Darius Brown serves as a Development Officer on the homelessness response team for the City of San José’s Housing Department. He supports unsheltered families throughout the city by helping them access homeless prevention programs. More recently, as a disaster worker, Brown manages the COVID-19 temporary family shelter.
In recent years, Brown has worked in a direct service provider role assisting homeless transitional aged youth and families. In Santa Clara and Monterey counties, his focus was supporting school districts with technical assistance and guidance under the Mckinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and administering two Education for Homeless Children and Youth grant programs. Brown’s experience is rooted in working with local service providers and seeking out appropriate partnerships between agencies, schools, and families.
Since the pandemic began, Brown says that his work has evolved primarily in terms of his availability. “I keep my work phone on 24/7 in the event I need to support our community partners or unsheltered families. I think the access makes a huge difference in the impact our housing programs have on the shelter residents,” says Brown. “It brings about peace of mind and ease, as they know if something out of their control happens they can connect with a city representative for support.”
An alumnus of SJSU’s MPA program, Brown attributes his strengthened leadership skills to his time as a graduate student. “The program helped me understand my role within my organization and how I can use my position and skillset to further advance the mission of the City of San José. Adding the skills I have gained from the MPA program and being able to directly implement them during this public health crisis has been the best takeaway from the program,” Brown says.
“The work does not end once you graduate from your program. It is only the beginning! Being able to have a strong connection with classmates and professors after graduation has opened more opportunities for me to continue my public service career. Make sure to network within your program and once you graduate from your program.”