Housing First trainers

Melanie Schmit
LIMOR & Housing First Netherlands

, Netherlands

Melanie Schmit’s entire working life has been about people in need, among which the biggest part has been in the field of homelessness. She studied social work, then completed a bachelor’s degree  in health care management and a study around professional coaching and leadership. Currently she is focusing on education around public affairs.

Melanie started out as a social worker in a homelessness service and after that was a manager for several years, mainly managing and implementing Housing First practices for adults as well as youth.

Today, Melanie works for LIMOR on scaling up, further developing, and promoting Housing First in the Northern and Western part of The Netherlands. In that capacity she is also training groups on Housing First inside and outside the organisation.

Furthermore Melanie is president of the national platform, Housing First Netherlands. She was a co-initiator and co-founder of this network organization that acts as a collective representative for Housing First practices in the Netherlands and Housing First in general.

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Areas of expertise:
Change Management Creating national networks Housing First Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) Housing First implementation Introduction to Housing First Managing Housing First Teams Mind shift/culture shift Recovery approach Strengths-based approach
Training Languages
Dutch English

Emine Özkan
Neunerhaus - Hilfe für obdachlose Menschen

Vienna, Austria

Emine Özkan has a leading position at the Austrian social organization Neunerhaus, where she has managed the Housing First team since 2018. Previously, Emine worked in the field of preventing violence against women and children and led an empowerment program for girls and young women. Emine  represents the Housing First approach at international conferences and meetings. She is committed to discussing challenges, reflecting experiences, and creating new ideas for implementing Housing First. In addition to her work at Neunerhaus, she is currently studying part-time for the international master’s program “social work and social economy“ in Vienna.

Emine Özkan leitet seit 2018 das Housing First-Team bei der österreichischen Sozialorganisation neunerhaus. Davor war die studierte Sozialarbeiterin u.a. im Bereich Prävention von Gewalt gegen Frauen und Kinder sowie als Standortleitung in einem Empowerment-Programm für Mädchen und junge Frauen tätig. International gut vernetzt, tauscht sich Özkan gern zu Herausforderungen und Best Practice aus und präsentiert neunerhaus Housing First auf verschiedenen Tagungen und Austauschtreffen. Derzeit absolviert sie berufsbegleitend ein Masterstudium (Soziale Arbeit und Sozialwirtschaft) in Wien.

LinkedIn
Areas of expertise:
Managing Housing First Teams
Training Languages
English German Turkish

Juha Kahila
Y-Säätiö/Y-Foundation

Helsinki, Finland

Juha has been working for 10 years in the field of homelessness. He started as a frontline support worker in 2010 for the Finnish Youth housing association services (NALPA). NALPA offers housing first in scattered housing for young people experiencing homelessness. After 3,5 years Juha became the Service manager and his responsibility was to develop the services and manage the Housing First team. After 1,5 years of being the service manager Juha became the CEO of the whole company. Juha had the privilege of developing and growing the company to a widespread presence across Finland.

Following NALPA, Juha started work at the Y-Foundation. He worked for a little over one year as a Coordinator for the  National Housing First Development Network. At the beginning of 2020, he became the Lead Coordinator of the same Network. As part of his role at the Network, Juha organises training courses at national level, and is working on developing the Housing First model together with dozens of NGO’s and cities.

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Areas of expertise:
Change Management Harm Reduction Housing First Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) Managing Housing First Teams Mind shift/culture shift
Training Languages
English Finnish

Nadyah Abdel Salam
GIE La ville autrement - Est Metropole Habitat

Lyon, France

Nadyah is a socio-urbanist and a task officer at GIE La Ville Autrement where she works on the deployment of partnership projects for the homeless in the metropolitan of Lyon within the framework of Housing First.

In addition to being a Hoosing First trainer, Nadyah is also working on a thesis in sociology which deals with Housing First and the processes of institutional innovation in social housing (University of Nice – GREDEG).

LinkedIn
Areas of expertise:
Evaluation Housing First in Public Policy
Training Languages
French

Muriel Allart
Smes

Brussels, Belgium

Muriel is a Psychologist with 10 years of experience in Harm Reduction. She has been a Housing First Manager since 2013 – including ACT + ICM team management – and has rehoused more than 50 clients to date.

