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Learning from Each Other: Using Case Management Techniques to Help WtW Clients Succeed in Lauderhill, Fl

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Agency: Broward County Housing Authority (BCHA)
(Size of WtW Program: 250 vouchers)

Challenge

Bringing WtW voucher programs to the "next level" by assessing client needs, providing supportive services, and helping WtW families seek and retain employment is a challenge for even the most successful WtW sites. One of the biggest impediments to administering a successful WtW program is not having a case management system that tracks client progress, identifies clients that need more assistance, and pinpoints the types of services required.

Solution: BCHA Case Management Techniques

BCHA has developed a case management system to effectively follow their WtW clients through the WtW program. This system allows BCHA staff to follow the progress that WtW families are making and to provide varying degrees of case management for these families, based on individual need.

Implementation

BCHA uses the following case management techniques to help WtW clients move to self-sufficiency:

  • BCHA committed resources to establish a full-time WtW Coordinator position. Working closely with BCHA's intake and FSS staff, the WtW Coordinator has a solid understanding of the needs of each WtW client and his/her employment and housing status. The WtW Coordinator asks all WtW clients to write down their goals using a specially designed Goal Sheet at the onset of their participation in the program. Whether she meets with clients quarterly or monthly, the WtW Coordinator consistently refers to the Goal Sheet and discusses client progress in meeting program goals.
  • BCHA is a member of the South Florida consortium. The consortium decided during the planning stages of the WtW voucher program to establish work requirements for WtW clients, including working full-time, attending school full-time, or doing a combination of the two. These work requirements are detailed in the WtW Contract of Participation, which each family is required to sign. All clients are given 120 days from the beginning of their participation in the program to fulfill these goals before disciplinary action is taken against them.
  • BCHA developed a Quarterly Review Form, and, as a condition of continued good standing in the program, BHCA requires that each client returns the completed form, including contact information and current employment/school activities.
  • To track whether or not clients have made contact for a given month, the WtW Coordinator keeps a simple Tally Sheet that identifies each client's current work and/or school choices. This sheet allows the WtW Coordinator easy access to basic data that allows her to efficiently manage and prioritize among the caseload of WtW families assigned to her. This system allows her to easily and quickly determine if a client needs additional support.
  • When a client has failed to meet the program's work requirements, BCHA requires that the WtW client attends a monthly seminar to discuss options for work and/or school. During the hour-long seminar, clients are reminded of the WtW program obligations that they must meet to remain eligible for housing assistance under the WtW program. BCHA arranges for community speakers to attend the seminar to share information about services available to WtW clients to help them find employment.
  • During the monthly seminar, the WtW Coordinator also gives clients an assignment. If they do not find work or enroll in school by the next month, clients are required to complete this assignment for the next month's meeting. Usually, this involves the client signing up with at least two temporary employment agencies and listing all attempts they have made at finding a job. BHCA WtW staff collects these assignments the following month and makes sure that clients have made an honest attempt to try to fulfill program requirements.

Results

BCHA's case management system allows them to assess whether WtW program clients are making progress in reaching their goals. By having a better understanding of client work/education status and income sources, BCHA is able to provide better referrals to social service agencies in the community. BCHA completes an Individual Training and Services Form to track service needs and referrals. Further, the client information that BCHA collects through its case management system will be useful as it seeks to demonstrate program success to HUD, community partners, and other stakeholders.

By having a strong case management system and tracking client needs, the BCHA is better able to identify service gaps. For instance, the BCHA was able to determine that transitional childcare is greatly lacking for their clients; once a WtW client is no longer TANF eligible but does not have a job, finding and affording good childcare is a difficult process. Now that BCHA has identified transitional childcare as a need, it is working to find grant funding to fill that need, thereby improving service delivery for WtW clients.

Contact Information: Gay Georgevich, Section 8 Director Broward County Housing Authority
1773 North State Road 7 Lauderhill, FL 33313 (954) 739-1114

Source: Broward County Site Visit, April 25, 2002

 
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