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5.2 Services Optional: Using a Voluntary Services Approach
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5.2 Services Optional: Using a Voluntary Services Approach


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5.2 Services Optional: Using a Voluntary Services Approach …

5.2 Services Optional: Using a Voluntary Services Approach

Programs increasing rely on voluntary services and harm reduction strategies to successfully work with vulnerable families and youth. This workshop will examine how providers have made the transition to a voluntary-services approach and how it has impacted their program outcomes.

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  • 1. Services Optional: Using a Voluntary Services Approach Presentation to National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference February 10th, 2012 Deanne Pearn, Co-Founder and VP of Policy
  • 2.  First Place was founded in 1998 to end poverty and homelessness among transition age youth (age16-24)  We are a statewide organization serving over 1,200 youth and providing housing and intensive services to over 350 youth and 100 children annually. First Place Mission
  • 3. A continuum of transitional support services for youth ages 16-24 that includes:  Access to permanent, safe affordable housing with a transitional rental subsidy  Employment training, employment case management, and job development  Education assessment and academic support  Adult guidance, emotional support and positive peer relationships Program Overview
  • 4. My First Place Service Model Housing •Scattered site, master lease, permanent •Graduated rental subsidy •Move-in assistance •Strategic partnerships with developers •Separate property management arm Connections •Weekly check-ins with mobile Youth Advocate •Case loads ≤ 15 •Healthy connections with family, friends and others •Cohort model Education & Employment •EE Specialists: one-on-one •EE Manager: develops partnerships with employers •“Next Generation” EE services LONG TERM GOALS: 1) 2 years of PSE 2)Living wage employment 3) Permanent housing 4) Avoidance of risky behaviors, such as incarceration or early pregnancy
  • 5. Housing Options Scattered Site 85% Youth are placed in 1 and 2-bedroom apartments throughout the community with intensive support services. Host Home 8% Youth identify a Permanent Adult connection and live with that person in the family home Clustered 7% Sites in which we partner with affordable housing providers to obtain set aside units for youth in larger housing developments (i.e. 20 units for youth in a 80 unit building).
  • 6. My First Place Intake Process Eligibility/ Orientation •Age 18-23 •In foster care at 18 •Probation placement at 18 •Shelter stay within 2 yrs Assessment • Screens for risk factors such as homeless, no GED, disconnected • Prioritize highest risk youth for services Step it Up •Complete 2 week economic literacy training •Budgeting, goal setting, circles of support, CASAS exam •Must complete or can come to next class Waitlist •Youth moved in housing as it becomes available •Single youth replace single youth, parents replace parents •PRIORITY TO HIGHEST RISK YOUTH
  • 7. Measures of Success Stable Housing Up to 65% of former foster youth are at risk of homelessness 84% of our youth maintain stable housing Employment advancement Over 50% of former foster youth are unemployed 77% of First Place participants are employed Education advancement 64% of former foster youth do not complete high school and only 10% enroll in post secondary school 76% First Place participants earn a diploma/GED and 71% enroll in college Healthy Living 25% of former foster youth will be incarcerated before their 20th birthday and 60% of females will give birth before their 22nd birthday Less then 6% of First Place participants are incarcerated and less then 5% give birth
  • 8. Longer Stays Drive Success RISK FACTOR Overall Success Rate <17 Months > 17 Months Overall success 50% 26% 71% Unemployed 44% 21% 67% No HSD/GED 30% 10% 55% 4 or more placements 41% 27% 63% Homeless since leaving care 47% 28% 68% Pregnant/parenting 35% 21% 50% Probation history 31% 22% 43% Multiple risk factors 38% 22% 57% Definition of “Successful” graduation: Transitioned from MFP to Stable Housing AND at least ONE of the following: Employed for at least 9 months while in program OR Achieved HSD/GED while in program OR Completed at least 2 semesters of Post Secondary Education while in program (with passing grades) OR Achieved a vocational certificate OR college degree
  • 9. Engaging Youth While Allowing for “Consequences”  Housing first, with a focus on permanent housing, allows for emphasis on education, employment and other interpersonal gains  Youth development/harm reduction approach allows us to meet youth where they are at and keep in program  Partnership model where youth sets goals for education/employment and personal life and views YA and EE specialist as resources  Performance management system puts onus on staff to meet with their youth- and they are creative in making contacts  Mobile case management, mobile technology supports the work  Flexible with rent payment
  • 10. Are Youth Ever Asked to Leave Program?  YES- primary reason is for repeated tenancy violations and the landlord issues notice  Depending on circumstances, we may relocate youth  If we don’t relocate, we will work out a plan for youth to re-enter program after they demonstrate some changes  Overall involuntary exit rate is less than 10% (compared to 45% among similar providers)