What We’re Doing

Together with the many agencies and corporations, both public and private, providing services, including housing, to people who are experiencing homelessness, we are CREATING A SYSTEM to end homelessness in Middlesex County, NJ. This effort is embodied in the COMING HOME CAMPAIGN.

HOMELESS HOTLINE CASE MANAGEMENT

Coming Home is the case management provider to the County’s Homeless Hotline. Coming Home provides direct case management services to families and individuals experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness and entering the system through the 211 Homeless Hotline. We manage a limited fund received from the State, through the County, to provide temporary, emergency hotel/motel placement when the shelters are full or when a shelter is not a suitable placement for the individual or family. The same fund can also be used, if possible, to assist clients in establishing themselves in permanent housing, through the provision of 1 ½ months’ rent. The latter approach clearly leads to a much better outcome for the client and is how we strive to use the funds, even though it entails more effort on its part. Since it began administering this fund in August 2012, we have succeeded in placing 43% or 73 of the 155 clients we have case-managed in permanent housing.

Coming Home’s community-based case management will serve as a model for its expanded social service navigation through Coordinated Assessment and other means Coming Home hopes to establish as part of its Coming Home Campaign.(See Sustainability).

HMIS and PIT  

On behalf of the County, Coming Home administers the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which facilitates the coordinated provision of services to all seeking them.  This role as HMIS administrator provides the foundation for the establishment of a needs- based system of services, including most importantly housing, for those experiencing homelessness. We manage the data from HMIS and other sources, including the annual Point in Time (PIT) survey of the homeless, to provide an accurate picture of who is experiencing homelessness and their particular needs, which makes matching resources with particularized need possible. We are now able to use the system for operational and planning purposes, as well as for reporting to funding regulators.

Coming Home is also the Point-in-Time (PIT) coordinator for the County, in that it assists the State-appointed agency in the development of the survey tool used in this annual January survey of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless. We also train volunteers and agency personnel in the administration of the survey; conduct an analysis of the data gathered and develop an action plan in response to such analysis.

Coordinated Assessment

Coming Home is working with homeless service providers to create a system of standardized assessment and coordinated referral of persons experiencing a housing crisis. The goals of such a system are to minimize the time anyone in the County experiences a crisis and to prioritize available assistance, based on vulnerability and severity of service needs, to ensure that people who need assistance the most, can receive it in a timely manner. A coordinated assessment (CA) system will also provide information about social and health service needs and gaps to help our broader community better plan its assistance and identify needed resources. The current chronological waiting lists for housing become, instead, prioritization lists, making sure that we rehouse, as quickly as possible, the persons most in need.

The CA process will have all persons enter the “homelessness system” through a triage unit, which, using a concise, standard assessment tool and standard protocols, will immediately place the person into service programs, e.g., a shelter bed. The triage unit will be the NJ 211 homeless hotline service with which the County has a current contract. The service programs will conduct a full assessment, using a more expansive tool to determine needs, strengths and barriers to housing and forward their assessments to the CA Team, housed in Coming Home, which will maintain an inventory of available housing options, review the assessments done by the agencies and prioritize placement based on appropriateness, vulnerability and severity of service needs.

 

 

Coming Home Middlesex