The Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) helps families find long-term housing. AfterCare helps them keep it.
What do families do after leaving a shelter program? Some were working previously, had a setback like an illness, and just needed a couple months to find a new job and save again for their own apartment or house. Others need a longer-term approach in transitional housing to build skills and networks for a few months to increase employability or earning capacity. Some times there are other factors like unresolved trauma, a previous eviction, or a criminal record, that can be an obstacle and need treatment, expungement, etc. Last, some families might have a developmental, intellectual, or other disability that requires permanent supportive housing.
The case manager in AfterCare builds on the work accomplished in IHN. First, immediate needs are met through coordinating partnerships. Families often have little to no furniture, so the AfterCare case manager arranges for donated housewares and furniture to arrive from our partner The Mustard Seed of Central Indiana (call them to donate furniture!). Also, transportation can be a big obstacle to employment, so the AfterCare case manager receives tax deductible vehicle donations and supports families with the earned gift of a vehicle.
Most importantly, monthly home visits are made with families that successfully left the IHN program for up to two years. The visits will be more frequent based upon the needs of the family, assessed through a self-sufficiency matrix. The case manager will discuss receipts for the past month and guide families through a monthly budgeting worksheet for next month, refer and check in on health concerns, support the parents/caregivers in navigating the school system and their children's education, and more. More than 80% of the families are still housed after two years in AfterCare. (Note: Many of the 20% of families that experience homelessness again are candidates for permanent supportive housing placement, but the units are not yet available. This is improving thanks to the work of the Indianapolis Continuum of Care.)