Prior to coming to Housing Assistance as a case manager at our Scattered Sites shelter in Hyannis last September, Gemma Rehm spent over six years as a mental health specialist at Cape Cod Hospital.
The similarities between the two roles, Rehm said, is “you’re dealing with people, a lot of time, who are in crisis.”
That experience has served her well in working with families at Housing Assistance who are homeless and have nowhere else to turn. “People aren’t in the same types of crisis as in my last job, but you do see people coming up against some very challenging issues, especially where addiction is concerned. It can be difficult to deal with, but I think my background has helped me a lot with that,” she said.
At the beginning of May, Rehm was promoted to serve as the program director at Carriage House, our shelter in North Falmouth which specializes in serving younger mothers and their children.
Her short-term goal at the shelter is simple – “I want to have us sort of comeback from Covid,” she said. “Because of Covid, a lot of the day programs we were doing have gone away. It is sort of my mission that once things settle down, I’d like to see them start to filter back.
“I also want to make sure everybody here is getting the best possible help, care, and attention in regard to getting rehoused,” she added.
A native of England, Rehm earned her bachelor’s degree in clinical nursing, with a specialty in mental health, from Bournemouth University in Dorset. She has lived on Cape Cod since 2003.
Along with her professional experiences, Rehm said, “I’ve been a single parent and there’s been times where I’ve had difficulty with housing. Because of that, it drew me to the case manager job initially. My personal experience has really served me well in working with people who are in situations that I relate to.”
She also has a passion for helping others, making her an ideal fit at Housing Assistance. “Everyone needs a leg up in life. Everyone needs a second chance,” she said. “And I think everyone deserves help. That is important to me.”