WHO:  Natalie Burtzos, MSSW ’19

WHAT AND WHERE: Hired as CARES Team Social Work Supervisor at Main Street Renewal, a for-profit property management company with offices across the country.

HOW: In 2017, Burtzos joined the CARES team’s inaugural cohort of social work interns. The CARES (Client Assessment Resources Empowerment Services) team resulted from a partnership between the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and MSR. The team consists of social work interns who communicate with the company’s eviction and collections team to advocate for residents who are delinquent in rent or anticipate having difficulty paying for it. By conducting phone-based needs assessments, the team is able to gather and organize resources to aid MSR residents. In fall 2018, Burtzos was hired as MSR’s first full-time social work supervisor. In her position, she will monitor eviction prevention efforts and lead relational skills workshops for MSR employees on topics such as de-escalation.

THE FUTURE: Through her internship, Burtzos found a new passion for housing advocacy and realized how important it is for social workers to step into unexpected places, such as a for-profit management company, to make a positive difference.

“I came to the school wanting to work on criminal justice reform but my current focus is housing policy and advocacy,” Burtzos said. “The experience at MSR taught me that it is important that social workers are invited to spaces where we are not usually present. We showed how social work helps solve concrete problems, and we were able to create better outcomes for residents.”