) in his quiet, playful way; how he had been the only grown man I had ever allowed call me “Timmy” because I knew it was him just being genuinely himself; how he had respected me enough to talk with me about his years of battling addiction and recovery. He was my friend and my family.