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Creating a “Work- Ready” Supportive Housing Environment Wendy M. Coco Senior Program Manager Corporation for Supportive Housing June 2011

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Presentation on theme: "Creating a “Work- Ready” Supportive Housing Environment Wendy M. Coco Senior Program Manager Corporation for Supportive Housing June 2011"— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating a “Work- Ready” Supportive Housing Environment Wendy M. Coco Senior Program Manager Corporation for Supportive Housing June 2011

2 “The establishment of meaningful roles and purpose beyond the limitations of a mental health diagnosis or disability, the opportunity to take a risk and fail, and the development of one’s own life in the community are imperative” - Lynde WORK HomeWORK

3 -What is the place of employment in ending homelessness -Should employment and housing be linked? -How? -Should work receive the same importance as social services? -If yes – Why; If no – Why Not -What is your view? What is your tenants view? Questions to think About

4 WORK HomeWORK The HomeWORK project is a unique approach to helping supportive housing tenants enter the workforce (or advance in their employment), improve their earnings, and/or strengthen their education and training. This project will support your program and your staff to be current with industry best practices, to establish or strengthen their ties to local workforce agencies, and to deliver their services more efficiently and effectively.

5 Individuals with employment barriers, homelessness or disabilities are unable to or don’t want to work. What we used to think

6 PEERS ARE POWERFUL! Peer support groups within agencies have been shown to be an extremely powerful tool in motivating tenants to work

7 With the right interventions and assistance in place, individual who have had or are experiencing homelessness, employment barriers and those with disabilities, not only can, but want to work What we know

8 Tenant employment and self-sufficiency is a central role of hope and empowerment in changing the course of individuals’ lives. For most individuals employment is seen as a highly valued activity, which affords them a valued role in the building of their own self-esteem, mastery, and sense of community. It puts money in their pockets, gives them structure to their day, and allows them to give back to the community. What we know

9 IT’S ABOUT EMPLOYMENT! - Prioritize Job Development in the design and start up phase - Rapid job search and placement in competitive jobs helps tenants see the rewards of participation

10 1. Written mission includes tenant employment as a central purpose of the organization. 2. A high-ranking staff member has authority and responsibility for implementing employment services. 3. The key staff person for employment services has experience and/or training in job development, job training, vocational counseling and/or developing business enterprises. 4. Communication mechanisms are in place among social service, housing management, and vocational services that result in effective problem solving and integrated services delivery. Signs your Organization is Vocationalized

11 Signs your Community is Vocationalized 1. There are well developed partners amongst the supportive housing and employment community where each agency understands how the other works with hard-to-employ tenants. 2. Prepare for Accountability – Draw up MOU’s between the partners with expected outcomes in writing 3. Provide a regular opportunity for employment agencies, One Stops, BRS, etc. to outreach at supportive housing sites to make one-one contact with tenants 4. Organize “Team Meetings” with your partners to discuss progress; best practices and/or lessons learned. Review regularly what is working and what is not working.

12 1. Tenants are asked about their job-related skills and employment goals at intake. 2. Tenants are informed, verbally and in writing, of the employment resources and opportunities available to them 3. Tenants are able to use available resources in the building (computer, fax) for developing a resume, sending letters, making and getting phone calls Signs your Program is Vocationalized:

13 4. Support groups and other activities around employment issues are attended by tenants 5. Tenants are recognized for their successes along the education, employment continuum 6. Staff work schedules include hours to meet and support tenants who work between 9 to 5 and night shifts Signs your Program is Vocationalized


15 Support the tenants possibility and build a desire to work Identify Pros/Cons – Work with the tenant to identify and address barriers – Link the tenant with peers who have work experience Creating the Environment

16 Establish Trust and Rapport Inspire Hope Identify Individual Strengths Identify Individual Barriers Creating the Environment

17 Make resources available, such as computer, a fax machine, desk, resources for transportation and resources for clothing Provide resources and a comfortable area for tenants to research employment Offer employment-related benchmarks such as graduations and promotions

18 Make employment an agency goal Engage tenants in an employment focus early Integrate employment into service/treatment plans Make the goals for employment manageable and easy for the tenant achieve Creating the Environment

19 Identify staff and tenants with experience in working on employment Arrange staff schedules around work schedules Make employment a role of every staff member Develop and support collaboration with the employment agencies and resources Creating the Environment

20 Visit education/employment facilities Offer information, assistance, trainings on resume’ writing; interviewing skills and job searches Assist the tenant in developing work skills Assist with conflict resolution Creating the Environment

21 Assist with, or connect the tenant with planning and guidance to understand how work will affect their benefits Creating the Environment

22  Ideally, programs have dedicated staff to work on employment and education goals with clients  Staff roles around employment may overlap or vary depending on funding sources  Senior agency staff needs to be responsible and accountable for tenant employment  Identify the employment outcomes you wish to achieve Integrating Employment Services into Housing Programs

23 How do you know if your agency is Maximizing Resources  Employment staff are aware of employment training resources in their area  Your agency has partnerships with employment and training programs, such as One Stop Career Centers  Many tenants are referred to a variety of occupational skills training programs, literacy programs, educational programs, GED programs

24 Eligible tenants are referred to the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency The organization works with the VR agency to coordinate the tenants use of VR services How do you know if your agency is Maximizing Resources

25 Become an employer: – hire in-house Job Development – Takes Time; options limited if you only use your case manager – Hire employment dedicated staff Use Partnerships – Become an Employment Network through Ticket to Work What are the Options ?

26 CONTACT: Wendy Coco: Senior Program Manager, CSH (860)560-0744 * Assistance with this PowerPoint was provided by Building Changes, Seattle; and from “Lessons Learned” from the Passport to success program – Bridgeport, WORK HomeWORK

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