Shelter diversion


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Shelter diversion by Ed Boyte from 6.5 Maximizing System Effectiveness through Homelessness Prevention from the 2013 National Conference on Ending Homelessness

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Shelter diversion

  1. 1. Cleveland Mediation Center 2012 w. 25th Street Suite 412 Cleveland OH 44113
  2. 2. Cuyahoga County  Northeast Ohio  1.2 Million people  Largest city is Cleveland  Contains 60 cities, villages and townships  Median household income $43,603  Median family income $58,631.  About 10% of families and 13% of the population is below the poverty line.
  3. 3. Cleveland  Population is now just under 400,000  Most clients come from Cleveland and from the older, inner-ring suburbs.  Median income is $24,687.  Median gross rent is $605.  Fairly soft housing market -- many doubles owned by individuals.  Finding decent units and passing inspections – especially for lead paint -- can be a challenge due to older housing stock.
  4. 4. Homeless Services Major funding is through the county and city Office of Homeless Services.  Within last few years -- under HPRP -- shelters have begun to work though Coordinated Intake (CI) for all their beds.  Most shelters are faith-based – only a few decline public funds and don’t fully participate in CI.  The county has several large community foundations that fund services (Cleveland, Gund, Sisters of Charity).
  5. 5. Coordinated Shelter (CI) Intake  CI is for those seeking a shelter bed – it is not general help for those facing a housing crisis.  We have 211/First Call for Help – they refer those at risk of homelessness to appropriate (and scarce) resources.  211 only sends those who need a shelter bed to CI.  Single men go to CI at the men’s shelter.  Families (M, F or MF headed) and women go to the other CI spot at the single women’s shelter.  Staffed 5 days, 7am -7pm. Weekends 9pm-5pm.
  6. 6. Coordinated Intake: Assessment, Planning, Linkage  FRONT LINE SERVICE, formerly Mental Health Services, runs CI, working closely with Diversion / CMC and the areas shelters.  HOUSING BARRIER ASSESSMENT - Rental History, History of Homelessness, Income, AOD, MH, Family Size, Legal, Work history, etc.  HOUSING PLANS – Charting a path to housing – plans follow residents to shelters if not diverted.  LINKAGES - Behavioral Health - Child Welfare, Invest in Children, etc.  NEXT STOP IS Cleveland Mediation Center for Diversion
  7. 7. Cleveland Mediation Center Programs include:  mediation and conflict resolution training,  neighborhood, community mediation  homeless prevention intervention and mediation for Veterans &  a homeless diversion program in the shelters. CMC promotes just and peaceful community in Northeast Ohio by honoring all people, building their capacity to act, and facilitating opportunities for them to engage in conflict constructively. 7
  8. 8. Current Diversion Work in the Shelters 1. Help persons determine if it’s possible for them to stay anywhere else that’s safe, other than a shelter. This could be temporary or permanent. 2. We have funds for local and Greyhound bus tickets, food, grocery & gas station gift cards, or utility assistance that can be used to help persons stay with friends or family.  Use ESG funds for back rent or 1st month’s rent & deposit.  Most persons we see have been doubled up – staying temporarily with friends or family.
  9. 9.  When the doubled up situation becomes unmanageable persons come to the shelter.  Some families may only be able to stay where they were temporarily. If they need their own place – and they can afford to pay rent – we help them locate a unit, inspect and assist with 1st months rent/dep. while they stay with in a safe place w/friends or family.  Even those options that were off-limits may become an option once it’s known we can assist with permanent housing.  Those undiverted immediately return to CI for a shelter bed. County shelters everyone in need.
  10. 10. Latest Stats, 9 months, Oct ‘12 – June ‘13 Single men  Saw 1047 (Ave. 116 month)  Diverted 203 (23/mth)– or 19% Diversion Rate  73 Received Financial Assistance (8/mth) Single women  Saw 150 (17/mth)  Diverted 40 (4.5/mth) – or 27% Diversion Rate  24 Received Financial Assistance (2.7/mth) Families  Saw 1758 (195/mth)  Diverted 565 (63/mth) – or 32% Diversion Rate  233 Received Financial Assistance (26/mth)
  11. 11. CMC Diversion Staff  Cover same hours as CI: 7am-9pm M-TH, 7-7 Friday, 9-5 Sat and Sun  Two and 1/2 full-time in each shelter (i.e. 5 diversion workers)  One F.T. Program Manager  Assistant Director at about 1/3 time  Interviewing and hiring the right people is key.  We now expect well-qualified people to apply and not be quite the right fit.  Current staff are interviewed by job candidates.
  12. 12. Conflict Resolution Approach  Based on Transformative Mediation Theory  Homelessness is a crisis – and CMC asserts that like in conflict, persons in crisis are less able to clearly think through problems and advocate for themselves than they are when not in crisis.  So as in conflict, we first listen and validate their experience – as our mission says, honoring all people, building their capacity to act.  Client-centered. We don’t assume what people need, we help them articulate their needs.
  13. 13. •We use a strength-based approach – helping clients identify and mine strengths, successes and resources they’ve used in the past to help them with this bout of homelessness. •Consistent with CMC mission of honoring, validating and building persons’ capacity to act, we are non-judgmental. •We support and trust that persons want to succeed, have done so previously and help them tap into their own strengths and past successes to help them with their current situation.
  14. 14. Successes Our staff. After an early hire -- who had shelter and mediation background didn’t work out -- we broadened our search. We emphasized candidates’ beliefs and attitudes, and had them demonstrate their skills in the shelters during the interview process with our staff providing crucial feedback. Evidence-based tracking via HMIS Service Point has been helpful in showing what has worked. Our goal is to divert 25% of clients entering shelter.
  15. 15. Instituting a Diversion Program at your Agency CMC is happy to talk to you about setting up – or greatly enhancing – diversion. Please feel free to email or call Ed Boyte about helping with implementing, hiring and training staff (including submitting a proposal for grant funding). Ed Boyte, Cleveland Mediation Center 216-621-1919, ext. 103 or 216-513-3604.
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