Housing First For Families Overview


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The initial briefing on the Housing First philosophy that I prepared for the COTS Board of Directors (Prepared January 2007)

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Housing First For Families Overview

  1. 1. Housing First For Families Overview Prepared By: J.X. Gilmore Grant Compliance Officer
  2. 3. Program Design
  3. 4. Common Program Design Components <ul><li>Initial crisis intervention </li></ul><ul><li>Housing services </li></ul><ul><li>Home-based case management </li></ul><ul><li>Direct financial assistance </li></ul>
  4. 5. 1. Initial Crisis Intervention <ul><li>COMMON DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Basic level of crisis intervention services </li></ul><ul><li>Initial case management planning </li></ul><ul><li>DIFFERENCES IN DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Referral source (i.e. emergency shelter or transitional housing) </li></ul>
  5. 6. 2. Housing Services <ul><li>COMMON DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Staff who recognize the needs of private market landlords as well as clients </li></ul><ul><li>Family Needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarify housing needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help develop rental resumes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist in obtaining housing subsidies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide one-on-one and group tenant education workshops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist in locating appropriate housing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiate lease terms with and on behalf of clients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist with move-in costs and security deposits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Landlords Needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct ongoing and specific outreach to recruit landlords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mediate conflicts between landlord and tenants as appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DIFFERENCES IN DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Availability of housing subsidies </li></ul><ul><li>Landlord incentives (i.e. pay filing fees if tenants break lease agreements, lease transfer) </li></ul><ul><li>Search support separate from case management </li></ul>
  6. 7. 3. Case Management <ul><li>COMMON DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Services are not a precondition for obtaining housing but designed to help families after they are in permanent homes. </li></ul><ul><li>Home-based case management services for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linkingage with mainstream social services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure children are enrolled and attending school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide crisis management assistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help participants work toward case management goals developed at the outset of program participation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DIFFERENCES IN DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Length of time case management services are available (i.e. intensive at the outset and end after 60 days) </li></ul><ul><li>Mandatory vs. Voluntary (i.e. voluntary participation via a signed contract outlining their willingness to participate or made mandatory for a certain period of time </li></ul>
  7. 8. 4. Direct Financial and In-Kind Assistance <ul><li>COMMON DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Provision of discretionary funds (i.e. previous utility bills, moving costs, rental deposits, etc…) with a spending limit per family as opposed to a set amount. Thus, some families may receive less if they have savings or other resources </li></ul><ul><li>Help participants obtain furniture, food and other “set up” goods either directly or through referral </li></ul><ul><li>DIFFERENCES IN DESIGN ELEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>The amount of assistance participants receive and who receives financial assistance </li></ul>
  8. 9. Program Staffing
  9. 10. <ul><li>Utilizes a case management approach that empowers individuals to define and work towards goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to work off-site and outside of the regular 9-5 work day. </li></ul><ul><li>Able to engage and interest families in taking advantage of case management. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides home-based case management </li></ul><ul><li>Links participants to community support services </li></ul>Case Management <ul><li>Understands the needs, interests, and concerns of landlords </li></ul><ul><li>Able to help participants identify their housing needs </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledgeable about landlord-tenant law and can advise landlords and tenants about their mutual rights and responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Recruits and develops strong relationships with landlords </li></ul><ul><li>Assists participants in finding appropriate housing </li></ul><ul><li>Provides tenant education </li></ul><ul><li>Conducts outreach to landlord </li></ul>Housing Search <ul><li>Strong management and leadership skills </li></ul><ul><li>Able to develop trusting and collaborative relationships with referring agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Manages financial tracking system for efficient funds access </li></ul><ul><li>General program administration: planning, fundraising, hiring, etc… </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinates partner agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Conducts outreach and training of referral agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Administers direct financial assistance </li></ul>Program Administration Competencies Responsibilities Function
  10. 11. <ul><li>On average, Housing First programs have a ratio of approximately 1:25 </li></ul><ul><li>The ratio of housing specialists varies based on program design and job description </li></ul><ul><li>Staff are expected to have general competencies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills in working with diverse populations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience working with families with multiple needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect for personal and professional roles and responsibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge of the culture and language of clients served </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to establish trusting relationships with clients and able to handle crisis situations </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Community Linkages
  12. 13. Types of Community Linkages <ul><li>LINKAGES TO REFERRAL AGENCIES </li></ul><ul><li>School social workers </li></ul><ul><li>Central intake (i.e. Harp Program) </li></ul><ul><li>LINKAGES TO MAINSTREAM SERVICE PROVIDERS </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency and transitional housing facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Mental health service providers </li></ul>The function of the case managers in a Housing First program is less to provide one-on-one or group service to clients, and more to link clients with existing services in their communities.
  13. 14. Funding
  14. 15. <ul><li>There is usually no single funding source that specifically supports Housing First programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Programs that are more expensive provide a higher level of direct financial assistance and longer period of case management services </li></ul>
  15. 16. Barriers to Implementation and Sustainability <ul><li>Funding </li></ul><ul><li>Contractual obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Paradigm shift </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of affordable housing </li></ul><ul><li>Hiring staff with the right skills </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging transitional and emergency shelters to refer clients promptly </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping families engaged in case management services after entering housing </li></ul><ul><li>Being the landlord </li></ul>
  16. 17. Project Launch Checklist <ul><li>Understand and adopt the Housing First philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Define target population </li></ul><ul><li>Assess existing community programs to enable streamlining and avoid duplication </li></ul><ul><li>Identify funding </li></ul><ul><li>Buy-in from board, staff and funders </li></ul><ul><li>Develop program goals </li></ul><ul><li>Define program design </li></ul><ul><li>Hire and/or (re)train staff </li></ul><ul><li>Develop community linkages </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct outreach to landlords </li></ul><ul><li>Track program success and challenges </li></ul>