High Risk Prevention Program:
Regular dependence on LEAVEN is strongly discouraged. Our help is, by definition, limited. Our goal is to help people through their crisis and connect them to the resources that will guide them out of poverty. This approach is very effective with the majority of our clients who experience one-time or situational poverty. However, there is a small faction of our clients whose poverty is more persistent and problems more complex.
Our High-Risk Prevention Program, a collaboration with Homeless Connections, addresses the needs of individuals and families who are imminently at-risk of homelessness because of the magnitude of their crisis or their chronic inability to meet with own basic needs.
Through intensive case management, the issues that plague the client are identified and addressed. An individual case plan is formulated, goals are established, and expectations set. These plans seek to eliminate the barriers preventing self-sufficiency and ensure the optimal use of a client’s financial resources. Clients are expected to work closely with the High-Risk Prevention Program Manager and follow the case plan as their compliance greatly impacts their success.
We have been able to identify 3 categories of clients within the High-Risk Prevention Program, each category with their own measure of success. We refer to the categories as Hand Up, Hand Out and Hands On:
- Hand Up: There are those who are willing and able to become self-sufficient, they embrace the case plan and are impacted by the financial and referral assistance of the program. For these clients, the program reduces recidivism and promotes greater self-sufficiency, resulting in reduced dependency on community resources.
- Hand Out: There are those who are able to reduce their dependency but unwilling to follow a case plan. The program weeds out these people who are only looking for a financial hand-out. They are welcome to reapply, but they must be willing to comply with the case plan.
- Hands On: There are those in our community who have significant barriers to self-sufficiency and will likely always require some assistance. These barriers are either long-term or permanent, often through no fault of their own, and compromise their ability to work. A case plan is still written, but self-sufficiency is often dependent on the availability of other programs and services. Success is measured by our acknowledgment that these clients may always have financial struggles and by our willingness and ability to provide them a safety net.
- In 2017, the High-Risk Prevention Program served 274 households (755 people), successfully keeping 99% of those households in their community housing and out of shelter.
- While we haven’t been able to eradicate poverty among this population, we have been able to lengthen the time between their crises and reduce the amount of financial assistance required to address it. Of the people who received assistance through the program in 2016, 71% did not return for additional assistance in 2017.
- What cannot be measured are the dignity and satisfaction the person receives in being able to provide for their own needs.
We’ve learned a lot in our 10+ years of experience with this program. We know that self-sufficiency takes time, but begins with addressing basic needs first. We know that some of our clients need more intensive follow-up services than what the program was designed to address. This realization resulted in the Next Step Program, a collaboration with Appleton St. Vincent de Paul and Homeless Connections.