Who knows first?
It is often a child’s teacher, a family’s therapist, or a childcare provider that hears a parent’s first cries for help – when a job is lost, or working hours cut, when rent payments are late, or car repairs or other crisis destroys an often tight family budget.
The “First Responders” to housing problems …
• School Systems
• Child & Family Services Systems
• Neighborhood & Community Centers
• Hospitals & Healthcare Systems
It is vital to ask the right questions upon intake or enrollment, during the provision of services, or when something appears to be wrong.
— When families are experiencing a housing crisis, direct services staff should conduct housing assessments to help identify the problem and provide referrals for immediate interventions.
— Early intervention and timely responses to indicators of housing distress can help to stabilize a precarious housing situation.
— The addition of staff with specialized knowledge of housing issues can help identify timely and responsive interventions.
— In this new paradigm, social workers and housing specialists work together with a family as a “team,” with social workers providing support on personal and economic issues and housing specialists on issues primarily related to the actual housing.
Following are some examples of housing-based interventions:
• assistance resolving roommate or shared housing conflicts
• assistance in negotiating or advocating with a landlord for more time to pay back rent
• assistance in relocating to more adequate rental housing, including lease negotiation and move-in funds
Housing specialists should be embedded within community-based social services systems, schools, and healthcare systems.
There is “always” something we can do…..It may be “out of the box” – but that’s what innovation is all about! Challenges are there to be overcome, and each challenge has its own resolution.
Tanya Tull, Founder, Partnering for Change