Ending homelessness is a complex and multifaceted endeavor. Case management has been identified as a critical tool to end a person’s or a family’s homelessness successfully.
Case management refers to a collaborative and planned approach to ensuring that a person who experiences homelessness gets the services and support they need to move forward. Originating in the mental health and addictions sector, the strategies and tools of case management can be used more broadly to help anyone who has experienced homelessness and overcome challenges. It is a comprehensive and strategic service provision whereby a case worker assesses the client’s needs (and potentially their family) and, where appropriate, arranges, coordinates, and advocates for delivery and access to various programs and services designed to meet the individual’s needs.
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A client-centered case management approach ensures that the person who has experienced homelessness has a significant say in identifying goals and service needs and that there is shared accountability. Case management aims to empower people, draw on their strengths and capabilities, and promote an improved quality of life by facilitating timely access to the necessary support and thus reduce the risk of homelessness and help them achieve housing stability.
In reviewing case management as a critical component of strategies to end homelessness, the research identifies that case management is a strengths-based team approach with
Case management is the desired strategy for the government’s housing-related programs. Case management is essential to the success of the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP). Effective case managers provide a blend of assessments and coordinate services. They possess in-depth knowledge of communities, available services, and housing, and genuine empathy and respect for the families and individuals seeking assistance. HPRP case managers use this expertise and empathy to provide sufficient benefits to help families move through crisis towards stability.
A meeting with a case manager is required to receive HPRP assistance, although it is only sometimes the first step. Some communities have a screening, intake, assessment, and eligibility determination process that precedes assignment to a case manager, while other communities will have case managers performing the eligibility task. Regardless of the arrangement, the meeting with the case manager should be regarded as a program requirement and an early opportunity to help a household improve its housing stability during and beyond HPRP assistance.
Case management has been defined as a “collaborative process that assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors, and evaluates the options and services required to meet the client’s health and human service needs. It is characterized by advocacy, communication, and resource management, promoting quality and cost-effective interventions and outcomes. Within HPRP, case management focuses on housing stability and placement, emphasizing the arrangement, coordination, monitoring, and delivery of services related to housing needs and improving housing stability. Due to the limited nature of HPRP services (short or middle-term assistance), case management in this context focuses on needs that can be addressed within a set time frame and with available resources.
Case management includes identification, assessment, planning, resource acquisition, stabilization, and support for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing. While these tasks fall into the same categories, there are distinct differences in approach and content for prevention and rapid re-housing.
Case management here focuses on determining the need for specific levels of housing assistance and helping the household identify and obtain affordable housing with HPRP assistance.
Once housing is stabilized—whether through prevention or rapid re-housing assistance—the case manager can help the household identify other resources needed to maintain this stability, e.g., health insurance, benefits, child care services, food, and clothing. If a household needs and desires ongoing services, the HPRP case manager can make the appropriate referrals. However, long-term needs are not a focus of the HPRP program.
Highly skilled and effective case management is a core component of HPRP services. The case manager assesses household needs, determines the best plan of action to address those needs, and facilitates access to the services and resources necessary for long-term housing stabilization. This tool and the related training materials are designed to help system planners consider issues and make decisions about how case management in the local homelessness service delivery system helps support the best use of this Federal funding opportunity. E effective, strengths-based case management is essential to the success of the HPRP goals.
Providing housing assistance to those in need by collecting data, assessing needs, and securing funding for transitional housing is a tough job requiring a multilateral effort from your entire team and your beneficiaries. But as long as you are strategic and center your beneficiaries, you’ll find allies in your community.
If you’re running a transitional housing program, we commend you and are excited to support you. If you need case Management software, consider contacting us today to see if it could help you make operations more straightforward and your programs more effective and secure. We at PlanStreet provide case management software that is feature rich with secure data storage, easy client intake and needs assessment, comprehensive case management, and referral options from within the platform, making it your ultimate choice for homeless case management software.