Are you looking for training and technical assistance that will help you end homelessness? We can provide high quality affordable training and technical assistance on a wide range of topics. Please see our options below.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, we can customize our training and services to meet your needs with our expert trainers and world-renowned faculty. Contact us to learn more.
Coordinated Access 101
With all the great work and successes coming from Housing First, one that that many communities are lacking is a coordinated approach to all of their efforts to end homelessness. Coordinated Access (CA) is an approach that ensures that coordination happens and that homeless individuals are better supported by the system through intake, assessment, and prioritization for both housing and supports. Through CA 101, we can assist your community in learning how a CA system should be established, and function, and you will be able to determine where your community is and where it needs to go next. This training will also assist obtaining community buy-in to this coordinated approach. This would typically be two full days of interactive training.
Coordinated Access (Individual Components)
CA has several components. Maybe your community is already engaged in the development of a CA system. Maybe you already understand CA overall. Maybe you are a veteran when it comes to CA. That does not mean that there may be separate elements of the model that you would like some more in-depth assistance with. Each component of CA can be broken out and trainings can occur related to each one depending on your community needs and wishes. Each component on its own would mean about a half day of training and the training can be tailored to your needs. These separate elements would include: Intake, Assessment, Access, Prioritization, Matching and Referral, Data Management, Governance, etc.
A By-Name List (BNL) is a real-time list of all people experiencing homelessness in your community. It includes a robust set of data points that support coordinated access and prioritization at a household level and an understanding of homeless inflow and outflow at a system level. This real-time actionable data supports triage to services, system performance evaluation and advocacy (for the policies and resources necessary to end homelessness). Additionally, the BNL allows for a greater level of accountability and tracking of the changes in your homeless-serving system. We can assist you with understanding the BNL and how it can be established and used to its fullest. This training can be tailored like the others but on its own would typically last from .5 to 1.5 days.
Another important aspect of ending homelessness is to build in mechanisms to keep people from entering homelessness in the first place. Diversion is a preventative practice associated with ensuring that those who are for the first time being introduced to homelessness either by arriving at shelter or facing imminent eviction, are worked with immediately to prevent them from entering the shelter if it can be avoided. We know that just staying one night in shelter can drastically increase the chances of remaining homeless longer term. And the longer someone is in shelter, the more likely they are to stay homeless. Diversion training will help you learn what is necessary to set up diversion programming and best practices associated with operating it. This would typically be a 1.5-day interactive training.
Similar to Diversion, prevention is a model for assisting those that may be struggling with paying their rent or other things that are putting their housing at risk. Similar strategies can be implemented to be helpful in preventing these individuals from ever losing their existing housing. Training for this topic would be generally a day long effort.
Housing First 101
Housing First 101 provided participants with a thorough understanding of the core principles and philosophical framework of the Housing First model. The training is interactive and involves participants learning the what, why, and how of Housing First. This training can be provided in a half day, full day or a two full day format depending on the depth of learning desired. This training is appropriate for those that are new to the Housing First concept as well as those that have practiced Housing First for some time but need a refresher or need to realign themselves with true Housing First practice.
Housing First Core Principles
Sometimes programs or staff are looking for or needing additional training or understanding about the individual principles that make up the Housing First model. Each principle can be addressed in a half day. Those principles include:
- Choice in Housing and Services: This principle is the most misunderstood concept. Practitioners get confused about the difference between giving Housing First participants the opportunity to experience self-determination and having a say in their life and blanket choice regarding every aspect of their life.
- Separation of Housing and Services: This training helps individuals understand how and why housing should not be contingent upon participation in supports and access to supports is not contingent upon housing status.
- Service Array: Participants learn the importance of ensuring that individuals being served by Housing First have access to a broad range of supports based on their choice. Additionally, we discuss the importance of Housing First programs having formal linkages with supports to ensure quick and effective access to them.
- Recovery Orientation: This principle focuses on helping Housing First participants move beyond just housing to opportunities to improve their quality of life in a client-driven way. Things like community and social integration, meaningful daily activity and others will be addressed.
