Shelter is important for the safety of households experiencing homelessness. To break the cycle of homelessness and obtain permanent, stable housing, however, we believe case management is essential. To that end, each client who stays in the shelter meets with our case manager at least once each week during their stay.
Within the first 24 hours of checking into shelter, a client schedules an initial meeting with our case manager. During this meeting the case manager learns the client's current situation and barriers to housing. Every household's experience with homelessness is different, so our case manager spends the initial meeting building a relationship with the client and learning their unique, individual needs. The case manager also learns about the client's current financial situation, employment status, and any services they are receiving, such as Social Security, Disability, or treatment.
In 2015, unemployment was the most-reported primary cause of homelessness.
After learning about a client's unique situation, the case manager works with the client to establish personal, individualized goals. Because we utilize a housing first approach to ending homelessness, all clients share the goal of obtaining housing, regardless their barriers or other needs. The type of housing appropriate for them will vary, however. We work closely with Waypoint's Rapid Rehousing program to help clients quickly obtain housing.
Beyond housing, clients' personal goals vary. For a client of retirement age, someone who is disabled, or someone who is already employed, seeking full-time employment may not be an appropriate goal or a good use of time. For another client, however, full-time employment may be a primary goal. The case manager helps each client establish appropriate goals and then offers referrals to additional agencies and resources that can help the client meet their goals.
"To know their stories is to know our own."
Martha Carter, Case Manager
The case manager continues to meet weekly with clients during their stay at the shelter to provide assistance and guidance and to promote progress and accountability. Once a client exits the shelter to some form of housing, the case manager follows up with them for the next six months to help them maintain housing and promote stability. The case manager often carriers out home visits to help address additional needs the clients may have.
Case Management is:
Case Management includes: