Emily Rittenour grew up in a small town in southern Maryland. When she entered Maryland’s Salisbury University, she was not expecting to study social work, but ended up finding a true passion for the field after a very impactful volunteer experience. “I was actually an Environmental Law major to start with and I was planning to go to law school. It was a sudden change. After volunteering at a homeless shelter in Salisbury, I just loved it and had to change everything.” A year and a half ago, Emily moved to Boston to pursue her master’s degree in Social Work at Boston College. “I started working at Project Place for my field placement while I was studying at BC. And then got hired on to stay. It wasn’t something planned, but it worked out really well.”
Emily’s position is brand new at Project Place and was designed under the Housing Works Partnership (HWP). The HWP consists of five agencies – Pine Street, HomeStart, St. Francis, Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), and Project Place. The agencies work together to combine their specialties. Pine Street, BPHC and HomeStart focus on housing supports, whereas Project Place and St. Francis specialize in Income Maximization (Workforce Development and Asset Development). When a client is assessed and enrolled in programming, they get matched with two agencies in the HWP- one assigned housing specialist and one assigned income maximization agency. During programming, clients are housed and receive assistance towards their rent. The two assigned agencies will then work together with the client to provide stability, resources, and education to encourage skills that will help them maximize income in order to eventually pay market rent independent of the partnership. In Emily’s new position she is receiving referrals directly through this partnership. It’s her job to provide stabilization services to her clients, while they are simultaneously receiving rapid rehousing through another partner. That help could look like connecting clients to benefits like Food Stamps or healthcare, providing budgeting assistance, and generally helping them address barriers to success. After stabilization services are provided, clients transition into Project Place’s workforce development programs.
In her free time, Emily enjoys painting, exploring Boston, and being active outdoors –walking, roller skating and hiking. We are so happy to have Emily spearheading this new position and helping us expand our services to the community!