A Family’s First 90 Days
Part II: The Perspective from Those Who Shelter
If you want to know how the Case Management team works with a family, Renee Stevens, newly appointed Executive Director and former lead Case Manager at Open House is the one to ask.
“The first 90 days is a stabilization period for new residents. It gives them time to settle in to their new home and adjust to a scheduled routine. Just as important, it allows us to establish a relationship with them. As we build trust and respect, they begin to realize that the shelter is a safe and secure place and community in which to live. They can have faith in someone and know they won’t be abandoned. It’s during this time that we often find out that the reason(s) they stated during the intake process are not the real reasons they are homeless.”
Case managers help residents establish routine, accountability and prioritizing. This may mean getting up early to get a chore done before class, getting children to daycare or on the school bus on time or making sure their room is ready for room check each morning. There is a lot of re-directing of residents, helping them to problem-solve crises in their life – and teaching them how to identify what is an immediate crisis and what can be dealt with later on.
With the help of their case manager, residents become part of the Open House community and learn what it means to be a good neighbor. Renee sums up the overall goal of the program:
“We want to model the behaviors that need to be taught. We want to be influential. There is a lot of grace to be given. Our goal is that residents will rise up to be leaders in the house and come along-side new residents when they walk through our doors.”
Contributed by JoAnne Harris