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Coordination of Property Management and Supportive Services in MHSA Housing Anne Cory Corporation for Supportive Housing March 14, 2012

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1 Coordination of Property Management and Supportive Services in MHSA Housing Anne Cory Corporation for Supportive Housing March 14, 2012

2 MHSA Housing Program The MHSA Housing Program makes permanent financing and capitalized operating subsidies available for the purpose of developing permanent supportive housing, including both rental housing and shared housing, to serve persons with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 2

3 3 Define Supportive Housing A cost-effective combination of permanent, affordable housing with services that helps people live more stable, productive lives.

4 4 HOUSING –PERMANENT: Not time limited, not transitional; –AFFORDABLE: For people coming out of homelessness; and –INDEPENDENT: Tenant holds lease with normal rights and responsibilities. SERVICES –FLEXIBLE: Designed to be responsive to tenants’ needs; –VOLUNTARY: Participation is not a condition of tenancy; and –INDEPENDENT: Focus of services is on maintaining housing stability. Housing & Services

5 Effective Coordination of Property Management and Supportive Services

6 6 Coordination of Property Management & Supportive Services One of the defining characteristics of permanent supportive housing is the coordination of property management and supportive services to support the goal of housing retention for tenants. For effective coordination, it is critical to understand this housing model and how it differs from other housing models and to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

7 7 Traditional vs. Supportive Housing Property Management Traditional Rental Housing The property manager makes all decisions regarding lease violations and evictions. The property manager is solely responsible for low vacancy rate and rent collection. The property manager works with resident to make payment plans. Supportive Housing Collaboration between property manager and service provider regarding lease violations and evictions. Property manager works with service provider to maintain a stable housing environment. Service provider involved with payment plans, and “contracts” to maintain housing.

8 8 Mission-Driven Property Management “Double Bottom Line” Mission-driven property management practices include… –Development and enforcement of house rules –Collaborative approaches to tenant selection and screening, move-in, orientation, and crisis management –Resident councils –Creation of job opportunities for tenants –Record-keeping –Evictions and problem-solving

9 9 Key Principle for Coordination Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities Outline clear roles Establish forum for discussing and re- negotiating roles and responsibilities

10 10 Another Key Principle for Coordination Recognize Overlap and Built-In Tension between Roles

11 11 Acknowledge compatible and conflicting goals Compatible/Mutual Goals –Ensuring the effective operations of the building. –Providing safe, secure and affordable housing.

12 12 Acknowledge compatible and conflicting goals Conflicting Goals/Tensions –How to balance the needs of the individual tenant with the needs of the entire community? –How to balance the needs of tenants and the need to maintain the facility? –Advocating for tenant’s rights can threaten property management functions, for example, creating tenants’ organization, which decides to withhold rent.

13 13 Embracing Good Tension Respect the different roles of each partner Understand all roles are necessary and important for a well-managed building Acknowledge and use built-in tension between roles and functions to ensure stability and a sound asset

14 14 Roles and Challenges Common Issue: Resident can’t pay rent Property Mgt Show me the money! Social Services I just want to help! Goal: Provide the tenants the support they need to reach their fullest potential and to keep the building in compliance with funding sources, physically, and financially. Are we going to have to evict? Should we start processing applications ? How can we prevent this from happening again? How can we help the resident keep their housing? Find root cause Identify services or agencies to assist Stabilization and planning

15 15 Roles and Challenges Common Goal: Keeping Residents Housed Blended Mgt requires that we come in from all angles. Property Mgt Show me the money! Social Services I just want to help! Goal: Provide the tenants the support they need to reach their fullest potential and to keep the building in compliance with funding sources, physically, and financially.

16 16 Coordinating Management and Services  Supportive housing = coordinated property management and supportive services functions  Collaborative relationships are essential  Balance competing forces  Financial demands of the building  Security of larger tenant community  Needs of individual tenants

17 17 Service Provider Role Design and implement the Supportive Services Plan Participate in applicant tenant screening and help applicants address barriers Engage tenants in services to support housing stability and life goals Serve as the tenant’s advocate with property management Help tenants define how they can comply with property management requirements

18 18 Service Provider Role (cont’d.) Crisis management; assist in dealing with disruptive tenants Participate in community building & organizing Participate in developing and revising House Rules; help develop and implement emergency policies & procedures. Maintain records of services provided

