When families first enter our program, they are often at a point of desperation. Once the immediate concern of providing shelter and healthy meals is accomplished, it is the task of case management to identify the obstacles they must overcome in order to secure stable housing.
The circumstances that generated the family’s crisis must be identified before they can be solved. This is a sensitive process, for while some factors may be outside the family’s control, certain issues or dynamics within the family may need to be addressed. Case management must therefore offer honest and direct interpretation of the challenges faced, as well as empathy and encouragement, so that the guests can begin to adopt a goal-oriented perspective.
It is important to note that guests must partner with case management and be willing to do the necessary work that will lead them back into the community as stable, self-sufficient members. The guests work with the case manager in developing an individualized family plan designed to document the issues that will be addressed during their stay in our network. The issues are unique to each family and may range from developing a transportation strategy to completing a job-training program, finding legal advocacy, or completing a GED.
All guests are required to save 70% to 90% of their income while in the program insuring their ability to secure housing, pay debt owed for utilities, heating and other debt, which would hinder their ability to secure housing. All expenses are recorded and receipts kept for all expenditures in order to provide the counselor the opportunity to review money management abilities and design a budgeting plan that the family can use when they return to the community as residents.
Case management also works to teach parenting skills, communication skills with other guests and with volunteers. Case management is designed to teach the skills needed for successful transition to permanent housing, and to build the guests’ ability to sustain their self-sufficiency.