In today's blog post, Ndindam Ndiwane reflects on his experiences volunteering at MHSA and contributing to the organization's mission to end homelessness in the Commonwealth. Pictured above, Ndindam (left) advocates for affordable housing at CHAPA's "Our Voices, Our Homes" rally on July 31, 2017.
How did you become interested in volunteering for MHSA?
My friend Jamie Nist, who was in the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) program with me, volunteered at MHSA earlier last year. MHSA was looking for someone to help out with data entry and analysis, and she asked me whether I would be interested. I thought that it would be a great opportunity to gain experience with data while also giving back to my community, so I became a volunteer in June 2016.
What does a typical day volunteering at MHSA look like for you?
A typical day at MHSA starts with meeting with my supervisor Singumbe Muyeba, MHSA Research & Evaluation Specialist, to discuss my work for the day. We recently finished a project evaluating the occupancy percentages of 46 Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) shelters across the state. The data and the forthcoming report will be used to advocate for additional funding to go toward ending homelessness.
What excites you about supporting MHSA’s mission to end homelessness in the Commonwealth?
What excites me the most about MHSA's mission to end homelessness in the Commonwealth is the recognition that shelters should not be the solution to end homelessness. The goal of giving as many individuals as possible permanent housing and supportive resources is the purpose of this organization, and the hard work put toward that goal is admirable. Every day, MHSA makes a true impact in peoples’ lives and gives hope to people that may have thought all was lost the day before.
Why would you encourage others to get involved with MHSA?
I would encourage others to get involved in MHSA because it is a great opportunity to learn about an issue that is plaguing our state. Many people see homelessness every day, but they may not understand the true significance and depth of the issue until they work for an organization advocating to end homelessness such as this. It is also a chance to make a difference and give back to your community.