Meet Our Team: Darilynn Cardona-Beiler, MSSA, LCSW

The Housing First teams provide care, support and crisis intervention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The mobile, multi-disciplinary staff tailors services to meet each person’s unique needs and provides them wherever the person lives – on the streets, in a shelter or in permanent supportive housing. We will spotlight a staff member each month and share their insight. Read what Darilynn Cardona-Beiler, Associate Director for Adult Behavior Health Services at Integral Care, has to say about the importance of Housing First Oak Springs.

Darilynn1. What is the most challenging part of housing someone who is chronically homeless?

Our teams work hard each and every day to meet people were they are and help individuals work on their recovery goals including housing. Assisting a person who has been chronically homeless obtain permanent housing is extremely rewarding but it takes time, compassion and dedication. Working with landlords, locating apartments and the needed subsidies to assist a person who is chronically homeless is difficult but really the hard work begins once the person moves in. The transition from living on the streets for years into housing can be unsettling for many. We often say, that’s when the hard work begins. Our teams work hard to build trust and to provide the necessary supports to help individuals stay housed and they do a fantastic job.

2. What is your favorite part of working towards housing vulnerable individuals?

I strongly belief that having safe and stable housing is one of the most important social determinants of health and a basic human right. For many of us, a shower, a bathroom and comfortable place to live is nothing but ordinary. At times of stress or sadness, we long to be home. Home provides hope for a renew sense of self. For those who are chronically homeless, they either stand in line or go without. Our mission, Healthy Living for Everyone inspires me and guides what I do. Supporting our mission and our teams by providing opportunities for people to have healthy lives is what I find the most rewarding. I feel privileged to walk alongside someone who has allow us to be part of their journey and to know that we were able to help them achieve recovery.

3. What is something you are working on right now that you are particularly proud of? (Relating to housing first)

We are working on building the first single site housing first building in our community- Housing First Oak Springs. I am very proud of the work we have been able to accomplish as a community. This project is not only an Integral Care project, but a testament of a large group of committed and passionate individuals who are coming together to make it a reality. This building will have a clinic to expand access to integrated care services in our community, a supported employment program and will be the home to 50 formerly chronically homeless individuals.

4. What is on your wish list for the next 5 years in terms of housing support for our homeless population?

More affordable HOUSING and Supportive Services! We have over 2,000 homeless individuals in our community and over 40% report mental illness or substance use disorders. Our last point in time count estimates a 20% increase from 2015. On my wish list I have more specialized programs to help homeless women and trauma informed services to help this population. Overall, more support services to help secure housing and provide the supports necessary to our consumers so they are able to stabilize and sustain their housing placement. For this population, these supports need to be ongoing and readily accessible.