The Adventure of Valley Patriot Mascot, Kane – Sept, 2022
Promoting Health, Wellness, and Financial Stability for Residents
Paula Gouveia an admired and long-term resident of Lowell, serves as the registered public health and wellness nurse employed by the Lowell Housing Authority. Paula explained to Kane that this career was the perfect opportunity to serve her fellow community members and give back to the community she loves. Hired in November, Paula hit the ground running in coordination with the Lowell Health Alliance to determine the top wellness challenges experienced by her residents in affordable and public housing. Paula explained to Kane this information was compiled through a federal wellness survey.
A few of the challenges identified in the survey were isolation especially during the virus, mental health, safety, and housing insecurity due to finances. When Kane met Paula, he knew that she was a networker. Paula brings resources directly to the residents to promo. a healthy body, mind, financial security and a healthy home. The Lowell Housing Authority writes grants to runs self- Sufficiency programs, networks with the community mental health agencies, primary care doctors and the police department to create a safe environment for residents, and families to find the resources needed to move towards health and financial stability. Paula said, “ “You can’t put the puzzle together, with missing pieces:”
Kane likes how Paula looks at the whole person and supports them in finding the resources they need. Paula explained to Kane that anyone can fall into hard times and affordable housing options allow residents an opportunity to live in a housing community while working towards greater independence or for the elderly and disabled clients a supportive affordable living community. Paula explained that her residents may be families that lost their primary bread winner, people who lost their income, people who became sick, combat veterans acclimating to the civilian world, survivors of domestic violence, and working families with children affected by inflation and the high cost of everything. Paula’s says, “I love my job, I can’t believe they pay me to give back to the people in my community.”
Kane knows a lot of nurses, but Paula is the only nurse he knows that works in Community Public Health. Paula explained that she has worked for 33 years as a nurse in the operating room and wound care. She was grateful for the experience but her current position is also a very rewarding and a perfect match. By cultivating relationships with the residents, she is able to build trust and help build bridges for the residents to support each other and connect them to the resources the community has to offer. Paula explained to Kane she builds trust by hosting lunches, offering social events like Bingo and being present in the housing developments so she is seen regularly. Kane thought wow he likes to have lunch. His humans only give him breakfast and dinner.
These types of social events allow people to meet each other to help with isolation and community building. Paula feels she has made many inroads in being a trusted member of the community. Residents often call for health and wellness advice. Although she does not officially work as a medical nurse, she does provide comfort and provide clinical information to emergency responders at a housing development call.
Paula also feels connected and grateful for the Housing Authority Community that supports her. The Lowell Housing Authority Administration is very dedicated to Resident health and well- being. Paula hosted a teen health fair this month that Kane attended. At this event he met both the Executive Director Dr. Gary Wallace and Assistant Executive Director Adam Garvey. The staff is supportive of each other and very hands on. During our interview Paula contacted Assistant Executive Director Adam Garvey to discuss the recent purchase of a downtown Lowell Building for Veterans Housing. As Paula said ‘we love our veterans!’ She said the staff is very eager to start this project and an additional project for future veterans housing.
Well Kane was sad to see Paula go at the end of the interview. She brings a lot of light into the room. He rewarded her with so many kisses it was hard to get a picture. It’s ok, Paula likes kisses. Kane was so delighted to meet such a positive person in our community and looks forward to seeing Paula again. She is a true advocate for the people in our community.
Kane Peaslee, Columnist
Valley Patriot ◊