- Program Structure: This training helps attendees understand the key elements of a Housing First team/program that improves their operations and best supports participants in successfully engaging in recovery.
- Home Visits: A key element of successful Housing First implementation is the Home Visit. It is very difficult to help someone maintain their housing without ever being in their home and learning how things are going there. Home visits are something that should be occurring on a regular basis to assess the level the individual is adapting to housed life. This training will explain the importance of regular home visits and the intricacies’ of what makes them effective and useful including how to determine frequency and structure of the visits. This training could be from .5 to 1 day in length.
Housing First for Youth (HF4Y)
This training provides attendees with a complete understanding of the HF4Y framework developed by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. Based on the original Housing First model, HF4Y outlines variations in the principles and other philosophical and operational concepts that are specific to the needs of youth. There are differences in how youth experience and address homelessness and therefore we must take different approaches to assist youth escape or exit homelessness. This training will explain these components fully and provide listeners with an understanding of how the model effectively serves youth.
Housing First for Veterans
This workshop covers principles that have been found effective for this population. While this population also requires Housing First and harm reduction strategies, it is important to understand these in context of military culture. With peer support, veterans are interested in someone who understands the cultural differences between homelessness and the armed forces, and helps them reclaim their identity as a veteran.
- Webpage reference: http://www.homelessprevention.ca/home.html
Housing First and Indigenous People
Indigenous homelessness is a human condition that describes First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals, families or communities lacking stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means or ability to acquire such housing. Unlike the common colonialist definition of homelessness, Indigenous homelessness is not defined as lacking a structure of habitation; rather, it is more fully described and understood through a composite lens of Indigenous worldviews. These include: individuals, families and communities isolated from their relationships to land, water, place, family, kin, each other, animals, cultures, languages and identities. Importantly, Indigenous people experiencing these kinds of homelessness cannot culturally, spiritually, emotionally or physically reconnect with their Indigeneity or lost relationships (Aboriginal Standing Committee on Housing and Homelessness, 2012). This training provides practitioners with learning about ways of engaging, understanding wellness, the road to interdependence, the impact of complex trauma, varying supports and ways of healing, abandonment and attachment, and more. This training can also range from 1-2 days.
Housing First and FASD
Many individuals deemed appropriate for Housing First supports also have FASD. The challenges associated make maintaining housing and avoiding high-risk situations much more difficult. This training helps people understand in detail, what FASD is and how it impacts housing. It also explores how FASD can be addressed in a Housing First context and how Housing First programs can make accommodations in practice to better support those with FASD.
Person-Centred Intensive Case Management
Intensive Case Management, (ICM) is an intensity of Housing First service delivery designed to assist moderate to higher acuity participants within a harm reduction and Housing First framework. It features service practitioners as brokers of services, assisting participants in accessing services beyond themselves for their ongoing housing stabilization, and can be delivered by non-clinical staff practitioners. Attendants will gain familiarity with the basic principles of Housing First that provide its foundation, gain an insight into not just the “how” but the “why” of this intensity of service, and be able to identify their roles within an ICM team.
Person-Centered Practices are used with people, teams and organizations. It works at all levels of an organization to ensure the people are truly listened to and are kept at the forefront of all decision-making; how a service is commissioned, provided and organized. It underlies and guides respectful strength-based practices which leads to actions, resulting in people who:
- Have positive control over the life they desire and find satisfying
- Are recognized and valued for their contributions
- Are supported in a web of relationships, both natural and paid, within their communities.
This training can be tailored for:
- Frontline workers to provide Person-Centered Intensive Case Management: harm reduction, home visits, landlord engagement, community integration, trauma-informed care, case conferencing, discerning roles and responsibilities, peer engagement.
- Team Leads to build strong and productive teams, Person-Centered strength in teams, team meetings, positive and productive supervision, stress and support, discerning roles and responsibilities, problem solving as a team, matching staff.
