Spend a few moments with Shauna Barry and you may begin to think she was tailor-made for this field of work. As we sit down for our interview, Shauna says, “I’m so glad we got to do this. I love talking about work.” She says it with no hint of irony. Shauna is the embodiment of doing whatever it takes to give the clients in her programs the best chance at a stable life.
Shauna grew up in Connecticut. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Fordham University, double majoring in Women’s Studies and Peace and Justice Studies. After graduating, she completed a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, where she worked in a homeless shelter in North Carolina. She came to New York in 2009 and joined the BronxWorks Homeless Outreach Team as a Case Manager. In 2013, Shauna enrolled at Hunter College for her Master’s in Social Work. She completed her internship at Morris Senior Center through the BronxWorks One Year Residency (OYR) program and then spent two years as the Clinical Coordinator at The Brook in order to receive her clinical license. She was promoted to Program Director of the Care Coordination Program and then helped open the Cooper Gardens Supportive Housing Program in 2019. Most recently, Shauna opened her second supportive housing program and is now the Program Director of Park Haven.
We want people to see themselves as valued and heard and able to occupy their own space.”
Shauna explains that the key challenge is, “re-adjusting people’s narrative that everything doesn’t go well for them – showing them that things can get better, that you can do better, things aren’t always your fault, the world can treat you better.” A particularly difficult component of supportive housing is helping people work through trauma. Shauna relies on humor to help her, her team, and her residents work through these tough moments.
“I want to normalize that we are all doing our best.”
Outside of work, Shauna can be found reading, or watching the Real Housewives, or walking her dog, Peter, whom she adopted after fostering him for some time. She has fostered six dogs, some for months at a time, and some as repeated fosters, through the Heavenly Angel Animal Rescue.