Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC) connects full-time stipended volunteers nationwide with non-profit organizations to work for peace and justice. This month, the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to spotlight two people who work at JDC’s Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) through LVC: Dami Obaro and Kathleen Steinmetz.
After graduating from the University of Chicago in June 2012, Dami Obaro moved to San Francisco to work at HAP as a Legal Advocate. She enjoys the work so much that she decided to stay at HAP for a second year. With the knowledge she acquired in her first year, Obaro appreciates that she can now take on more involved projects and cases.
Obaro is touched when clients appreciate her work. She helped a family secure rental assistance, and when one of the clients spoke at the JDC fundraising gala this past September, she thanked Obaro by name. Says Obaro, “I was very grateful for her remembering me.” When her two-year Lutheran Volunteer Corps service ends, Obaro plans to apply to law school, and says her experience at HAP played a large part in that decision.
Kathleen Steinmetz joined HAP several months ago as a Social Service Advocate who helps clients with various issues, including applying for Supplemental Security Income and finding housing. She is a former pastry chef who completed several long-term humani-tarian relief trips to Mexico, Africa and Eastern Europe, then enrolled in Arizona State University. Steinmetz paused her work toward a BA in Non-Profit Management and Social Work to get hands-on experience through LVC.
Steinmetz particularly enjoys going to court once a week for JDC’s Housing Negotiation Project, through which volunteer attorneys represent low-income tenants at pre-trial settlement conferences in eviction proceedings.
She says, “I am on the front lines of the housing crisis, helping clients with their social service needs. It’s rewarding to help individuals that I otherwise would never have the opportunity to assist.”
For more information about the Homeless Advocacy Project, visit www.sfbar.org/hap.