Staff Profile – Haimanot Deresse

Staff Profile – Haimanot Deresse

Described by coworkers as a “strong, steady leader,” Haimanot “Haimie” Deresse joined Vail Place a little over 10 years ago as a Housing Support Specialist, providing housing assistance and ongoing support for Clubhouse members.  After three years, Haimie transitioned to the role of Case Manager and late last year he was given additional responsibilities as a  Case Manager Team Lead. “Haimie works tirelessly to help his clients to accomplish their goals, no matter how big or small they might be,” says Jolene Peterson, Director of Case Management Programs at Vail Place. ” He is extremely professional at all times.  Even under high stress crisis situations, Haimie always remains relaxed and calm. You can always depend on him to provide the support needed for his clients and his teammates.”

In his current role, Haimie is responsible for case management duties including assessment, coordination, monitoring and providing referrals for his clients. He provides culturally-specific services in an always patient and kind manner to clients who have limited proficiency of the English and speak only Amharic. This at times takes many extra hours of helping individuals maneuver and understand our very complicated social service system, a system even native English speakers find confusing.

Because of Haimie’s services many Vail Place clients are now able to get the proper treatment for their illness and are open to additional support services and benefits.  They are now more informed about their mental health and focused on their recovery. Haimie has helped them develop not only the confidence, independence and skills to work after many years of unemployment, he has also assisted many people with applying and acquiring citizenship

“Haimie is a valued member of our team,” says Vicky Couillard, Executive Director of Vail Place.  “His wisdom is a gift that he shares daily with his clients, case managers, and our management team.  I truly value his compassion, insight and knowledge.”

As a Team Lead, Haimie always provides necessary support to case management staff, coverage when needed and other administrative tasks in a professional and respectful manner. Over the next few months, Haimie’s goal is to maintain a balance between his team lead and case management roles.  However, he says the best part of his job is working with his clients through their challenges and watching them succeed.

“I am working with clients who once were frequent visitors to the crisis residence, emergency room or inpatient psychiatry before they came to case management services,” Haimie says. “They have successfully stayed away from those places for years now.  I like to commend my clients for what they have achieved, give them all due credit and let them know I have only been instrumental in their effort.” Haimie adds that “a client who is happy and satisfied with their accomplishments feels empowered. It’s wonderful to hear someone say ‘I did it!'”

When he’s not at work, Haimie enjoys nature and being outside. In the summer, you’ll often see him walking and biking around the lakes.  As for his personal motto, Haimie says it’s simply to “Do my best and be happy!”