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5.9 What Does “Improving Shelter” Look Like? A Discussion for Organizational Change (Ryczek)
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5.9 What Does “Improving Shelter” Look Like? A Discussion for Organizational Change (Ryczek)

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This workshop will explore what it means to improve shelter in the context of two critical areas; (1) measuring length of stay and using that data to improve the program; and (2) quality and …

This workshop will explore what it means to improve shelter in the context of two critical areas; (1) measuring length of stay and using that data to improve the program; and (2) quality and effectiveness of the services offered in shelter and the degree to which they are focused on preparing clients for housing.

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  • 1. WHAT DOES IMPROVING SHELTER LOOK LIKE? Rhode Island’s OPERATION FIRST STEP PROGRAM Jim Ryczek Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless 1070 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860 [email_address]
  • 2. HISTORY
    • WELCOME ARNOLD (A RI Revolutionary War Hero)
      • Over 25 years RI’s Largest Congregate Shelter;
      • 114 Bed Capacity (for unaccompanied Men & Women);
      • Night-to-Night;
      • Limited to No Effective Case Management;
      • In June, 2006 the shelter was designated to close and be razed to build the new RI State Police Barracks on the site;
  • 3. History (cont.)
    • Advocates objected to the replacement of Welcome Arnold with another large congregate shelter;
    • Advocates instead promoted community-based, scattered site apartment and/or group home model;
    • Intensive case management as a central component;
    • This resulted in a delay in the closing of Welcome Arnold until March 15, 2007;
  • 4. Advocacy Opportunity: The Window Opens…
    • Leverage existed with Governor’s press statement: “I have pledged to ensure that every individual using that facility is accommodated before construction begins. [N]othing whatsoever will happen at Welcome Arnold until we have established a plan to ensure that we can provide for the facility’s residents going forward.”
    • These statements would come back to haunt him…but, not persuade him and his administration to allocate more resources.
  • 5. Advocacy Opportunity: The Window Opens…
    • We won on the new model…
    • We did not win bringing the new model to scale;
      • W.A. = 114 beds in a Night-to-Night Shelter;
      • Accommodated 297 individuals in Feb. 2007;
      • New Operation First Step Program = 100 beds;
    • Several challenges emerged in implementation;
      • First 100 beds ≠ 297 people!;
      • Co-operation &Collaboration Issues.
  • 6. First 100 beds ≠ 297 people!
    • Funding restricted to approx. what Welcome Arnold cost = $700,000;
    • A Decentralized, Community based model would serve 100 clients (70 women, 30 men) at any point-in-time;
    • There would no longer be ANY emergency women’s shelter in the state;
    • The transition would happen in a 24 hr. period;
    • Overflow would result and must be planned for…
  • 7. Co-operation & Collaboration Issues
    • “ Silo-ization”& competition for scare resources had not fomented close collaborative relationships;
    • Further exacerbated by philosophical issues;
    • Implementation Committee formed to oversee & coordinate the transition;
    • Made up of executive directors of 5 agencies chosen to replace W.A. with the new Operation First Step Program.
  • 8. Cost to the State = $3.8 Million
  • 9. PROGRAM AGENCIES
      • CROSSROADS RI
        • Intake/Assessment
      • URBAN LEAGUE RI
        • Women (younger)
      • AMOS HOUSE
        • Substance free/recovery
      • MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATES/OASIS
        • Mental Health
      • HOUSE OF HOPE CDC
        • Women (older)
  • 10. GOALS OF FIRST STEP
    • Assess and Identify Basic Needs;
    • Provide Effective Case Management & Treatment Planning;
    • Achieve Better Stability and Sustainability;
    • Transition to Permanent Housing.
  • 11. Program Modifications
    • Implementation Committee was Re-organized into an ongoing Monitoring & Evaluation Committee;
    • E.D.s were replaced by Program Directors and those responsible for direct care/case management;
    • Regular weekly meeting became bi-weekly, then monthly meetings.
  • 12. Coordination of Services
    • Devise Common Policies & Protocols;
    • Resolve Difficult Cases & Programmatic Issues;
    • Increase Communication & Collaboration;
    • Promote Intensive Client-Centered Case Management;
    • Promote good Treatment Planning & Evaluation.
  • 13. INTENSIVE SUPPORTIVE SERVICES
    • Housing;
    • Employment;
    • Public Benefits;
    • Appropriate Referral & Follow Through on them;
    • Health & Mental Health Assessment;
    • Reintegration;
      • Family; and,
      • Community.
  • 14. CHALLENGES
    • 100 beds in Community-based program ≠ 100 beds in a night-to-night shelter…this took us years to address;
    • Collaborating;
    • Communication;
    • Case manger training and expertise;
    • Maintaining confidentiality.
  • 15. OUTCOMES
    • First Year:
      • 38 % obtained permanent housing, as opposed to 11% from the shelter system;
      • 33% increased their income from entry to exit as opposed to 15% in the shelter system;
    • The most recent year…thing continue to improve:
      • 63% obtained a positive housing placement;
      • 79% stayed < 6 mos.
      • 60% stayed < 3 mos.
      • 30% stayed < 1 mo.
  • 16. QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? OBSERVATIONS? SUGGESTIONS? Rhode Island’s OPERATION FIRST STEP PROGRAM Jim Ryczek Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless 1070 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860 [email_address]