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Meet Doors of Hope’s New Case Manager Carrie Driskell

Oxford’s Doors of Hope Transitional Ministries is dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk families in Oxford and Lafayette County become self-sufficient. Since its founding in 2011, sixteen families have successfully completed the program and three others are currently enrolled. Thanks to the generous support of our community, DOHTM was able to bring Carrie Driskell on board in March as a full-time case manager. We sat down with Carrie to find out a little more about her.

Brenda West: Carrie, something in your accent tells me you’re not originally from Mississippi. Am I right?

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Carrie Driskell

Carrie Driskell: You are! I was born and raised in Cleveland, not Mississippi, but Ohio.

BW: How did you end up in Oxford?

CD: I moved to Mississippi with my aunt and her family to attend college. I first attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where I earned an associate degree, and then I came to The University of Mississippi where I earned my bachelor’s degree in social work.

BW: I understand you now hold a master’s degree in social work.

CD: Yes! I recently graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with my master’s degree.

BW: What inspired you to apply for DOHTM’s case manager position?

CD: I applied for the case manager position because of the opportunity to work with a new population. DOHTM provides assistance to our community by giving Hope to our Homeless. I wanted to be a part of this momentous agency and contribute to the positive impact it has in Oxford and Lafayette County.

BW: What do you find most fulfilling about being a case manager?

CD: One of the most fulfilling moments is seeing the joy in a person’s eyes when they know they have stable and supportive housing.

BW: What is the hardest thing about being a case manager?

CD: One of the most difficult moments for me is understanding that not all of our clients will achieve self-sufficiency. That is the goal we strive for at DOHTM. It is a challenge sometimes to impress upon clients that we have very strict rules and that I am required to visit them and see that they are abiding by these rules.

BW: What happens when clients just don’t follow the rules?

CD: It’s sad, but they are asked to leave.

BW: Give us an idea of counseling you provide.

CD: I provide supportive counseling and if further services are needed they are referred to our local community mental health agency. I work extensively with the clients to ensure proper budgeting habits are utilized weekly. Nutrition, life skills, and other topics are discussed during our Step 2 program that is held each month.

BW: Describe the best scenario when a client leaves the program.

CD: Well, they have a nest egg to start out with. We hold 30% of their income in an escrow account – yes, they are required to work – and when they leave they will have money for utility deposits, initial rent, groceries, and such.

BW: There must be compelling stories from former clients who were able to remain self-sufficient after leaving the program.

CD: Yes, we are hoping to produce a short film that will tell some of these stories.

BW: How do you get your story out to the community? Do people know about this ministry?

CD: We have a website and a presence on Facebook now. We meet a lot of people at our monthly donation drive at Larson’s Cash Saver. Our board of directors that oversees the program is in an active fundraising campaign now and that helps spread the word. We will have a fundraiser this summer at the Powerhouse. We want to expand our services, so the more we can tell our story, the more people we can help.

BW: I see that your office address is 924 Van Buren. Isn’t that 1st Presbyterian Church?

CD: Yes. They generously provide us with office space. It’s a wonderful place to be!

BW: Before we go, tell us what you do when you are not working.

CD: In my spare time, I enjoy reading, traveling, and watching movies. One of my hobbies is baking. I have a sweet tooth! I also believe in giving back to my adopted community and that is why I am a member of the NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

BW: Well, we are happy to have you on the team and are glad you chose to stay in Oxford. Do let us know how we can help you continue to help those trying so hard to stay afloat.

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