When someone moves into our housing, they don’t just get a key to a door and a roof above their head. They are supported by on-site case management to focus on building relationships to enable the tenants to set and meet their goals for successful recovery from homelessness, mental illness and/or substance abuse.
In the past, access to housing required people experiencing mental illness and homelessness to demonstrate “housing readiness” by achieving sobriety or entering treatment before they were offered permanent housing. This approach was founded upon a logic of earning the opportunity for housing, but largely precluded people with more complex problems from accessing housing.
While traditional housing programs are intended to ensure that underlying causes of homelessness are addressed, it can be extremely difficult to work towards recovery from mental illness and co-occurring disorders while lacking the security of a home. Without access to safe, decent and affordable housing, individuals cycle in and out of hospitalizations, get caught in a cycle of minor criminal justice involvement and over utilize public services, such as ambulances, emergency rooms, and crisis beds.
Our housing and wrap-around services are not time limited for persons who are homeless and have a disabling condition. It differs from transitional housing because our tenants have all rights of tenancy — they pay rent and sign leases, and there is no limit on the duration of stay. They are finally home.
To help meet the needs of people living within the Association’s apartment complexes, we offer our Community Health and Wellness Primary Care services. It is made possible through a collaboration between the William K. Warren Foundation and the Association.
Once someone is enrolled in the Community Health and Wellness Primary Care services, the person will have:
Our Metropolitan Apartment Program – Long-term Supportive (MAP-LTS) features scattered-site apartments for people who can live independently in the community when provided supportive services.
Once people move off the streets and into our housing, our dynamic MAP staff members build trust and lasting relationships with our new tenants. It’s their job to walk alongside tenants as they connect to services in the community and continue on their path to recovery.
In addition, MAP now offers its MAP Auxiliary program, which promotes working with families, prevention and Women in Recovery, along with current participants who have become more independent and require fewer services from team members.
The program’s objectives include establishing housing stability, increased income and skill level, and increased self-sufficiency.
Our Pathways case managers are on the streets reaching out to Tulsa and Oklahoma City’s most vulnerable citizens, including veterans, young adults and those who have experienced homelessness for months, years or even decades.
It doesn’t matter where someone is living — an encampment hidden in the woods, or under a bridge — our Pathways case managers seek them out to offer hope and housing. But some people aren’t ready to make a sudden leap from the streets into housing, so it can take several visits over multiple weeks to build enough trust with the person. Once that trust is formed, it’s a lasting relationship that, ultimately, leads to a new life in recovery.
Once the person identifies their most pressing needs, such as housing and connecting to treatment, we wrap a team of supporters around them. The personalized team may include everyone from a homeless shelter case manager to a loved one, who always helps them out in a crisis. The Pathways case manager’s role is to follow up with the team members to, for instance, ensure the participant receives a Social Security card.
The simple act of having a place to call home is a game-changing opportunity, which allows people to stabilize and focus on their treatment needs. A key component of our housing is the wrap-around services and supportive case management that are provided to help ensure that people will be successful.
Case managers check in on tenants, provide ongoing needs assessments, and help them access treatment services in the community, avoiding more intensive interventions, such as hospital stays. This helps individuals to maintain their stability and work towards increased income, skill level, and increased self-sufficiency.
Peer support specialists work closely with case managers to support program participants and provide insight into maintaining a strong and successful recovery. Peer support specialists are individuals who are in recovery from homelessness and mental illness. Their ability to directly relate to the challenges and concerns of the program participants makes them a critical piece of the support system to ensure successful reintegration into housing and the community.
Furthermore, our most vulnerable tenants impacted by mental illness are connected with a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT). These PACT team members are trained in the areas of psychiatry, social work, nursing, substance abuse, and vocational rehabilitation. PACT recipients receive the multi-disciplinary, round-the-clock staffing of a psychiatric unit, but within the comfort of their own apartment.