Facing eviction, living in a motel, couch-surfing...
Many situations can lead a household to becoming homeless, and we believe that addressing those situations can stop homelessness before it begins. To that end our Homeless Prevention Case Managers work with households at risk of becoming homeless and connect them with services and resources that can help keep them housed.
When a family or individual first contacts our Prevention Case Manager—by phone or in person—our Case Manager works with them on an individualized case plan that will guide them to housing stability. For some clients, providing referral information to agencies such as energy assistance, food pantries, and general assistance is adequate. For others the Advocate needs to meet with the client to more thoroughly discuss barriers to housing stability and help establish an action plan based on the client’s needs and personal motivations. Such plans often include mediating with landlords to set up payment installments or helping secure financial support from other agencies. The Case Manager follows up with clients on a regular basis until they have been stably housed for 30 days. Once the household has become stable, a volunteer or the Case Manager will continue to follow up with them in order to provide additional support if needed.
In 2019 the most-reported situation of near-homelessness was households potentially facing an eviction due to being behind on rent.
Regardless the complexity of the client’s needs, the Prevention Advocate follows up with the client to see how they are coming in obtaining housing stability. If a client’s housing situation has become stable, they are formally exited from the program but can contact the Prevention Advocate if needed in the future. For those still facing housing instability, the Advocate continues to work with them until they are stably housed in some form, whether that’s the same or different housing.
95% of the clients who provided program exit information in 2019 were stably housed.
The Outreach Prevention Advocate has office hours at locations throughout Linn County, including the Public Libraries in downtown Cedar Rapids, the SW side of Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha, as well as the Ecumenical Community Center and Goodwill's Light Manufacturing Program. Case Managers also visit food pantries, meal sites, and clothing closets.