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Roundtable 5 Discussion Summary
Making the TANF/DOL Partnership Work

(Teleconference Roundtable held September 12, 2002)

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 -   Teleconference Participants
 -   Challenges and Tips for Success

Teleconference Participants

 -   Albany HA (NY)
 -   Colorado Springs HA (CO)
 -   Fresno (CA)
 -   Umatilla HA (OR)

Challenges and Tips for Success


  • Partnerships can save agencies time and money by preventing duplicate work and by allowing each agency to focus on the services that it is best able to provide. For example, a PHA that uses its local TANF agency to provide WtW-client case management saves time and money by being able to focus only on the leasing aspects of their WtW.

  • While most agencies with successful TANF/DOL partnerships report that they began forming these partnerships before the WtW program even started, it is important for all PHAs to cultivate these partnerships when possible; TANF and DOL agencies can provide significant resources to help sustain a successful WtW program.

Tips for Success:

Five key steps to forming successful partnerships with TANF & DOL include the following:

  1. Be proactive.
    • It's key to seek relationships with people who have power to make decisions and get things done. This may take time, but the benefits are worth the time investment.
    • If possible, request dedicated TANF resources. One agency has an on-site, full-time job specialist from its local TANF agency who provides great help to the agency and its clients.
    • PHAs should leverage TANF/DOL resources further by forming relationships with support service agencies, not just TANF/DOL partners.

  2. Form and cultivate relationships.
    • Maintain regular contact by regularly calling your partner agencies, asking questions, and requesting release of mutual client information. One agency initiates monthly meetings with its partners to keep communication open and partners involved.

  3. Execute a MOU.
    • Successful partnerships usually have a specific, formal, written agreement that specifies both agencies' duties and responsibilities.
    • A signed MOU puts "teeth" into your program and partner expectations.

  4. Share Resources.
    • Sharing resources will save both agencies a lot of work. For example, some agencies share resources with TANF and DOL partners by linking their computer systems and sharing funds and staff.
    • A key to sharing resources is for both agencies to remember the mutual goals of TANF and WtW.

  5. Monitor/Track Resuts.
    • Successful agencies highlight their program's successes to illustrate to their partners that the partnership is succeeding and is beneficial. Give your partners proof that they are in a win-win situation.
    • For example, some agencies share monthly information about their WtW families' activities with their TANF partner. This information includes the number and explanations of WtW program terminations and successes/graduations.

Note: For more tips on forming successful partnerships, view the Partnership Resources section of this Web site.

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