19 19 Property Management Role Participate in the process of developing the project design Manage the rent-up process, including marketing, outreach, interviews, and tenant selection Provide orientation to incoming tenants Enforce the leasing agreement; coordinate with the support services team and the tenant, to address issues jeopardizing housing retention

20 20 Property Management Role (cont’d.) Participate in community organizing, including working with tenant leaders Hire, train and supervise property management staff Routine maintenance and health and safety issues Overall fiscal management and accounting responsibilities for project Maintain compliance with government and private funds and other regulatory or fiscal compliance

21 21 Roles and Responsibilities

22 22 Putting Principles into Practice Develop an MOU or contract between partners Develop a guiding principle statement that spells out the working approach Carefully select, train, support, and supervise social service and property management staff Develop written job descriptions with clearly defined roles Schedule regular communication Give staff parallel status and authority Outline written procedure for resolving disagreements

23 Building and managing your relationships Working together requires more communication. Clear, written guidelines are followed by all. Coordination will always be a work in progress. Define the situations that require shared decision-making. Identify the tools you will use to support the collaborative approach. 23

24 “Predictable Crises” In hindsight, crises during operations often seem predictable because they were born in quiet acts of omission and commission. Example. Because social services and management were all just ‘sort of’ working together without a coordinated mission or procedures, they did not have any of the steps in place to act when needed. 24

25 Resolving Problems Even with a shared goal, specific circumstances will often cause the different priorities of property management and supportive services to clash. Conflicts of opinion should not be buried or ignored. Instead, these conflicts need to be acknowledged, discussed openly within the context of the shared building goals, and be resolved. 25

26 Keys to Success Select, train and supervise property management to ensure knowledge of special needs issues. Provide opportunities for training, mutual education, clear communication and mutual responsibility among the service providers, property manager, and the tenant council. Ensure that the decision-making and consultative roles of the tenant council are clear to all parties. Provide a clear procedure for resolving disagreements between the management and support services perspectives, and foster team building among on-site staff. 26

27 27 Keys to Success Similar mission and goals Have it in writing Earn trust over time Everyone contributes to the partnership Clear and constant communication In it for the long-haul Sharing and collaboration Mutual respect

28 28 Indicators of Effective Coordination Coordination of Property Management & Supportive Services Core Indicators Property management staff has a clear understanding of supportive services, staff roles and responsibilities. Supportive services staff have a clear understanding of property management staff and/or landlord roles and responsibilities Supportive services staff promptly notifies property management staff when they observe safety or maintenance issues. Property management staff and/or landlords know who to contact when there is a tenant behavior related issue or need. Services staff proactively address issues that may impact tenants’ housing stability, particularly in response to property management and/or landlord concerns.

29 29 Indicators of Effective Coordination Coordination of Property Management & Supportive Services Core Indicators There are regularly scheduled forums for property management staff and supportive services staffs to discuss their roles, the coordination of their efforts, current issues, and to address gaps in services and operations. Services staff advocates on tenants’ behalf with property management and/or landlords when necessary and appropriate to maintain tenants’ housing stability. Property management and supportive services staff work together to support eviction prevention practices including rent repayment plans, procedures for addressing property damage, and harm reduction (when applicable) to support resident housing stability. Property management records are stored separately from supportive services records.

30 30 Consider Tenants’ Adjustments Rent must be paid every month Adjusting to a new neighborhood Learning to or regaining the ability to live independently Neighbors may have special needs Tenants (and their visitors) are expected to follow the house rules Socialization

31 Sample Coordinated Responsibilities List Sample case: A frail, mentally ill man is beginning to decompensate and has been screaming in the night. Service staff has been working with his doctors to adjust his medications and his behavior does not warrant hospitalization. But his neighbors are complaining and angry at both management and services for not doing anything about their complaints. 31

32 Confidentiality in Supportive Housing

33 33 Principles of Confidentiality Why is confidentiality important in supportive housing? What should be shared between property management and supportive services? What must be shared to effectively manage supportive housing? Why? What should NOT be shared?

