Homelessness Prevention

Prevention Services

Provider: The Haven

Staff: Nancy Carpenter, Prevention Coordinator

Funder: Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development

Eligibility: Prevention services are available to households at imminent risk of becoming homeless that have no other resources. In addition, households must be at or below 30% area median income and have fewer than $500 in assets.

Priority: Prevention services will be targeted to those households at imminent risk of becoming homeless where there has been a previous experience of homelessness that can be verified, when the household is at risk of being evicted from an informal arrangement with family or friends, and an additional risk factor as indicated by the Shinn/Greer Brief Prevention Screener.

Process: It is the intent of the Prevention Program to divert households from entering the shelter system. To that end, prevention services will be provided to those with the highest priority status. Traditional rental assistance, when other mainstream resources are available, or when family and friends may provide shelter, should not be expected from the Prevention Program. Households completing a Coordinated Assessment Packet, or presenting for shelter, should be assessed for possible prevention services. Erin Briggs Yates will review prevention requests.

Waiting List: A ‘dynamic’ waitlist of between 5-10 households eligible for prevention will be maintained by the Prevention Coordinator at The Haven. This ‘dynamic’ list changes continuously based on the influx of newly identified eligible households and priority status. As a result, there is no traditional, first-come/first-served waitlist. Depending on operational choices made by TJACH, the Community Case Review Team and The Haven, and funding availability, this list may be opened at regular intervals to accept new households. Initially, The Haven anticipates reviewing this list monthly to determine administration of prevention services.

Enrollment: The Haven will schedule an enrollment appointment with prioritized households to confirm eligibility and begin the subsidy process. There is no guarantee of a specific number of subsidized months for enrolled households. A case-by-case decision is made to determine how much subsidy a household will receive, whether and how much the household will be required to contribute to the cost of housing, and how long the subsidy will be in place. It is expected that the majority of prevention cases will require short-term or one-time subsidies to avoid homelessness.

Implications: Many people providing and receiving services in the community are accustomed to a traditional waitlist process for allocating services and funding. As a result, this ‘dynamic’ list, based on prioritized eligibility, will not appear or feel fair. It is critical that the service provider community use different language to describe this process and help manage client/guest expectations. It is also important that service providers seek and access all mainstream and community resources to provide housing for households, whether prevention services are available.

Funding: DHCD has awarded this community $120,261 for Prevention for FY17. Of these funds, up to $18,039 may be used to support the case management activities of the Prevention Coordinator position. That leaves $102,222 for prevention.

Current Status: Nancy Carpenter is developing case files, responding to prevention requests, and reaching out to other mainstream prevention providers to coordinate services.