Labor and Economic Opportunity
As part of the Michigan Financial Opportunity Corps, Daniel Wrona served two years as an AmeriCorps member at Community Housing Network, Inc. His service involved facilitating financial education workshops at various community spaces throughout the Detroit Metropolitan area. He also coordinated the 2018 Pontiac Show Me the Money Day event, a free statewide financial empowerment event that featured financial workshops, homebuyer education, and helped attendees connect with helpful resources in their community.
Throughout his service he had the opportunity to interact with all kinds of people, from low-income community members to bankers and lawyers. Daniel said that his AmeriCorps service experience helped him gain confidence, overcome challenges, and better understand the community he served. "The experience I had during my service has taught me to listen to others and meet them where they are, and to keep an eye out for cultural and social blind spots," Daniel reflected.
After his AmeriCorps service ended, Daniel was hired on as a Case Manager with Community Housing Network's Eviction Diversion Program (EDP). He not only provided direct service to clients, but he also served as a Team Leader managing eight to ten other staff members who processed the intial client applications and assessed the supporting documents that clients provided.
In late 2020 during the height of the pandemic eviction crisis, Daniel worked long hours seven days a week just to keep up with the high demand. He credited his time as an AmeriCorps member with helping him tremendously during that challenging period. He said, during AmeriCorps "I learned flexibility, to roll with the punches, and to deal with things changing constantly." By the end of 2020, the EDP team had successfully obtained rental arrearage relief for 625 clients and families totaling $2.4 million of relief.
In 2021, Daniel started a new role at the Community Housing Network as a CERA Supervisor with the new COVID Emergency Relief Assistance (CERA) program. This program helps tenants who are facing pandemic-related hardships avoid eviction. "I promote the spirit of service in my work by helping people as much as possible, and continuously trying to be better at my job. Also, it is important to me to never miss an opportunity to talk about my experience serving in AmeriCorps."
Suzanne Fenske, a current CEDAM's AmeriCorps member serving at the Community Housing Network, said, "Daniel is an exceptional human being with boundless energy expended in the service of others. I have witnessed this firsthand as he invested countless hours on the behalf of individuals and families facing eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic." She also appreciated Daniel for sharing his insights and suggestions as a member of the 2021 Show Me the Money Day Planning Committee. She noted, "he has been an invaluable support!"
Learn more about CEDAM's AmeriCorps program and other Michigan's AmeriCorps programs making a positive impact in communities across Michigan. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.