34 The purpose of maintaining tenants’ confidentiality Protect tenants’ right to privacy. Protect tenants from information being disclosed, which could potentially be used against them. Encourage tenants to establish trusting relationships with staff. 34

35 However……. Information about a tenant should be shared with other staff members within your organization if it is required for them to do their jobs; namely, to protect a tenant’s safety or to enhance their well-being. 35

36 Some Reasons to Share Tenant Information Improve an agency’s ability to determine how to work most effectively with the tenant to achieve their goals. Service coordination with other agencies. Reduce duplication of services. Avoid asking tenant for the same information over and over again. Evaluate the overall effectiveness of programs. Monitor services provided and resources used. 36

37 37 How do we define the lines? Because there is a great deal of misconception about what is confidential information, service staff may appear withholding or secretive when it comes to providing information to support staff. This may frustrate support staff. It is important for all programs to establish what is confidential, plus what can be shared by all levels of staff.

38 What is not considered confidential? Observable, public behavior. Information obtained not in the course of professional service (hearsay, casual conversation). 38

39 39 Communication Also, there are ways in which services can communicate with property management, which does not divulge confidential information. Instead of saying, “The tenant is on 100 mg. of methadone and seeing a psychiatrist,” it can be said, “The tenant is receiving treatment, and we can expect she will stabilize soon.”

40 Between the Lines What types of information may be shared across supportive services and property management teams without violating confidentiality? 40

41 Between the Lines Generally, property management staff should only have information related to an applicant or tenant's ability to meet the terms of tenancy. When supportive services staff and property management staff need to share information, staff should first obtain the tenant's consent. 41

42 Between the Lines Supportive housing programs present unique privacy challenges for the service provider and the housing provider. Although sharing information between the two may occasionally allow for a more informed treatment program, some information sharing may violate privacy laws. 42

43 Between the Lines A housing provider should never reveal to other tenants that a particular tenant has a particular disability, unless such disclosure is specifically authorized by the tenant with the disability. However, this prohibition does not mean that the provider may not reveal in marketing materials that the project or some units in the project are targeted to specific populations or limited by funding sources to tenancy by a particular group of disabled persons. Moreover, if one application is used, applicants are likely to notice questions that pertain to MHSA eligibility. 43

44 Guidelines and Tools for Sharing Information If a non-support services staff member observes a tenant’s behavior that he or she believes indicates a problem or a need for services, recommended strategies for addressing the issue include: 44

45 Guidelines and Tools for Sharing Information The staff member may offer to introduce the tenant to a services team member. If the tenant’s behavior occurs regularly in a public area, the staff member can ask a member of the services team to be present to observe the behavior. When a non-support staff member shares information with a services team member, information about an incident or problem should be limited to direct observation, not judgments, hearsay, rumor, or interpretations. 45

46 Guidelines and Tools for Sharing Information Property management may report to a services team member a disruptive episode involving the tenant that occurred when the team members were not there. Tenants who are bothered by other tenants’ behaviors sometimes ask for information about how other tenants’ issues are being dealt with. Staff will need to assure tenants that issues are being addressed without sharing protected health information. Staff must consistently express to all tenants what information is confidential and what is not. 46


48 Resources Supportive Housing Property Management Operations Manual Created by CSH and partners in 2003 Designed specifically for supportive housing Managing and operating supportive housing is different The core mission of supportive housing is to provide quality affordable housing for people with disabilities who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 48


50 Toolkit HOUSING OPERATIONS Introduction to Property Management in Supportive Housing Tenant Screening, Selection, and Move-In Leases, Lease Enforcement, and Rent Collection Reasonable Accommodations in Supportive Housing Operations Safety and Security Maintaining the Physical Plant 50

51 Toolkit SUPPORTIVE SERVICES Designing the Supportive Services Plan Essential Service Strategies for Supportive Housing Settings Preparing for Tenants’ Service Needs 51


53 Resource Not a Solo Act: Creating Successful Partnerships to Develop and Operate Supportive Housing. Updated edition, 2012. 53

54 Supportive Housing Training Series Produced for HUD by CSH and CUCS Introduction to Supportive Housing Development Financial Management and HUD Compliance Coordinating Property Management and Social Services in Supportive Housing Developing the Program 54

55 Supportive Housing Training Series (continued) Community Building in and Around Supportive Residences Services for People with Special Needs Case Management Services Crisis and Conflict Issues in the First Year Making the Transition to Permanent Housing Employment Services in Supportive Housing 55

56 56 The Seven Dimensions of Quality for Supportive Housing: Definitions and Indicators Quality Assessment Tools Additional Materials and Resources Dimension #5: Property and Asset Management Additional Materials and Resources

57 For MHSA Housing Program TA Anne Cory 510.251.1910 x208 Alan Saunders 510.251-1910 x214

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