Author Archives: Shelly

2020 MAAC Annual Conference Postponed

After much thought, we have decided to postpone the conference that MAAC typically hosts for service providers in September.

There is a ton of work that goes into putting the conference together, and normally we would be well into the planning process at this point. As you know, there is so much uncertainty related to when it will be safe for large groups to gather.
We love spending that day with so many of you – laughing and learning together. We are hopeful that we can plan a Spring 2021 conference to share with you.

Looking forward to being with you all again soon.


With the recent death of Maya Angelou, I came across one of her many lovely quotes.

door with quoteSo many of us work with individuals and families who don’t have that safe place. Who are questioned all the time. By us. Don’t get me wrong – that’s part of our jobs. To ask some of those hard, often uncomfortable questions that get to the root of why this person or this family ended up at my agency, sitting in my office, requesting some assistance. But another part of my job is to recognize that this person or this family probably aches for home. For a comfortable, stable place in a world in which they don’t need to sit in my office and be asked a lot of questions.

May you rest in peace, Dr. Angelou. Thank you for putting to words what many of us forget.

And in Missouri Politics…

In case you were wondering and haven’t been appalled enough lately, the MO Legislature really did override Governor Nixon’s veto of SB 509. The Missouri Budget Project is calling this a massive tax scheme that will starve education, health, infrastructure, and other critical services of nearly $800 million a year when it is fully implemented.  You can read more here:

A somewhat less scathing review was issued by the Coalition for Missouri’s Future. “The bill is overly complex and riddled with special-interest loopholes. It disproportionately benefits the wealthy at the expense of lower-income and middle-class taxpayers. And, it jeopardizes state funding for critical public services and infrastructure including schools, health and social services, and investments in technology”.

It seems that if there’s a silver lining, it might be that Missourians are coming together to rally for Medicaid Expansion before the session ends. The disruptive antics of some clerrgy who were calling for a renewed emphasis on human dignity were removed from the Senate chamber and arrested. (Don’t worry – they were released on site.)

And finally. In case anyone wants to get really fired up, an actual comment to the article above: “…these ministers have apparently forgotten about teaching people to catch fish rather than giving them fish. They need to be pushing education and training as a way out of the darkness. Giving more fish away simply won’t cut it!”


Making a House a Home

When an individual or family we’re working with moves into permanent housing, we’re often at a loss as to what our role is at that point. And sometimes, we’re surprised if people don’t take care of their new place the way we think they should.


That sense of belonging, of ownership and pride that we want for our clients doesn’t just automatically come when they get the keys to their own place.   It’s often something that is developed as they’re able to make it their own. It seems that for most of us, creating a home is less about the building itself and more about the emotional connection and sense of comfort we’re able to create behind the doors.  Last week I attended a case management workshop and came away with a list of simple ideas for case workers and advocates to help their clients begin to make a house a home.

  • Give them a plant
  • Buy a baking sheet and bake cookies together
  • Give them a calendar
  • Go grocery shopping together at their local grocery store and make a big pot of something that can then be divided into individual portions
  • Give them some picture frames
  • Provide them with activities to address boredom (books, magazines, or a library card; art supplies, etc.)
  • Give them fun refrigerator magnets and dry erase markers
  • Encourage them to introduce themselves to their neighbors

Most of these ideas are low cost yet they can make a big impact. What else do you do to help individuals and families make a house their home?

FYI – the workshop I attended was “Working to Achieve Excellence in Housing-Based Case Management” and was put on by Iain De Jong with OrgCode Consulting