Agency: San Jose/Santa Clara County Housing Authority
(Size of WtW Program: 700 vouchers)
The San Jose/Santa Clara HA is located in Silicon Valley, an extremely
tight rental market and competitive job market that creates difficult
challenges for WtW families in search of housing and employment.
At the start of the WtW program, the area experienced a vacancy
rate of less than one-percent - the tightest in its history. Meanwhile,
the average salary in the county was approximately $71,000. The
San Jose/Santa Clara HA realized that its clients would need help
in job training, job search assistance, and money management to
succeed in this challenging environment.
Solution: Using Partnerships to Provide Services to WtW Voucher Recipients
The task of providing services to voucher holders was too big for
the agency to tackle alone, so the San Jose/Santa Clara HA developed
and maintained partnerships with other agencies. While benefiting
from partnerships with many services providers, a key WtW partner
is CalWorks, the state of California's TANF agency.
The San Jose/Santa Clara HA stated in its WtW plan that one of
its three purposes was "to link families to already existing
employment services such as the CalWorks Connections, the One Stop
Centers, the Neighborhood Self-Sufficiency sites, the community-based
job training programs, and the community colleges." By stating
these priorities in writing, the San Jose/Santa Clara HA committed
itself to fostering relationships with other agencies, and it continues
to take deliberative steps to build and maintain partnerships.
Partnerships in Practice
The San Jose/Santa Clara HA has used partnerships to provide many
services to WtW clients, including the following:
In this partnership model, the San Jose/Santa Clara HA assumed the
role of case manager but received funds from the TANF agency to
hire the staff needed to assume this responsibility and adequately
service its WtW families. Through its partnership with CalWorks,
the San Jose/Santa Clara HA secured $1.3 million in TANF funds to
hire nine staff to support the program, including two landlord ombudsmen
and seven (combination part-time and full-time) case managers.
Mandatory Course Curriculum
San Jose/Santa Clara worked with its partners to develop a mandatory,
20-hour course curriculum for WtW families consisting of the following:
orientation, conducted by both PHA and CalWorks staff, to introduce
families to the program, explain program benefits, and clarify
housing search component to help families successfully locate
housing in a tight rental market. Clients produce a housing resume
and engage in role-playing to learn how to approach owners.
Money management workshop (12 hours), conducted by the University
of California Cooperative Extension, to help families address
credit issues and learn how to budget.
- Tenant workshop (3-4 hours) sponsored by three partners, including
the Santa Clara County Bar Association and a fair housing organization.
of Individual Action Plans
The Agency's WtW contract requires WtW participants to work with
the PHA's case manager to develop a self-sufficiency Action Plan.
The first step in creating this Action Plan is for the case manager
to conduct an assessment of the family and to work with the family
to develop components of the Plan. The case manager then presents
the Action Plan to a multi-disciplinary body consisting of members
of the WtW Collaborative (i.e., homeless, employment, childcare,
healthcare service providers). Although time-consuming, this approach
ensures that WtW families receive the services they need. At the
meeting, gaps in services, barriers to self-sufficiency, and family
needs are identified, discussed thoroughly, and addressed.
final Action Plan incorporates linkages from partner agencies, such
as CalWorks, community colleges and Universities, Department of
Family and Children's Services, Drug Court, One Stops, or Neighborhood
Self-Sufficiency sites. This allows the family to work under one
action plan rather than several competing plans. This not only demonstrates
the commitment of the PHA to work with partner agencies, but it
also reflects its desire not to needlessly overburden clients.
months after developing the individual action plan, a PHA case manager
"checks in" with the WtW family to discuss progress in
achieving the goals outlined in the plan. Families in need are then
re-linked back to services.
for Building Successful Partnerships
on the experience of San Jose/Santa Clara HA staff, the following
strategies can help build successful partnerships:
tangible, realistic goals based on local and client circumstances.
time to establish trust and identify common goals, especially
with new partners.
and focus on your area of expertise, and be careful not to duplicate
all potential partners the opportunity to help, and work around
those who will not collaborate.
"housing" as a critical, invaluable resource: clients
cannot become self-sufficient without stable housing.
on the client; not the agency.
your successes. The best way to show partners, donors, and community
stakeholders that you are successful is to show them quantifiable
results. San Jose/Santa Clara's Community Services Manager states,
"If you collect data, then you can collect help."
give partners credit, and celebrate your successes. Says San Jose/Santa
Clara's Community Services Manager, "When you're successful,
your successes speak for themselves, and there's always more than
enough credit to go around."
San Jose/Santa Clara HA was able to successfully lease up 100 percent
of its units by the end of the first year of WtW program implementation.
Its focus in the second year of implementation has been to enroll
families in the mandatory course curriculum and develop Action Plans.
San Jose/Santa Clara has succeeded in directly involving a broad
range of services providers through its WtW Collaborative and the
use of a multi-disciplinary committee to review individual action
plans. It continues to receive significant financial support from
CalWorks and has played a leadership role in suggesting changes
to policies related to TANF work requirements.
part as a result of its partnership-building success, the San Jose/Santa
Clara Housing Authority recently obtained $6.3 million for a shallow
subsidy pilot program.
Contact:Sandi Douglas, Community Services
Manager, (408) 993-4251
Sources: Interviews with Sandi Douglas, Community Services Manager,
San Jose/Santa Clara HA
Presentation by Sandi Douglas and Denicia Gressel, Lead Case Manager,
at January 24, 2002 WtW National Teleconference.