Staff Spotlight: Meet James Gonzalez!

Sep 27, 2018  |  at 8:39 am  |  by awright

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By: Abbie Wright, Digital Content Coordinator

James Gonzalez, Senior Project Manager with Coalition for the Homeless, started with the organization in 2016 after working in the homeless system previously. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, James moved to Houston to complete his graduate program in social work from the University of Houston and never turned back.

Abbie: Can you tell me about your role with the Coalition and what it entails?

James: I’m a project manager so my day-to-day is lots of meetings, e-mails and phone calls. What is really nice about my role is that I can stay closely connected with clients in order to figure out what’s happening on a system level. I work a lot with case managers, but also with their supervisors discussing funding issues, staffing issues or even talking about data. My main focus is on Rapid Rehousing (RRH) and Domestic Violence (DV). I don’t lead the work, but I work closely with an agency similar to the Coalition in the DV world called HCDVCC (Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council).

Abbie: What made you want to go into this type of work?

James: I love the social justice aspect of social work. There are so many obstacles people face throughout life and imagine trying to better yourself without having a place to live. It would be impossible. I started at SEARCH Homeless Services, Inc. and was the team lead of a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project. I was also always really interested in the macro-systems work.

Abbie: What kind of projects are you working on right now?

James: Right now I’m working on family RRH, as well as helping DV providers with coordinated access.

Abbie: What would you say your favorite thing is about working for the Coalition?

James: I’m really just a big nerd so it’s perfect for me. I get access to all of this system data through HMIS and I’m able to facilitate changes with that. I’m also a case manager at heart so being able to work closely with other case managers is really valuable to me.

Abbie: What has been your favorite project to-date?

James: When we are able to get RRH Plus vouchers it’s really meaningful to me. And being able to share that with our RRH and DV teams is so great. There’s not as much subsidy access for those groups because it will usually go to individuals who may be experiencing chronic homelessness. I love being able to help RRH families stabilize and give them a permanent opportunity.

Abbie: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?

James: I mean there’s a difference between who I would like it to be versus who it would be. I’d love to see Jake Gyllenhaal play me but lets be real, it’d probably end up being someone like Kevin James.

Abbie: What is a fun fact about yourself?

James: I am truly huge Harry Potter nerd! I’ve read all the books and seen all of the movies. And I am of course a Gryffindor.