"The arrival of Covid-19 spurred our shift to telehealth services."

"My social work field placement began in January 2020, and I recall being excited (and a little daunted) by Pine Street’s stabilization program’s unique blend of shelter services and structured outpatient treatment for substance use disorders. It was a challenge and a privilege to support guests at this critical stage in their recoveries, and to learn from clients and colleagues.

In March, the arrival of COVID radically altered our program’s operations. Though that period felt overwhelming in many respects, I’m grateful that I was part of the clinical team’s shift to telehealth services. In conversations with clients, I felt an empathetic bond of mutual uncertainty: we were both doing the best we could despite unprecedented obstacles.

As I look forward to a career in this field, I’m grateful to my supervisors and colleagues for helping me cultivate flexibility, self-compassion, and persistence – all of which I hope to employ and expand in the years to come.

I’ve been struck by how the program has adapted. In order to reduce program density, we now serve approximately 20 clients at a time, roughly half the number we did prior to the pandemic. Our group therapy room has been reorganized to accommodate social distancing, and clients and staff wear masks at all times. These and so many other new protocols provide continuing evidence of this new world.

However, Pine Street has always managed challenges. As we work to end homelessness, how can we serve as many people as possible while also maintaining high standards of safety and care? It is a privilege to be part of that effort in some small way, and I’m so grateful for the Stabilization team’s support throughout this journey."

Joseph is enrolled in a Masters in Social Work program at Boston College