Dominique Christian has been promoted to the position of Program Director at The Road Home Dane County. Dominique joined The Road Home full-time in 2018 as a Housing Advocate before being promoted to Program Manager of scattered-site programs in early 2020. In her capacity as Program Director, she will be charged with overseeing each of The Road Home’s 13 housing programs as well as managing the nonprofit’s 15 program staff. As a member of the executive team, Dominique will also be responsible for a range of high-level duties related to staffing, budgeting and development, agency operations, and community advocacy.
Hear directly from Dominique in her Leadership Q&A:
Welcome to your new role! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your career at The Road Home Dane County?
My name is Dominique Christian. I am a mother, entrepreneur, and employee of The Road Home Dane County. My work in the housing system began during my undergraduate program at UW-Whitewater as an intern at The Road Home Dane County. I became a full-time employee as a Housing Advocate at The Road Home in November 2018. I served families in the community who were experiencing chronic or literal homelessness. In February 2020, I accepted a promotion to Housing Program Manager. In this role, I supported housing advocates assigned to the scattered site housing team and oversaw five housing programs. In alignment with my role as Housing Program Manager, I engaged in community outreach for partnership building and family advocacy, centering access to community resources and system change. Throughout my time at The Road Home, I have always been eager to learn more about how the organization has become so prominent in the community. Now serving as the Program Director, I spend much time committing to mezzo and macro-level tasks such as reporting, data analysis, budgets, and more.
How do you support your team of Housing Advocates in providing holistic, wrap-around services to local families with children in our housing programs?
I take a very non-traditional approach to supporting internal and external stakeholders. I am committed to dismantling systems created to oppress specific groups and communities. I bring my passion for liberation into all aspects of my work. Anti-racism and anti-blackness ideas are placed at the heart of my view of supporting others. I encourage transparency in the workplace because it fosters trust and open communication. I am very authentic in the workplace because it invites individualism, confronts stigma, and allows discomfort to bring us closer to meaningful conversations that recognize the importance of cultural humility.
Can you explain how The Road Home’s innovative approach to housing services works to break the cycle of chronic homelessness?
The Road Home’s innovative approach dares to resist the stigma imposed on families experiencing homelessness. We invite creative collaboration to serve families holistically. The agency bravely engages with local grassroots organizations to build partnerships with people who wouldn’t otherwise be invited to the table. Our programs recognize individualism within households. The services that we offer extend beyond supporting families with accessing housing. Our agency supports ensuring that children within the families have access to programming/extracurricular activities. We promote job advancement and employment readiness through our women’s fund and our staff’s ability to support families with resume building and job search; we offer mental health supportive services through a partnership with a local Black-owned organization, Anesis Therapy, and so much more. The Road Home recognizes that overcoming homelessness does not stop once families access housing; it is just the beginning of a new journey. Our connection with families depends on our approach, which relies on self-determination, person-centered practices, and empowerment.
What are the various housing programs offered at The Road Home and how many people are served by these programs each year?
Each year, The Road Home serves over 250 families, including more than 500 children. The programs that we offer support through our Housing & Hope, Phase I and II, the Breese, Fair Oaks, Ace, Tailor Place, Healing Housing, Building Futures (ages 18-24), Foundations, RISE, Predolin Rapid Rehousing, Housing Stabilization, Heart Room (Undocumented community members), and housing Vouchers. Many of our programs allow us to work alongside other agencies like YWCA and The Salvation Army.
What motivates you to strengthen your community and empower families?
I am no stranger to homelessness in Dane County. My family experienced the homeless system in Dane County when I was a young child. I then experienced homelessness as a single adult and as the mother of a single-parent household. My life experiences led me to this work. The evolution of systemic oppression keeps me driven to speak against practices that attempt to invoke inferiority in certain groups of people. If I am not working to eliminate social and economic injustice, I feel I am not doing what I was meant to do for people who look like me. My goal is to amplify the voices and life experiences of many folx whose lives align with the concept of marginalization. I genuinely believe that our collective work is invaluable if we are not intentionally bringing those impacted by systemic oppression to the table to be acknowledged, heard, and understood.