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The Norfolk Model: Homeless Action Response Team (HART). Presentation by Jill Baker, Norfolk Department of Human Services February 7, 2008. Presentation Overview. Background on the HART Team Why/How we decided to change Review of achievements to date

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The norfolk model homeless action response team hart l.jpg

The Norfolk Model:Homeless Action Response Team (HART)

Presentation by Jill Baker,

Norfolk Department of Human Services

February 7, 2008


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Presentation Overview

  • Background on the HART Team

  • Why/How we decided to change

  • Review of achievements to date

  • Discussion of Norfolk Hotline/Centralized Intake

  • Funding changes and challenges

  • Housing Broker Team

  • Challenges we face


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Norfolk Demographics

  • Norfolk is the urban center of Southeastern Virginia with a population of 240,000.

  • Norfolk has the highest poverty rate of 18% but is in the midst of redevelopment efforts in both downtown and the bay front.

  • Homeless population = 502, a decrease of 25% since implementation of the city’s 10 year plan.


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Background on the HART Team

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

  • Cross-functional team of Benefits (Food Stamps, Medicaid, etc.) and Child Welfare employees (Social Workers) whose mission is to develop processes, collaborations, and strategies consistent with the City’s plan to end homelessness. 

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


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Systems Integration

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

  • Work in collaboration with all the community service providers.

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


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The Norfolk System Pre-Centralized Intake

  • Norfolk has had strong homeless service providers; but fragmented service delivery.

  • There were intensive services for families while they were sheltered but no support after exit.

  • Families generally were connected to services as a result of abuse/neglect but no prevention services or collaboration.


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Centralized Intake Now

  • Recent Memorandum of Agreement between NDHS and several of our community partners including three shelters, to provide shelter as well as intensive in-home services to families (Human Services Grant).

  • Establishes a centralized intake (known as the Norfolk Family Hotline) for homeless families that coordinates services among all providers and moves families from homelessness into permanent housing.


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Benefits for NDHS

  • Reduced the number of homeless families being placed in hotels—now 0!!

  • Decreased the number of families turned away from homeless family shelters

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


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Benefits for Norfolk Community Homeless Consortium Members

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

  • Targeted the appropriate families served by the agency;

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

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


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Benefits to Norfolk’s Citizens

  • Have a system that has improved access to services for homeless families in Norfolk;

  • Improved data collection and communication among participating entities (HMIS);

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


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HART Achievements To Date

  • In FY07 HART saw 4567 families and 3065 single adult clients.

  • Of those, HART assisted 689 families with permanent housing (Prevention).

  • This does not include 306 cases using Rapid Exit funds (both families and individuals).

  • HART placed 354 families in shelters.


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How Needs are Assessed

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

  • 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.


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Staffing

  • 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.

  • Shelters rotate responsibility for answering the hotline after hours.


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Newest Development

  • Housing Broker Team--The purpose of the team is to expand the capacity of the existing supply of affordable 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.


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The Housing Broker Team

  • August 1, 2007.

  • Co-located at DHS with HART

  • Consists of 2 Housing Specialists with backgrounds in Property Management, Community/Social Services, and Resource building.

  • Work in direct support of the HART Team.


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Housing Broker Team

  • Initiated contact with existing Landlords(L/L) and Property Managers(PM) and outlined the HART program – including mission and program limitations.

  • Recruited new LLs/PMs.

  • Conducted Site visits of properties and assisted in Move-in inspections.

  • Reviewed all leases prior to signing.

  • Continued contact with LLs and PMs after move-ins.

  • Negotiated security deposits and late fees for HART clients.


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Housing Broker TeamNumbers to Date

Since August 2007 The Housing Broker Team has:

  • Contacted over 100 newLandlords and/or Property Managers.

  • Identified over 2200 affordable rental units in Norfolk.

  • Placed over 100 families into affordable housing.

  • Handled over 235 Housing-Related Referrals.

  • Saved the City of Norfolk over $20,000 in reduced security deposits and waived or reduced late fees.


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Human Service Grants—Local City Funding ($520,000)

Housing Broker Team:

  • one FTE @ $48,000 and

  • a landlord contingency fund of $10,000).

  • Norfolk Foundation—funded second position for FY07.

  • NDHS In-kind—space, computers, supplies.


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Human Service Grants

  • Case Management Services--$71,500 to be paid to two shelters who will provide services to families scoring at moderate or low risk.

  • This includes families in their shelter and those whom HART was able to prevent eviction.

  • Total = $120,000


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HART ExpendituresFY07

  • CSA* $601,069.69

  • Family Pres. $107,814.84

  • TANF/VIEW $98,306.36

  • PSSF $139,618.34

  • Rapid Exit $160,992.50

  • General Relief $6041.76

  • Other Local $840.00

  • Total $1,114,683.49

    *CSA = Comprehensive Services Act


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Gaps in Resources

  • Affordable housing

  • Day care services for non-TANF families

  • Shelter beds

  • Available funding streams need to be strengthened

  • Knowledge base needs to be expanded to include connection between homelessness and child welfare


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Summary

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

  • We expected to have “growing pains” as we added 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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