Social Services Spotlight: Erin Resser

Oct 20, 2021

Continuing our October series on The Salvation Army’s social services and Material Assistance and Seasonal Services (MASS) programs, today we shine the spotlight on Renaissance Housing staff member Erin Resser.

Erin Resser, asset and property coordinator for The Salvation Army’s Renaissance Housing program – which offers up to six months of transitional housing for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or near-homelessness – has seen first-hand the ways in which the pandemic has impacted those living on the margins.

“It’s been hard,” Resser acknowledged. “We’ve seen people’s mental health go downhill. There are a lot of people struggling and a lot of people who need housing.”

Resser manages the intake process for Renaissance Housing. The program, which is located on The Salvation Army’s Renaissance Village campus on Cuming Street, offers a total of 33 apartments and has a waiting list of up to 18 months for studio apartments and one year for two- and three-bedroom units.

“This time of year, as the weather gets colder, we start getting a lot of calls,” said Resser. “There’s just not enough affordable housing in Omaha.”

The Renaissance Housing program is unique in that each resident is assigned a case worker who connects them with resources to support their specific needs – from mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and employment assistance to childcare and opportunities to connect with other residents.

“There is real community here,” said Resser. “A lot of residents make friends and connections with one another. Some become roommates when they move into permanent housing.”  

As they prepare to transition to permanent housing, Resser and other Renaissance Housing staff help residents find what they will need to furnish their apartments, from pots, pans and linens to food, infant formula and even breast pumps.

A significant number of Renaissance Housing residents are survivors of domestic abuse. For Resser, offering these women and their children a safe haven and then helping them transition to a stable, secure, permanent housing arrangement is an especially gratifying part of her job.

“I wake up every day feeling good about this work,” she said. “I’ve been a landlord in the past, but this job is more like a marriage of landlord and social work; it’s very fulfilling.”

The Salvation Army of Omaha’s Renaissance Housing and MASS programs help individuals and families in need bridge the gap by providing short-term housing, support services, food, clothing and household items and assistance paying utility bills. Seasonal services include free summer fans, backpacks filled with school supplies for kids returning to the classroom and gifts and meal vouchers for families at Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Learn more about The Salvation Army’s short- and long-term housing programs.

Learn more about MASS at the Burrows Center.

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