In honor of Black History Month, Family Promise is spotlighting Black Family Promise staff members, board members, volunteers, and clergy who are making an impact in their respective communities.
HECTIC. That’s the word that best describes a day in the life of Chetrece Huff.
Huff has only been the case manager at Family Promise of Western New York since June 2021, but a single week can feel like one year for a social worker.
“I’m all over in terms of supporting families,” Huff said. “I take families to doctor’s appointments, build relationships with landlords, sign kids up for school, apartment hunt with clients…I’m basically the middle person.”
Huff’s path into the field of social work wasn’t linear. She spent 16 years as a licensed practical nurse before deciding to study social work. Her commitment to service started at a young age by way of community work with her grandma.
“We attended clothing drives, did work at our local church, and helped out at nursing homes,” Huff said. “That’s how I fell into nursing.”
But nursing wasn’t the path she was meant to follow. Huff was in school to become a registered nurse when she consistently found herself in conversation about community outreach.
“That’s when I decided to switch my major to social sciences,” Huff said. “And then I got accepted into a social work program.”
A significant reason why Huff was drawn to social work was because of a brief stint of housing insecurity. She lost her home shortly after giving birth to her second daughter and was forced to move in with her grandmother.
“I would walk the city of Buffalo looking for a job and looking for apartments,” Huff said. “I would go to social services every day. I couldn’t find a job because I didn’t have a car. I felt so defeated.”
One of Family Promise’s core values is ’empathy,’ and Huff has bounds of it.
“When I see people going through the same situation I went through, I want to help them,” Huff said.
And help she does. Huff’s daily work significantly impacts the trajectory of families’ lives. It takes a community to empower a family to overcome homelessness and Huff is a crucial community leader. She is someone who provides invaluable guidance with a healthy dose of tough love.
“I meet families where they are and I think I make them feel comfortable and safe,” Huff said. “To see them leave happy, and to know I made a change for a family, that is enough for me.”