The Emergency Shelter case management team consists currently of three primary case managers responsible to create individualized plans with each family and individual to facilitate the move from crisis to more stable living.
We recognize that during the short time residents are in the Shelter, complete independence will not be achieved. Our goal is to ensure that each family and individual served is connected to area agencies and providers that will offer the necessary services to assist them in achieving sustainable independence in our community.
These case managers are supported by three additional programs internally. Together, this team of providers will develop with each individual a weekly plan to help assist them move toward independence.
These plans include goals for securing employment or maintaining employment, saving, securing transportation and/or day care, education or training, and basic life skills training. A vocational case manager will work in conjunction with the primary case manager to stabilize or secure a stream of income either from wages or benefits (W-2 cash payment, Social Security, VA, etc.)
In an effort to address the unique needs of some residents in stabilizing in our community, a GOAL Lab is available to persons without a high school diploma or others seeking to advance their basic math and literacy skills.
A mental health counselor is available to those in need of "emergency" mental health services to address their addiction, depression or the other category mental health illnesses so prevalent among the homeless.
The housing case manager helps support the capacity of the staff by assisting residents in connecting to subsidized or otherwise supported housing. Today, when such a severe lack of subsidized units exist in our community, having a dedicated staff to form and maintain relationships with the housing community is vitally important in assisting residents in moving to sustainable housing from the Emergency Shelter.
To learn more about how the case managers and programs work together, and also understand some of the issues surrounding homelessness, please read the narratives of Joe and Maria and Wally.
Ideally, all homeless persons leaving the Shelter would move to subsidized housing with support services. Unfortunately, in our community, too little subsidized housing exists and only one in eight persons served at the Emergency Shelter will have this option.
To prevent recidivism of those who move directly to market rate housing, a dedicated case manager on staff works to ensure that some support services are available to these vulnerable families and individuals. In just the first year of this pilot project, recidivism was cut by 55%.
This dedicated case manager also provides vital prevention services to person at-risk of experiencing homelessness. Many families and individuals contact the shelter to learn about our services because they believe they are going to be homeless. The Shelter staff members work with these folks to prevent an episode of homelessness by providing referral services to the resources they need to stay in their community based housing. In addition to referral services, prevention services include rental assistance, transportation assistance and other tangible services. On average, over 800 persons are served by this program per year. For more information see our Prevention Program page.
Establishing solid connections to the services offered within our community is the key for many at-risk families and individuals to begin the process of advancement or to prevent a second stay at the Emergency Shelter. Making the connection to these services while living in the Shelter is a vital part of the case management services provided to each resident.
A primary objective of the Shelter is not only to provide temporary housing, but to provide services that allow residents to be sustainably independent.
These services include:
- Resident Assessment Assess incoming residents and those at-risk of becoming homeless, identifying their barriers to stability and offer guidance toward independence.
- Financial Case managers assist residents in stabilizing their income, through competitive wage work, subsidized work experience, or benefit income.
- Housing Case managers assist residents in securing affordable housing.
- Mental/Physical Health Case managers locate available programs and services, and make referrals for mental and physical health needs.
- Life Skills Case managers provide assistance in education, employment, communication and life skills needs. PRIDE (People Responsible in Developing Employment) classes are taught each morning at the Shelter to adult residents.
- Adult Literacy / GOAL In collaboration with the Fox Valley Technical College, GOAL programming is made available to all adult residents in the shelter so they can complete their GED or HSED.
Street Outreach Program
The Street Outreach Program commenced in 2004 with a part time case manager and funding from a PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) Grant. This program is intended to serve as an Outreach program for those unable to access the services of the Shelter and the homeless who are chronically mentally ill using a 'housing first' approach. It fosters stability through housing and subsequently with connections to mental health and other service providers needed to maintain that stability. To learn more about how this program and also understand some of the issues surrounding homelessness, please read the narrative of Todd.