Julie’s career with Guild began when she was in seminary. She got a job as a part-time Evening Desk Worker at Guild Hall, a residential mental health facility.
After graduating from seminary school, Julie moved away from the Twin Cities and became a pastor. When she moved back to the Twin Cities later, she struggled to find a position as a pastor, and she fondly remembered her job at Guild.
From there, she continued her long history working at Guild. She became an internal case manager at Guild Hall, then moved into an Intake Coordinator position, which she did at both Guild Hall, and the Guild South residential facility. She helped lead the closing of Guild Hall and moving clients back into the community and independent housing.
Julie explains that it was an important shift away from dorm-like long-term residential facilities like Guild Hall, and towards supportive housing that allowed people with serious mental illness to live in their community.
Growth and Innovation
Closing Guild Hall and switching to a more community-based mental health care model was just the beginning. Julie became the team lead for Housing Support Services, and then helped start the Jade team in 1998.
The Jade Team worked closely with Ramsey County Crisis Services to provide short-term services to people at risk of commitment. Previously, Guild had experienced the success of the “housing first” approach and community-based treatment. We furthered our efforts to keep people in the community, partnering with Ramsey County to develop a new team to help divert people from civil commitment–involuntary hospitalization–and instead towards voluntary community-based treatment for their mental illness.
“This was actually considered very innovative for the time, as commitment rates had soared in Ramsey County,” says Julie, “To even consider helping people avoid commitment almost unheard of at the time.”
In 2003, Julie helped launch Guild’s Delancey Services. Guild leaders saw that their community needed services to help people experiencing chronic homelessness find housing.
“Guild made a turn when Delancey Services started, because up until then, we really were only focused on mental health,” says Julie. “Taking that turn was a big step.”
Julie enjoys the part of her job that allows her to “address a need comes up in the community and figure something out as a way to meet that need.”
From there, Guild added Delancey Apartments in 2009; 13 permanent supportive housing units for people experiencing chronic homelessness. Other programs like Employment Services and Housing Access Resource Team were also put under Julie’s leadership.
Julie is grateful for the opportunity she’s had at Guild to start new services from the ground up.
“Guild has an innovative side to it that is appealing,” says Julie, “We’re not afraid of innovation, and not afraid to try new things and see what works.” She explains that looking towards the future and trying new ideas is what has made Guild uniquely suited to serve our community.
Julie’s role in innovation is being a leader who encourages change and continuously improves. “I strive to be a leader that has a vision for what’s possible and tries to make it happen.”
Improving Integrated Services
When asked where the housing, employment, and mental health services she oversees are going, she replies, “It’s really looking at the needs of the community and figuring out how can we change.”
Julie’s programs are constantly looking for ways to innovate, from expanding into new counties to launching new programs. The Housing Access Resource Team (HART) is always continuing to look for new landlords to partner with to expand their ability to help clients. The Employment Services team recently launched a Youth Employment and Education program aimed to help people aged 16-24 plan for their future. Julie works hard to ensure that changes are worthwhile and sustainable.
When asked what she enjoys about her work, Julie responds, “I enjoy being able to help people recover, get housed, help people get jobs, and be able to get their life back”
Julie is also a pastor and describes church work and social work as her two passions. In both vocations, she has learned the importance of building relationships. From relationships with clients to relationships with counties and committees, Julie explains that getting involved and maintaining connections with the community has helped her find new opportunities and partnerships, like the ability to grow Guild programs.
In her free time, Julie enjoys gardening, sailing, camping with her husband, and hanging out with her dogs.