Featured Trainer: Khalil Martin, MSW, LSW

Khalil Martin smiling

2022 was a busy year for Housing First University. In order to respond to the ongoing demand for our services, we’re happy to announce that our staff has expanded to include an additional Training Specialist! Read on to learn more about our newest team member, Khalil Martin.

Question: Tell us about your educational/professional background
Khalil: I graduated from Eastern University in 2019 with an undergraduate degree in Social Work and a minor in Music. In 2020, I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice with a Master's in Social Work. At the beginning of my social work career, I began providing mental health support in non-profit homelessness organizations like Valley Youth House's runaway and homeless youth shelter in Bucks County, & various Project HOME locations, including the Gloria Casarez Residence— the first permanent supportive housing for LGBTQ+ young adults in Pennsylvania. This eventually paved the way to my first therapist role for individuals with opioid use disorders in Philadelphia County.

Eventually, I transitioned to Pathways to Housing PA where I served in the Assistant Team Leader and Team Leader positions on a polysubstance use team, supporting individuals in their transition from chronic homelessness into their new homes. In my new role as a Training Specialist with Housing First University, I have the opportunity to be outward facing and engage with other organizations in trainings and discussions around substance use, harm reduction, Housing First, and the helping profession. In addition to my role as a Training Specialist, I am also currently providing individual and group therapy with a small group practice & serving as an adjunct professor in Eastern University's College of Health & Sciences. * 

Q: What has been interesting about your work at Pathways compared to previous work you’ve done?
Khalil: The opportunity to walk alongside an individual actively experiencing homelessness through their journey to being housed, many for the first time, has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. Being able to be involved in every step of this process is not something I've experienced in any other agency. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about training?
Khalil: While my role might be to "train," what I enjoy most about my role with Housing First University is learning from other organizations and helping professionals. Many times, they bring fresh ideas or new dilemmas to the training space that help to inform and guide the training topic in new or expanded directions for future trainings and discussions. 

Q: What are your favorite topics to train on and why?
Khalil: Because nearly everybody has experienced some form of trauma in their life, the Trauma Informed Care training we offer is my favorite topic to facilitate. It is applicable to nearly every organizational setting and can influence not only direct service delivery to consumers but leadership styles and organizational management as well. 

Q: What is one thing you wish more people knew about Trauma Informed Care?
Khalil: I wish more people knew about the amount of evidence based research that has gone into the development of a trauma informed care approach on the individual and agency levels. It seems that a common belief is that trauma informed interactions avoid accountability or enable participants to continue to display or engage in negative behaviors. Trauma informed care is not " too nice," it's not handholding, and it's not infantilizing.  Trauma informed care and the benefits of its implementation has decades’ worth of research & intentionally applying this approach to our work plays a significant role in avoiding further harm, and crisis prevention.