February 12, 2015

A Day in the Life: Office of HIV/AIDS Housing

Written by:

Photo: Lisa Steinhauer

Welcome to another edition of our series, A Day in the Life, which will introduce you to HUD employees and highlight the important work they do.

Today we meet Lisa Steinhauer, a Management Analyst in the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing.

What is your typical day like?

There are few things that remain constant day to day, and one of them is definitely coffee!  I work in a small office with five other people, and we come together for a “huddle” every morning.  It is great to have this daily check-in to stay updated on critical activities related to the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program.  As a program office, it’s important to communicate with the whole team as we divide key tasks to ensure low-income individuals living with HIV are in housing and able to address their health needs along with basic needs.  So every morning we acknowledge this collaborative effort with our hands in for a “Go Team!” cheer.

Outside of the coffee and morning huddle, no day is typical.  There is always something exciting happening as we work on HOPWA case issues across the country, bring the perspective of housing to interagency working groups focused on HIV, or produce resources to assist our HOPWA grantees in implementing effective programs.  Recently, most of my attention has gone to our collaboration with DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to provide housing assistance to low-income individuals living with HIV who are also victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

In September 2014, our office started a Twitter account (@HUD_HOPWA) and I was able to take the lead with this initiative.  It has been a great platform to connect with HOPWA grantees, project sponsors, program beneficiaries, and other stakeholders.  Managing the account may be a minor part of my office responsibilities, but it plays a large part in ensuring that program-related announcements reach the most people and it creates awareness of useful resources available from our office.

Recently, our office published a white paper showing the important role of housing for positive outcomes at different stages of HIV care.  I was able to coordinate a Twitter chat with several HOPWA grantees to start a discussion around the white paper.  It was really exciting to use social media to engage with folks across the country, and raise awareness of a great resource coming from our office.

How did you come to join HUD?

I came to HUD through the Peace Corps.  I was volunteering in Ukraine with an organization focused on children and youth with disabilities until February 2014.  I was in Ukraine for almost two years before we were evacuated, and I found myself abruptly placed in a very transitional phase of my life.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I had the opportunity to assist other Volunteers in submitting the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief grants applications and eventually review the submissions to determine funding.  This opportunity proved to be a great segue into a position with the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, which administers a housing grant program focused on HIV.  While this has been a big adjustment with many new regulations to learn, I am so glad that I’m able to continue working in the field of HIV and use my previous grant experience.

Tell us something interesting about you that most people don’t know.

The town I called home in Ukraine, Drohobych, has been my longest place of residency since I graduated high school.  I have been fortunate to spend many years traveling, living, working, and volunteering around the U.S. and world.  I have had addresses in many towns on the east coast, California, Wyoming, South Korea, Italy, and Uganda.  It has been unbelievably rewarding to meet so many amazing people and see so many beautiful places and cultures.  With that said, I am looking forward to having my current residence in Washington, D.C. take the lead as longest residence as I continue to work with so many wonderful people at HUD.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next month for a new edition of A Day in the Life!

April Brown is a Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs.

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