4.4: Closing the Front Door: Decreasing Homelessness through Succesful Diversion


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4.4: Closing the Front Door: Decreasing Homelessness through Succesful Diversion

Presentation by Kim Walker

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  • Hi! Welcome to today’s session. I’ll be going over more of the nuts and bolts of diversion and leave plenty of time for Juanita to talk about programmatic issues and challenges. I will start with the basics, talk about system level considerations, and then drill down to the more programmatic stuff.
  • Assessment – Is this person able to be diverted? Services – Service provision happens at all points – intake, in housing Alternate Housing – alternate here means “alternate to shelter” – could be previous housing or other housing
  • Not trying to keep people out – just trying to prevent people from having to enter at all if at all avoidable. In order for this to really work, must provide services!
  • targeting
  • Coordinated Entry “ Front door” screens everyone for prevention and diversion immediately; refer those needing additional services to correct provider Using Diversion on Wait Lists Help consumers waiting for assistance link up with other housing options nearby
  • Example with a centralized intake location – easier in areas with good public transit, smaller geography
  • In this scenario (more decentralized/no wrong door), providers assess clients coming in and refer them back to a provider/organization that can provide prevention/diversion services.
  • You can add these to your current assessment tool or create a new one…either way, a common assessment tool is a huge asset, not just for diversion, but for your system in general.
  • Similar to what would be needed for prevention/RRH Think strategically about how you might use some of those same resources – staff and funding
  • Staffing & Training - Educate front-door, case manager, and mainstream service provider staff Spots to fill: intake, case management Program planning: look for people with funding knowledge
  • Similarity to addressing barriers approach of rapid re-housing Create a service map! Track what you are offering, what clients need most – may influence what you decide to provide yourself and what you farm out to other providers. Can also anticipate service needs and partners needed.
  • What would you do if no other housing resources were available?
  •   Think strategically about bridge funds
  • 4.4: Closing the Front Door: Decreasing Homelessness through Succesful Diversion

    1. 1. Making Diversion Work for You National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness Presented by: Kimberly Walker Capacity Building Associate
    3. 3. It’s NOT… <ul><li>Denying shelter to those who need it </li></ul><ul><li>Sending people away from access to services </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention, because the people seeking assistance are coming to the front door seeking shelter </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid re-housing, though it may be a part of the rapid re-housing process </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why Use It? <ul><li>Improves outcomes : Reduces entries into homelessness </li></ul><ul><li>Improves quality of life : Helps families avoid stress of shelter life; allows organizations to serve families in a friendlier setting </li></ul><ul><li>Conserves resources : Preserve shelter beds as an “as-necessary” option </li></ul><ul><li>Cuts down on length of stay* : Cuts down on shelter wait lists </li></ul>
    5. 5. Diversion and Your System <ul><li>Works best: </li></ul><ul><li>At the front door </li></ul><ul><li>With coordinated entry </li></ul><ul><li>… because then it’s the first type of assistance offered/keeps people out of automatically entering shelter or another program. </li></ul><ul><li>… because then it can be coordinated with rapid re-housing and other services. Opens up the option of diverting off a central waiting list. </li></ul>
    6. 6. One Example: Coordinated Entry Prevention or Diversion ( Back to original housing; friends or family) FRONT DOOR Intake Assessment Shelter Entry or Rapid Re-Housing Referral (for those with specific/intensive needs)
    7. 7. … and with “no wrong door” PROVIDER PROVIDER PROVIDER PROVIDER PROVIDER Diversion/Prevention Services
    8. 8. Best Practice: Program Level <ul><ul><li>Be creative about housing options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think through every available resource a person might have – previous housing, family, friends, co-workers, friends from religious institutions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore home-based and community services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about a service plan as soon as you’ve assessed someone who is eligible for diversion. Map out what services they’ll need and in which settings. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep an eye on service trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyzing which services are needed the most can help you identify new partnership opportunities. </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Key Assessment Questions <ul><li>Where did you sleep last night? </li></ul><ul><li>What other housing options do you have for the next few days, weeks, months…? What issues might there be with this housing situation? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it possible/safe to stay in your current housing? What resources would you need to do that? (financial assistance, case management, mediation, transportation, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Are you fleeing a domestic violence situation? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Financial Assistance <ul><li>Rental subsidy (short term) </li></ul><ul><li>Rental/utility arrears </li></ul><ul><li>Moving costs </li></ul><ul><li>Money for houser </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation to housing </li></ul>
    11. 11. Staffing and Case Management <ul><li>Conflict mediation (landlords, potential houser) </li></ul><ul><li>Help acquiring benefits/subsidies </li></ul><ul><li>Housing stability plan </li></ul><ul><li>Budgeting </li></ul><ul><li>Referrals </li></ul><ul><li>Connection to mainstream services </li></ul>Assessment Post-visit check-ins STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3
    12. 12. Services Community Employment Services Benefits Substance Abuse/ Mental Health Health Care At Intake Assessment Referral Housing Information Crisis Management In Housing Case Management Stabilization Planning
    13. 13. Cooperation Co-locate services Get referrals from service providers Ensure equal access
    14. 14. Quiz: To Divert or Not to Divert? <ul><li>Your case: </li></ul><ul><li>A single mother </li></ul><ul><li>Two kids </li></ul><ul><li>Evicted due to a pricey medical bill (no insurance) </li></ul><ul><li>Rental and utility arrears (2 months each) </li></ul>
    15. 15. What Does it Look Like? <ul><li>Go through potential housers – one co-worker for two weeks, provide stipend for family </li></ul><ul><li>Case manager talks to landlord, works out that family can stay if rental and utility arrears paid </li></ul><ul><li>Program covers costs of rental/utility issues </li></ul><ul><li>Case manager helps mother apply for LIHEAP </li></ul><ul><li>Other ideas? </li></ul>
    16. 16. Diversion, Dollars and Cents TANF financial assistance, subsidized employment, case management HPRP rental assistance, relocation, and services HEARTH rental assistance, mediation, and services LOCAL FUNDS Flexibility is key!
    17. 17. Evaluating Progress <ul><li>Size of wait list? </li></ul><ul><li>New entries into homelessness? </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat entries into homelessness? </li></ul><ul><li>Length of stay in homelessness? </li></ul><ul><li>Diverted families returning to shelter? </li></ul>
    18. 18. Additional Resources <ul><li>General Information </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a Plan for the Homelessness Prevention Fund </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/2185 </li></ul><ul><li>Program Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Dudley Diversion Project Write-Up </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/2208 </li></ul><ul><li>2010 Conference Workshop: Diversion and Housing Relocation Services </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.endhomelessness.org/section/_2010conferencepresentations/_housingrelocationservices </li></ul><ul><li>Ending Family Homelessness: Lessons from Communities </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/3270 </li></ul>