Agency: Salem Housing Authority and the Local
(Size of WtW Program: 225 vouchers)
In order to achieve self-sufficiency, WtW voucher clients often
need supportive services customized to meet their individual needs.
Assessing individual needs and providing the appropriate level of
case management and supportive services is a challenging undertaking,
especially for PHAs with limited resources and expertise in the
field of case management and supportive service provision. One of
the biggest challenges in administrating a successful WtW program
is in the design of a case management system that effectively pinpoints
the type of services needed by each client, ensures that the client
receives the needed support, and tracks client progress in achieving
Solution: Partnering to Share Resources and Manage Cases
The Salem Housing Authority meets this challenge by partnering
with its local TANF agency, which is responsible for case managing
WtW voucher program families. This partnership allows each agency
to focus on providing the services that they know best - housing
services by the housing agency and supportive services by the TANF
agency. This virtually seamless partnership has been built over
time and is the result of the significant dedication of both partners.
In fact, the WtW voucher program is actually a subset of a larger
Family Stabilization Program that is co-sponsored by both agencies.
A key to the success of this approach is the creation of two "liaisons"
who divide their time between both agencies and ensure on a daily
basis that the partnership is working to meet housing agency, TANF
agency, and client needs.
Together these agencies have created an "entry-level"
case management system that effectively supports and tracks each
client. It should be noted that a majority of the families served
by the two partners are the "hard-to-serve" and face multiple
barriers to employment, including language difficulties, mental
health issues, drug addiction, criminal backgrounds, and disabilities.
Participation in the PHA's Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS)
is usually reserved for families that have stabilized their approach
to these obstacles. Key components to Salem's case management plan
include the following:
- The partnership ensures that families eligible for housing and/or
TANF assistance are given access to this assistance. For example,
the local TANF agency "signs off" on all families eligible
for the WtW voucher program. This ensures that the voucher applicant
begins receiving case management services from the TANF agency
while receiving housing assistance.
- Participation in the WtW voucher program begins with a comprehensive
"needs assessment." Information collected from the needs
assessment is entered into a central form that is shared between
both organizations. TANF agency caseworkers then work with the
client to develop a unique self-sufficiency plan based on individual
need. For example, the plan of single grandparent raising her
daughter's twin boys might include attending a parenting class.
- WtW families meet with their TANF caseworker every month. As
part of their case management plans, families are often referred
to one or more local social service providers that make up an
extensive referral system for WtW clients. These local community
partners are vital to the partnership's ability to provide essential
supportive services to families.
- The case manager in the local TANF agency is responsible for
following up with the applicant/WtW participant regarding the
progress made in achieving the goals outlined in the self-sufficiency
plan (e.g., are they receiving the services recommended?). The
TANF caseworker informs the PHA of progress being made by the
- WtW participants must comply with Salem's WtW family obligations
plus remain in good standing with the local TANF program. In an
instance of non-compliance, both TANF agency and PHA staff make
every effort to prevent failure in the program. If a client continues
to be non-compliant, the PHA begins the termination process.
- The key to maintaining excellent communication between both
agencies is the staffing of two liaisons who work between the
agencies. Each week the liaisons spend four days working at the
local TANF agency and one day working at the PHA. In addition
to acting as an "interpreter" for both agencies, the
liaison advocates the partnership and ensures that clients are
given consistent messages throughout the case management and monitoring
process. One of the two liaisons works specifically on the WtW
voucher program, overseeing the tracking systems and helping to
monitor clients from the beginning of the program until every
goal is met. Though these liaison positions are funded by the
local TANF agency, the liaisons are actually on the housing agency's
The partnership between the Salem Housing Authority and the local
TANF agency has created an efficient process for both staff and
clients from each organization. This process taps into what each
agency can best deliver, creating a strong support network with
consistent guidance for WtW clients. In this system, everyone is
aware of each agency's roles and expectations for positive results
and long-term success.
Contact: Barbara Kauss, Salem Housing
Authority, 360 Church Street SE, PO Box 808,
Salem, OR, 97308-0808, (503) 588-6368, BKAUSS@mail.open.org
Source: Presentation during the WtW teleconference call, "Models
of Case Management" (August 8, 2002)