RaY Staff Member Spotlight – Jude Bradford
When RaY’s Transitional Housing Team Lead Jude Bradford first came to RaY, it wasn’t for a job interview. It was to be housed.
Bradford grew up in Morden, Manitoba but moved to Winnipeg in high school in response to bullying. While attending high school, they became homeless, and first came to RaY in 2011.
“I was a participant here, under a different name,” Bradford says. “After that my social worker came through and housed me.”
Fast forward a few years, and they moved back in with their father, who then passed away while Bradford was attending Robertson College.
“So I was homeless a second time,” they say. “I stayed in school, but I almost dropped out. On my last day of school I landed a job in (social services), and shortly after that I housed myself.”
Working in this field since 2016, Bradford always had a desire to work at RaY, and would take any job available. In 2019, they joined the RaY Drop-In team part-time.
“I’ve always wanted to work at RaY,” Bradford says. “This was one of my first senses of home being in this building.”
After spending time in Drop-In and working directly with participants, Bradford took a position in the housing department as a REST Case Manager before becoming Transitional Housing Team Lead this summer.
“Transitional Housing is a chance for youth to come and establish independence while working on a goal,” Bradford explains. “There are different programs, SAFE, ROOM and REST. REST is more so for youth who have burned their bridges with landlords and want to work on themselves, while later establishing themselves in the private market. ROOM is for kids involved in CFS who have an extension of care that are trying to build their own rental history with affordable rent, while being supported by their social workers and attending to their own personal goals. SAFE is a program for youth 17-21 that need emergency placement, and that can be up to 90 days while finding their alternate home.
“I really am passionate about all these programs and the work that we do with the kids.”
Bradford, like many RaY staff members, is always learning in the ever evolving world of social services. Not just from other staff members, but from the participants themselves.
“It’s a really good learning opportunity,” they say. “I get to work behind the scenes and nurture our relationship with Manitoba Housing. I get to understand more of the admin part of transitional housing. I’m being mentored by Aaron (Ghebrehiwot, Rapid Rehousing Manager) a lot. I have one foot in the admin side, so what makes sense on paper and how to make the youth get as far as they can in the program, while still having one foot in youth care and still being hands on. I’m really happy with how it’s going so far.”
Because of their personal experiences, Bradford has a unique point of view when it comes to working with youth.
“I can feel what they’re feeling in certain situations and I can understand why they behave a certain way,” they say. “It’s just easier for me to relationship build without my counter transference getting in the way, I can still be as objective as possible.
“If anything, it’s a benefit for me for youth care because it helps me provide more solutions.”