How good case management can lead to successful rapid re-housing

In our Rapid Re-Housing Know-How Series we are talking about the three core components of rapid re-housing. This week we will focus on the final component: case management and services.

The goal of rapid re-housing case management is to help participants obtain and move into permanent housing, stabilize in housing, and get connected to services and supports if needed. Since rapid re-housing is a short-term intervention, the intent of case management is to assist a household in accessing and stabilizing long term in a housing unit. Case management should focus on helping participants navigate barriers to tenancy and build a support system by connecting them with people and programs in the community.

Obtain and move into permanent housing

Rapid re-housing case management is primarily focused on helping participants obtain and move into new housing units. Case managers should help

  • Resolve or mitigate tenant screening barriers
  • Obtain necessary identification for the participant if needed
  • Support other move-in activities such as providing furniture
  • Prepare participants for successful tenancy by reviewing lease provisions

Support stabilization in housing

After the participant moves into a unit, case management should be home based. Case managers should help participants identify and access supports including

  • Family and friend networks
  • Mainstream and community services
  • Employment and income

Close the case

Rapid re-housing assistance should end and the case should be closed when the participant is no longer going to be imminently homeless. In some instances, case management may continue after financial assistance ends if appropriate or requested by the household.

Listen to Ben Noll, Training Coordinator at Friendship Place in Washington, DC talk about how and when to end a rapid re-housing case.

Principles of case management

Here are four principles to consider as you develop the case management component of your rapid re-housing program.

  1. Case management should be driven by the needs of program participants. Case managers should actively engage participants in voluntary case management. They should encourage participants to drive case planning and goal-setting based on what they want from the program and services, rather than on what the case manager decides they need to do to be successful.
  2. Services and support should be flexible in intensity. Case managers should offer only essential assistance until the participant demonstrates the need for or requests additional help. Programs should base the intensity and duration of case management on the needs of individual households. Case management may lessen or increase over time.
  3. Use a strengths-based approach. Case managers should identify the strengths of a person or family instead of diagnoses or deficits, then build on those strengths to empower the household to succeed.
  4. Case management and services should reflect the short-term nature of assistance. Case management should focus on housing retention and helping a household build a support network outside of the program. It should connect the participant with community resources and service options, such as legal services, health care, vocational assistance, transportation, child care, and other forms of assistance that continue beyond participation in the rapid re-housing program.

Here are some additional community resources to help get you started:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has great resources for case closing for veteran families, much of which can be applied to other households.