Reigniting Hope: Janae Allgire, Director of Behavioral Health

Janae came to Water Street over 6 years ago and has lived in Lancaster City well over a decade. Even so, she still gets surprised by some of the guests she gets to work with as Director of Behavioral Health here at Water Street.

One woman ran into a car door while riding her bike…when she woke up she couldn’t even remember her own name. She used to be a teacher.

Another young man was injured while working in construction. Now he is waiting for his long-overdue workman’s comp so he can finally move on and go to college.

She’s known a professional ballet dancer, an eye doctor assistant, a college professor and a lot of other professionals that don’t meet what many might think of as the “stereotypical” person dealing with homelessness or their mental health.

Unique Challenges, Unique Tools

With each person who comes through the mental health track here at Water Street, Janae recognizes their diversity, and works to create individual plans to help people get back on their feet.

One of her favorite things to do “is hand out lots of stuff.”

“I feel like Santa,” she explains. What does she hand out? Tools to help each person in their therapy and personal recovery. When each person comes in for their assessment, she hears their story and tries to find things that could be uniquely therapeutic for them.

“I just kind of listen and pay attention to what gets people excited,” she explains. Recently one man mentioned how he used to love playing the violin. She managed to track down an old broken violin, find someone to repair it, and bring it to him as a special surprise! Connecting people to their unique passions is key in how Janae works to help Water Street guests manage their mental health, grow and achieve their goals.

Janae’s office is filled with handmade gifts given to her by guests who use art as therapy.

 

Through her wellness courses and working one-on-one with guests, Janae gets to reignite hope in people who are struggling to know where to go from here. As Janae explains, she helps guests see that a mental illness doesn’t have to be a life sentence—they are not out of options. “I think people being able to realize that there’s a lot of times that some simple everyday things can be helpful to their life. And that they have a role to play…and that God has a plan for their lives.”

“I think people being able to realize that there’s a lot of times that some simple everyday things can be helpful to their life. And that they have a role to play…and that God has a plan for their lives.”

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