Cultural Competency:

Cultural Competency refers not only to knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors influenced by race or ethnicity, the concept also includes factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, level of education, physical capacity, spirituality and religion, sexual orientation, and regional influences. People’s beliefs and the demands of their environment influence culture and personal preferences, which is dynamic and continually changing (intellectual evolution).

In order to ensure that the intake/application process for supportive housing is accessible to individuals of all cultural backgrounds we have developed of streamlined intake/application process. Multilingual staff, translated materials, and/or interpretation/translation services are available to students, as needed.   The application includes students’ personal history as well as employment and life experiences. In addition any intake/application forms can be completed orally to accommodate persons of varying literacy levels. If the process requires the applicant come to a particular location, we will schedule the intake to accommodate the students’ needs.

Supportive Services:

Our supportive housing services are a critical component in the overall quality and success of any project. Every household member should have access to a comprehensive package of support services in order to help them use stable housing as a platform for increased quality of health, recovery and personal growth. These services may be provided by Life Coach Navigator’s or in collaboration with the project primary service provider. The primary service provider ensures that Students can access needed services on an ongoing basis.

Supportive services within the project are:

● Student -Centered: Services are voluntary, customized and comprehensive, reflecting the needs of all household members.

● Accessible: Staff actively work to ensure that Students are aware of available services, which are at convenient hours and locations.

● Coordinated: The primary service provider has established connections to mainstream and community-based resources.

● Integrated: Staff support Students in developing and strengthening connections to their community.

● Sustainable: The supportive housing project has funding that is sufficient to provide services to Students on an ongoing basis and flexible enough to address changing Student needs.

Services and Staff Roles:

To the extent possible, our supportive services are customized to the needs of Students. Our supportive housing support services are intended to help ensure housing stability and to maximize each Students ability to live independently. Depending upon the supportive housing model, our supportive services may be provided on-site within the supportive housing development, off-site at a central community location or provided through our mobile team of multidisciplinary service providers that in some cases will visit Students in their units. Additionally, services are designed and delivered to promote integration of Students into their communities to the greatest extent possible.

Our staffing patterns in supportive housing vary based upon the population being served, the goals of the project, the number of Students to be served and available resources. The ratio of direct service staff to Students will vary based upon the anticipated intensity of Student needs, but is often between 1:05 and 1:10. This ratio is for supportive service staff only and does not include housing or property management staff. The examples of services and staff roles below are commonly offered in conjunction with supportive housing, but do not represent an exhaustive list. Services and staffing are tailored to the needs and interests of the targeted Students.

Case Management/Service Coordination

This is the Hallmark of our services in supportive housing. Our case managers does not provide every service a Student needs but helps broker relationships between the Student and other service providers. Case management can include new Student orientation, assisting the Student in accessing services or mental health treatment, and supporting the Student in meeting obligations of tenancy.

Mental Health Services

This category of services focuses on assisting a Student in improving their mental health. Services under this category may include psychosocial assessment, individual or group counseling, support groups, and peer mentoring.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services

This category of services is designed to assist Students in addressing substance abuse. Services may include relapse prevention and recovery planning, individual or group counseling, harm reduction services, and inpatient rehabilitation.

 ● Independent Living Skills

Students in supportive housing may need assistance in acquiring or regaining skills to maximize their independence. This may include assistance with rent payment and budgeting, conflict resolution, training in cooking/meal preparation, training in personal hygiene and self-care, and training in housekeeping and apartment safety.

Employment Services

These services are designed to assist a Student in accessing employment or improving their employment situation. Services may include internship, volunteer, trainee, vocational counseling, job placement or supported employment. Employment service staff may assist Students in developing career plans, establish relationships with businesses in the community to help secure jobs for Students future and serve as collective bargaining representative between Student and Employer.

Health/Medical Services

This category of services ensures that a Student is addressing their physical health. This is particularly important as persons experiencing homelessness often have serious, unaddressed health needs. Services may include routine medical care, HIV services, medication management and nutrition counseling.