These practices are relevant and true in all areas of the work you do in Housing First from:
- Person-Centered Strength in Team Leadership, and building strong Housing First Teams
- Person-Centered Strength Based Intensive Case Management
- Person-Centered Harm Reduction
- Being Person-Centered with all population served
- Peer Support and Lived Experience in Housing First
- Assertive Community Treatment in Housing First
Provide intensive treatment, rehabilitation and support services for individuals with serious mental illness and complex needs who find it difficult to engage in other mental health services. The goal is to support these individuals in their recovery and their desire to live in the community. The ACT teams are multidisciplinary, each having a social worker, nurses, vocational specialist, occupational therapist, psychiatrist, peer support worker, and an addictions specialist. They provide psychiatric treatment, administer and monitor medications, help to access community services, and assist individuals in their activities of daily living. Support is provided as frequently as required and they ensure clients are supported 24 hours a day.
Motivational Interviewing (MI on the Fly: Collaborative Change for Housing First Participants)
Once folks are housed, how can we facilitate positive changes in their lives, while centering them as decision-makers and offering choice? Motivational Interviewing is a highly researched and evidence-based practice which targets people’s motivation to change, and offers strategies for expanding that motivation through dialogue. Given that in the context of Housing First work, we usually don’t have these kind of conversations in traditional counselling settings in offices, in this training we will explore and practice how to apply these skills and strategies “On the Fly” when doing outreach. This is normally offered as a two-day training for frontline Housing First workers.
Assertive Engagement is an approach to working with folks with complex needs and multiple barriers related to housing, mental health, and substance use. It combines aspects of Motivational Interviewing, Assertive Community Treatment, and a strengths-based approach. Alternating between theory and practice, we will explore these ideas and work with real scenarios the team is working on. We could have a greater emphasis on Motivational Interviewing and narrative therapy (a strengths-based / social justice approach) to work on tools to motivate folks who are struggling with multiple barriers.
Harm Reduction is an internationally recognized pillar to “Four Pillar Drug Strategies.” It is an evidence-based practice and foundational to all work within or in combination with Housing First. The core premise is that instead of insisting on or pushing individuals to an abstinence-based route, we instead work with them on recognizing harm they might be doing to themselves and working to decrease or minimize the harm associated with their various behaviors. In this seminar, attendants will learn to take on a “harm reduction mindset,” identify and create strategies for harm reduction plans, and be able to apply harm reduction principles to all areas of practice, both substance use and others.
Trauma-informed Care and Practice: Co-creating Safety and Choice for Survivors
Trauma is an experience so intense that our capacity to cope becomes overwhelmed. This is a common theme among Housing First participants – trauma both contributes to homelessness, and homelessness is traumatizing. Recent research has given us clearer insight into how trauma is created, and the most effective ways to build resilience with those who are navigating trauma. In this workshop, Brian will lead us through the four key best practices in trauma-informed practice. We will discuss the biological and neurological implications of traumatic experiences, and how best to respond – as well as how to take care of ourselves as workers to avoid compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout.
Mindfulness as a “We Care” Strategy for Sustaining Housing First Workers
Housing first work is both inspiring and intense. How can we manage the emotional, physical, and mental impact that this can have on staff? Mindfulness is a highly-researched intervention that promotes well-being for staff and therapeutic presence for clients, and in particular has strongly demonstrated anti-anxiety effects. Rather than seeing staff retention as an individualized “self-care” strategy, what if we were to build mindfulness into Housing First programs as a “we-care” strategy? In this experiential workshop, we will explore not just the theoretical and neurobiological underpinnings of mindfulness, but also some practices that we can bring back to our teams to build a culture of care in our workplaces.
Faith groups are a natural yet often underused resource in a community’s efforts to end homelessness. Members of faith communities are often looking for ways to help and want to help beyond just giving blankets, socks and meals. They want to make a difference. They also can generally come with “armies” of supportive individuals. This training will guide faith groups in learning how they can participate in the Housing First approach and support homeless individuals in obtaining and maintaining housing and stabilize their lives using best practices based on the Housing First model and philosophy. The length of time for this training will depend on whether the request is for information or if there is a desire for additional consultation and support to begin to build a similar approach.