God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen & Gentlewomen

We’re winding down another year here at OrgCode. Heck, we’re even going to shut the door and turn off the phones for a week between Christmas and the New Year and that will be a first since we re-booted the company in Q4 2009.

God rest us merry gentlemen and gentlewomen.

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How to be a Kinder, More Informed & Strategic Funder

I have been a funder. I have been a practitioner. I remain a researcher. I am a faculty member at a rather excellent university. I am now a consultant.

I am going to do my best to not make this blog a rant. In my attempt to remain professional, allow me to make this an open letter to all funders of homeless and housing programs for marginalized populations, as well as administrators of community-based grants programs.

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Harm Reduction and the Provision of Homeless Services to Youth

Harm reduction approaches can be seen as controversial when working with many populations, including unaccompanied youth. Some will cite reasons pertaining to the illicit nature of certain substances, the age of maturity, psychosocial development and the like. Others hold on to the “just say no” mantra.

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Things Will Go Wrong

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PART TEN: Things Will Go Wrong

This is the last installment in our 10-part blog series on essential elements of successful housing programs. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts on the series or any other topics you’d like to see in a future blog. idejong@orgcode.com

I have never seen a perfect housing program. Have you? I’ve seen some darn good ones, but never a perfect one.

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Planning for Success throughout Phases of Housing Stability

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Part Nine: Planning for Success throughout Phases of Housing Stability

My pal (and Founding Partner of OrgCode), Dr. John Whitesell, has reinforced in me over the past dozen years the usefulness of the Sigmoid Curve to represent change, growth and development within people and organizations. He has also ingrained in me the ability to chunk the S-Curve into three main phases: Formative; Normative; and, Integrative.

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Professional Works Gets Professional Results

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PART EIGHT: Professional Works Gets Professional Results

Successful housing programs have a professional orientation. Well-trained staff deliver the housing program. Successful housing programs tend not to be those operated in a charity contextwhere “well intentioned” is sufficient to get the job done. There is too much at stake, and generally too much complexity for a layperson without training to help a client achieve long-term sustainability.

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Objective-Based Home Visits

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PART SEVEN: Objective-Based Home Visits

Successful housing programs require case managers/housing support workers to visit their clients in their homes. You can’t have a successful housing program by having clients only come to your office. You can’t do it over the phone or by text message or email. Home visits are absolutely critical.

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Using Data to Drive Program Improvements

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PART SIX: Using Data to Drive Program Improvements

Data. I know it is a four-letter word. It makes policy wonks salivate lustfully and makes many front-line practitioners run for the hills (or the bottle).

Truth is, data doesn’t have to be scary or cumbersome or a nuisance. Done right, data is the ace up your sleeve to make your program transition from good to great.

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Helping Landlords Help You

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PART FIVE: Helping Landlords Help You

There should be a range of housing options for clients of your housing program to consider. In the best of circumstances this will include everything from permanent supportive housing to private market housing (with or without vouchers or rent supplements) and public/social housing. It will hopefully include a wide variety of units from multi-unit residential buildings to suites in the secondary market like basement suites or rented houses. It may also include the likes of well-maintained and managed rooming houses or boarding homes. And I could go on with the diverse types of housing. The key is to have a range of options that clients can CHOOSE from.

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The 5 Essential and Sequential Elements

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In the fourth part of the series we look at the sequence of events that needs to occur for housing programs to be successful.

PART FOUR: The 5 Essential and Sequential Elements

Regardless of the presenting needs and complexity of issues, housing programs always function best when housing is the first task to focus on. Throughout my travels I have seen far too great an emphasis on trying to get a case plan in place prior to getting someone housed…or getting the client into treatment first…or getting the client compliant with medication first – and I could go on. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of Housing First or not – what is critically clear through the evaluations we have performed and my years of professional practice is that housing has to be the first thing worked on or else the rest of the tasks are not going to be successful in helping people achieve housing stability.

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