Peer supportive Services

For adults, peer support services are provided by someone who is on their own recovery journey and has received training in how to help others who participate in health services. For children, peer services are called “family-to-family” services. Peer support specialists can help people find interesting or fun things to do, attend emotional emancipation circles, advocate for themselves, make friends, get a job, find better housing and learn skills to live well in the community.

Restorative Justice

We based this program on the belief that all processes, programs, practices and/or activities can be restorative if they are values based, stakeholder focused and are grounded in the three goals of community protection, competency development and accountability. The intervention process contains:

·       programs, practices and activity that show equal concern for victims, offenders and community.

·       it encourages offender accountability to repair the harm caused to the victim, family and community and focus on the repair rather than on punishment.

·       it provides opportunities for direct and/or indirect dialogue between the stakeholders.

·       it encourages collaboration, power-sharing and re-integration rather than isolation or silo building.

·       it involves and empower the affected community to increase its capacity to recognize and respond to harm and crime for all community members.


Our plan for providing supportive services to Students are designed to ensure that all members of the household have easy facilitated access to a flexible and comprehensive array of supportive services. This written plan describes the available services, identifying whether they are provided directly or through referral linkages, by whom, in what location, and during what days and hours.

When creating the service plan for our project or evaluating the quality of an existing one, we keep in mind the basic WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY rules of thumb that apply to many planning processes.



As with all aspects of supportive housing planning and operations, the needs and characteristics of prospective supportive housing Students should drive the design of the services plan. We ask ourselves the following questions:

Who is the targeted tenancy? Why was this target population/mix selected? Do the sponsor, funding source(s) and community agree on the proposed Student mix? What supports do you anticipate that the Students will need at initial occupancy? In three years?

How will we respond to changes in the population over time, particularly for Students with substance abuse issues, mental health challenges and/or HIV/AIDS? (e.g. relapse, decompensation, deteriorating health, etc.)



Based on information about the target population and their anticipated service needs, we identify the specific services that will be offered to Students. In addition to identifying the specific services such as case management, employment support, mental health services, judicial support (MLP), substance abuse counseling, life skills education and parenting classes, we also consider:

Are the types and level of supportive services to be provided adequate for the population served?

Will each service be available to all of the Students? When will working Students have access to services?

Are language and literacy barriers addressed? How will staff address the varying backgrounds and cultures of Students?

How many Students do we expect to use each service? With what frequency?

What is the staff/Student ratio? How does this ratio compare to similar supportive housing projects?



The initial plan for supportive services is created during the project planning phase but should be revisited throughout the life of the project, as Students’ needs change. We create a timeline for drafting the services plan, reviewing it and revising it with key partners and beginning its implementation as Students move in.



Our Student service will be offered at a time and location that increases the likelihood that Students will use it. Our first stage in making this determination is identifying where the service will be provided. Although there are many variations, there are typically three options for the location of a given service:

On-Site: In supportive housing projects that have a significant number of supportive housing units located within the same building, it may be feasible to provide services on-site. Students living in buildings with on-site supportive services may access all, some or none of their services on-site, depending on the services available and their individual preferences according to (HUD) housing first parameters.

Community-Based: Students access services at one or more locations in the community. In this service delivery model, we ensure that Students have transportation and any other support in order to successfully participate in services. This model can be used whether the supportive housing units are located in the same building or scattered throughout the community.

Mobile: Students have a case manager or a team of support (such as an Assertive Community Treatment Team) who can provide services at a location of the Students’ choosing. This location could be in the Student’s home, at a community location such as a park or restaurant, or at an organizational office. Mobile services generally follow the Student regardless of their location and are typically used when Students live in units of housing scattered throughout the community.

Regardless of the service provision location, it will be fully accessible with any appropriate reasonable accommodations that can be provided to Students with disabilities to facilitate their participation.



It is important to be clear about the purpose behind the provision of supportive services to Students as well as the underlying philosophies of the Life Coach Navigator’s. We consider:

● How do the services support Students in using stable housing as a platform for health, recovery, and individual growth?

● How will participation in voluntary services be encouraged? Has staff received the support they need to engage Students in this service model?

● How will Students be involved in providing input into the services plan for the project, both initially and on an ongoing basis?

● Will Students be involved in evaluating the effectiveness of the services provided? If so, how?