REALTOR® in the Community

A Commitment to End Joblessness and Homelessness


 Lauren B. Hubbard  |    August 06, 2014
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Appleton-area REALTOR® Michelle Maiman stays busy in her unique role to eradicate homelessness in the Fox Valley area. On top of weekly volunteer work with low-income and homeless Fox Valley residents, Maiman researched and founded a new program to monitor the progress of homeless individuals with newly found jobs.

With her bachelor’s degree in social work, Michelle Maiman provides confidential, one-on-one assistance to individuals at Riverview Gardens. As a self-sustaining enterprise in the Fox Valley area, Riverview Gardens provides job training programs in a market garden/community park environment. Maiman is actively involved in Riverview Gardens’ ServiceWorks program, where she volunteers weekly. During her volunteer sessions, she teaches job skills to men from a local halfway house. She assists them with writing and developing resumes, filling out job applications, signing up for health insurance, and connecting them with mental health resources and/or finding permanent supportive housing. 

Maiman’s role with the gardens doesn’t end at the the ServiceWorks program. While the programs helps to open doors for those in need, Maiman also worked toward building an additional program, AfterCare, that tracks the progress of the ServiceWorks program’s efforts. After researching other organizations’ programs with similar missions, Maiman played a key role in the development of the AfterCare program, which supports job placement and job retention. 

Maiman also conducted another study for the Fox Cities Housing Coalition (FCHC), which is made up of 26 agencies — including Riverview Gardens — in the Fox Valley. In her FCHC study, she focused on the gaps in barriers in servicing the homeless population. “The vicious cycle,” coined by one study participant, was a prevalent theme in the research; this cycle involves the series of negative events — such as divorce, mental illness and addiction — that lead to job instability at the onset of homelessness. The continued job instability keeps the homeless person in “the vicious cycle.” With this research, Maiman helped to establish the new AfterCare program to specifically track the progress of individuals in their news jobs and new life after ServiceWorks.

Twice a year, Maiman also participates in the Point in Time Homeless Count. “We ‘beat the streets’ to find homeless individuals in the woods, under bridges, or sleeping in vehicles,” said Maiman. “If and when we find them, we try to connect them to services to help move them off the street and into emergency or transitional shelters.” 

On the following day after the homeless count, Riverview Gardens hosts a lunch event for the homeless individuals to provide the opportunity to connect with the 26 agencies that make up the coalition. 

“Joyce Bytof, my mentor,” said Maiman, "taught me that giving back to the community was not optional — but necessary.”

Learn more about Maiman’s volunteer work as well as volunteer opportunities at Riverview Gardens at www.riverviewgardens.org. Contributions can be made online at www.riverviewgardens.org/contribute.

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