The norfolk hotline and the homeless action response team hart
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The Norfolk Hotline and the Homeless Action Response Team (HART). Presentation by Jill Baker Norfolk Department of Human Services. Presentation Overview. Background on the HART Team Review of achievements to date

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The Norfolk Hotline and the Homeless Action Response Team (HART)

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The norfolk hotline and the homeless action response team hart

The Norfolk Hotline and the Homeless Action Response Team (HART)

Presentation by Jill BakerNorfolk Department of Human Services

Presentation overview

Presentation Overview

  • Background on the HART Team

  • Review of achievements to date

  • Discussion of Norfolk Hotline (how it is different, what we expect to be the outcomes)

Background on the hart team

Background on the HART Team

  • HART was established in 2004 as an initiative of the Norfolk Department of Human Services.

  • HART is a cross functional team of Benefits (Food Stamps, Medicaid, etc.) and Child Welfare employees (Social Workers) whose mission is to develop processes, collaborations, and strategies to end homelessness in the City of Norfolk. 

  • As of January 16, 2007, this team serves as a single point of contact for all homeless families seeking services in Norfolk.

Systems integration

Systems Integration

  • Referrals are accepted from all program areas within Norfolk’s Child and Family Services (CPS, Foster Care, Adoptions, and Family Preservation)

  • Work in collaboration with all the child welfare program areas.

  • Have developed a Memorandum of Understanding with our community partners/shelters.

Hart achievements to date

HART Achievements to Date

  • HART provided services to 1275 single adults and 7099 families during calendar year 2006 (Total of 8374).

  • So far in FY07 (July – December 2006), 1003 single adults and 4132 families have been served (total of 5135).

  • HOW MANY REMAIN HOUSED? Rapid Exit participants are at 88% for housing retention (at 3 months) and less than 5% have utilized shelter since receiving services.

  • While homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing of homeless individuals and families is our most utilized service…..

  • HART is not just a rental assistance program.

Goals for hart


  • To empower individuals to become self-sufficient by focusing on strengthening families and connecting them to community resources to assist them.

  • To provide housing, budgeting services, job training, benefits, legal services, substance abuse and mental health services.

  • To provide in-home services and case management to those families needing more intensive services.

Centralized intake

Centralized Intake

  • Recent Memorandum of Agreement between NDHS and several of our community partners including three shelters, a DV shelter, and several agencies providing intensive in-home services to families.

  • Establishes a centralized intake (known as the Norfolk Hotline) for homeless families that will rapidly move families from homelessness into permanent housing.

Benefits for ndhs

Benefits for NDHS

  • Reduce the number of homeless families being placed in hotels

  • Decrease the number of turn-aways from homeless family shelters

  • Ensure homeless families in Norfolk are rapidly re-housed in permanent housing, thereby improving child well-being.

Benefits for norfolk community homeless consortium members

Benefits for Norfolk Community Homeless Consortium Members

  • Shorten the length of shelter stays for homeless families served;

  • Increase the number of families served by the agency annually;

  • Improve performance outcomes as more families exit to permanent housing; and

  • Decrease the administrative burden of the intake process while improving the information available on the housing and service needs of families served.

Benefits to norfolk s citizens

Benefits to Norfolk’s Citizens

  • Development of a system that will improve access to services for homeless families in Norfolk;

  • Improve data collection and communication among participating entities;

  • Improve the performance and coordination of the continuum of care for homeless families.

Estimated client flow

Estimated Client Flow

  • Based on projections, we expect 700+ families per month to participate in Hotline services (5400 per year with some duplication).

  • Of those, 500+ will receive counseling only, 12 will be placed in shelter, and 170 will receive permanent housing assistance.

  • Approximately 75 families/month will be identified as needing intensive services.

How needs are assessed

How Needs are Assessed

  • HART utilizes a standardized tool known as Structured Decision-Making.

  • What it does: Identifies and structures critical decision points; Increases consistency in decision making; Increases accuracy of decision making; targets resources to families most at risk

  • Risk assessment tool combines structure, research and clinical judgement.

Hart expenditures fy07

HART ExpendituresFY07

  • CSA $317,068.76

  • Family Pres. $108,251.97

  • VIEW $80,079.59

  • PSSF $1,124.83

  • Rapid Exit $23,200.67

  • Housing-POS $300.00

  • General Relief $2,108.37

  • Total $532,134.19

Anticipated impact of hotline

Anticipated Impact of Hotline

  • Increased service expenditures through the Comprehensive Services Act (which are included in budget projections for 2008 and for which City share is 25%).

  • Improved outcomes for children and families (foster care prevention, reduction in incidents of child abuse and neglect).



  • There has been no new staff added to support the HART initiative.

  • Realignment of existing staff.

  • Volunteers and support from Shelters are essential to handle volume of demand.

  • Recruitments are now underway for volunteer support.

  • Shelters will rotate responsibility for hotline after hours.

Still to be developed

Still to be Developed

  • Housing Broker Team--The purpose of the team is to expand the capacity of the existing supply of low-cost housing to accommodate families and individuals leaving the service system or being diverted from the service system. The long-term goal is to merge all city-wide housing resources with all landlord contacts to be managed by the Housing Broker Team.

Gaps in resources

Gaps in Resources

  • Affordable housing

  • Day care services for non-TANF families

  • Shelter beds



  • Norfolk HART program will improve services and outcomes for homeless families.

  • At least initially, we expect to have “growing pains” as we add volunteers and partners to staff the hotline.

  • Over time, we expect this project will serve as a national model in aligning child welfare and homeless/benefits programs (using existing resources) that improve outcomes for families.

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