Michael St. André is a husband and a father of three. As a family man, he came to the Clinic seeking more stable employment after an opportunity arose in the Clinic’s Housing Department in 2012. “I had been working several jobs concurrently, but none of them were steady enough,” he says. Convinced that the Clinic was the right move for him and his family, Michael became a Housing Counselor. “I work with clients that find themselves in various stages of foreclosure,” he says. “I listen to their mortgage situation to assess what’s really going on and walk alongside them, advising them of the next best step forward.”
For Michael, his faith in Christ is at the center of all that he does, including his job. Growing up in a Christian home, his parents encouraged him and his siblings to work through their faith and make it their own. As a result of this encouragement, Michael sought to learn more about God and the Bible. “I believe that we are called to step into a lifetime of relationship with Jesus,” Michael says. “Just as with any other relationship, there will be seasons where I may feel disconnected or, for that matter, more connected. The truth, however, is that this is one-sided. God is at every turn. To realize his presence and provision is part of my faith journey.”
Indeed, recognizing God’s provision is often pivotal to the work that Michael does—most especially when that work is messy. “[At times, I find myself] working with some pretty broken situations and still not being able to fix them,” he says. On occasion, there are no good options for our clients; a foreclosure cannot be prevented and Michael finds himself in the position of having to deliver bad news. “I don’t like it when things don’t work,” he says. “My hope is that we can offer assistance of some sort often, yet it sometimes doesn’t take the shape that people are hoping for.” But even when things don’t work precisely as his clients would like, Michael is there to walk through the process alongside them.
Of course, the difficult aspects of Michael’s job do not negate the best parts. For him, most of these moments involve collaboration with co-workers or clients to bring about change. “All of the moments that stand out are those that I find myself journeying with another toward a common resolve: what is desired, what’s next, and how do we move in that direction,” says Michael. “In my line of work, this can mean reaching toward a specific housing program or lender workout, or it may mean brainstorming with my colleagues through a particular challenge.”
Such collaboration is beautiful to Michael, when he and his co-workers are able to use their skills to assist another person through a difficult time. ”My work as a housing counselor allows me to be in a position to serve those that may not otherwise be able to navigate their terrain on their own,” he says. “And I believe that as a follower of Christ, I am to love and serve everyone that is in front of me.”
To learn more about the Clinic’s Foreclosure Prevention Program, please visit our website.