As a Housing First trainer, Muriel shares her expertise in Harm Reduction, Recovery, Peer work, Crises management, and Violence.

LinkedIn
Areas of expertise:
Harm Reduction Managing Housing First Teams Peer work Recovery approach
Training Languages
French

Peter Brepoels
Steunpunt Mens en Samenleving

Antwerp, Belgium

Peter started to work in youth and young adult care in the nineties, being focused on youth at risk of becoming homeless or young adults being homeless. At the time some of his older colleagues advised him to lower his expectations as to what could be achieved. He continued working, and 10 years later, caught himself being that older colleague telling the younger ones to ‘not put their hopes up too high’. After he discovered the Housing First approach, he learnt that his initial hopes of achieving positive outcomes for homeless youth could be realised, and became a Housing First trainer.

LinkedIn
Areas of expertise:
Change Management Evaluation Mind shift/culture shift Strengths-based approach
Training Languages
Dutch English

Rémi Dekoninck
Diogènes (Station Logement)/ Projet Lama

Brussels, Belgium

Rémi has 20 years of experience working in the social sector, with experience in a wide range of social and homeless services, including:

  • Social Worker since 2000
  • Social Housing 2000
  • First Line social services 2002-2005
  • Family Planning 2005-2016
  • Therapeutical community 2013-2018
  • Social school teacher 2016-2018
  • Health services for drug addictions 2018- now
  • Housing First worker 2018-now
  • Housing First Trainer: 2019- now
LinkedIn
Areas of expertise:
Managing Housing First Teams Recovery approach Strengths-based approach Trauma-informed Care
Training Languages
French

Jo Prestidge
Homeless Link

London, UK

Jo is an experienced project manager supporting the development and delivery of innovation and good practice within the field of homelessness and complex needs. This includes as the lead of Housing First England since 2016. Supporting a movement of Housing First across the country, Jo works with local government and service providers to develop new services and oversee a programme of policy influencing, research and practice development. She has also spent several years promoting trauma-informed practice to the sector and her training courses have been delivered to over 5,000 people.

Jo is an experienced trainer, facilitator and public speaker with several years experience of working directly with people with multiple and complex needs including people entrenched in street homelessness.

In addition to being a Housing First Trainer, Jo is training to be a consultant in the system-psychodynamics approach to organisational development at the renowned Tavistock Clinic.

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Areas of expertise:
Change Management Mind shift/culture shift Trauma-informed Care
Training Languages
English

Pilvi Azeem
Y-Säätiö/Y-Foundation

Helsinki, Finland

Pilvi’s first experience working with people experiencing homelessness was in Scotland year 2005 where she worked as an assertive outreach worker for over two years, learning first-hand about people experiencing homelessness without Housing First support.

After returning to Finland, Pilvi went to work with Helsinki Deaconess Institute in one of their newly opened Housing First units, providing supported living for long-term homeless people. There she learned the basic skills of the Housing First approach and community care and how people with similar backgrounds can empower each other with the support of skilled Housing First workers.

In 2014, Pilvi had the opportunity to be part of establishing a new Housing First community-based supported housing unit for long- term homeless people. Her main job was to ensure that the workers working in the unit were familiar with Housing First principles and that the support work they did was in line with the Housing First principles. It was very important to ensure that community-based methods were followed, involving residents and workers in the decision making process and everyday life in the unit.

Pilvi is currently working as a project coordinator for the NEA project, which aims to stop women´s homelessness by securing their housing pathways. The project consists of eight multidisciplinary sub-projects and my main target with my colleague is to enable these sub-projects to work together and create woman-spesific work methods in the homelessness work field.


Areas of expertise:
Managing Housing First Teams Recovery approach Strengths-based approach Trauma-informed Care
Training Languages
English Finnish

David Valouch
Platform for Social Housing

Prague, Czech Republic

David has over 15 years of work with drug addicts, including as an outreach worker, frontline worker, community therapist, and parental counsellor. He also has 3 years experience working in a halfway house, and is now participating in change of Czech social system to reduce and end homelessness in the Czech Republic.

In addition to his training in Housing First, David is also a trainer of motivational interviewing, Buddhist meditation, psychodrama and focusing.

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Areas of expertise:
Harm Reduction Managing Housing First Teams Mind shift/culture shift Trauma-informed Care
Training Languages
Czech English Slovak
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