Community Support Services
Supported Housing and Outreach Program
“ I have never dealt with an agency who was as efficient and as caring, and you helped me more than anyone. I could not have asked for a better social worker than Sarah. The whole experience was a huge blessing. And I thank you.”
-J.C. Age 56 – 2008 SHOP Graduate
“Despite my mental and physical disabilities, Lancaster Lodge took the time and the patience to guide me through everything I needed to do to become self-sufficient. I’m going on 5 years now [since getting out of homelessness] and my life couldn’t be better. I could not have made it without them.”
– SHOP Graduate
SHOP was developed to fill a gap in services identified by the Lanc. Interagency Council for the Homeless in the 1998 Continuum of Care Plan to address the growing number of homeless individuals with a chronic mental illness. SHOP is the only agency in Lanc. Co. that provides intensive housing/support services targeting the homeless with a serious mental illness. SHOP operates under the Housing First model as defined by the Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and “Heading Home” The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in Lanc. Co., 2008. Read More
Research indicates homeless persons placed into permanent housing quickly & provided support services are more likely to remain in permanent housing (Solutions for America, 2003). This “Housing First” concept, supported by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, has been proven to be effective in serving homeless individuals with a mental illness. SHOP is only one of two agencies in Lancaster Co. that provides these types of Housing First services & the only Housing First program that exists solely to address the needs specific to those who are homeless & have a mental illness.
Staff works with each client to develop an individualized Support Plan indicating their need areas, focusing primarily on housing, budgeting, and the attainment/maintenance of income & employment. The minimal requirements for an individual to access SHOP services are: age 18 or older, have a diagnosed mental illness, currently reside in Lancaster Co., and be homeless.
- Housing: SHOP follows the Housing First model by assisting clients to obtain stable, permanent, safe housing first, & after assists them in their other need areas. SHOP has developed relationships with 175+ landlords, enabling clients with negative credit and/or rental references to obtain suitable housing. Housing procurement services, in addition to helping with housing searches, also includes utilities connection, procurement of household goods & furniture, trainings on tenant/landlord rights/responsibilities & fire safety.
- Budgeting: Each client is required to have a rep-payee to manage their finances or work with Staff on budgeting. Staff assists clients to complete budget forms, pay bills on time, & save for future needs.
- Income/Employment: Staff assists clients to apply for all sources of income they would be eligible for, attain employment whenever feasible, & maintain their sources of income to increase chances of success
If you would like more information on the Supported Housing and Outreach Program, contact Community Support Director, Mandy Grosh at (717) 368-5225.
Supported Housing Program
The Supported Housing Program (SHP) is designed as a responsive and flexible alternative to traditional residential programs. The Supported Housing Program is designed to afford mental health consumers the opportunity to receive a myriad of individualized support services in the housing option of their choice. The Supported Housing Program provides an array of housing support services that are individualized to meet the needs of each program participant. Read More
Individuals experiencing mental illness deserve the opportunity to access a housing option of their choice, coupled with support services designed for their specific needs which offers the greatest opportunity for self sufficiency. The Lodge Supported Housing Program offers just that in four basic objectives:
- To assist people experiencing a mental illness with the procurement of safe, affordable housing
- To offer skill development to all program participants to enable individuals to maintain housing, increase their community support network and gain the skills and abilities needed to become more self sufficient
- To provide ongoing support to program participants to develop and meet their personal life goals.
- To graduate program participants to independent living as it pertains to each individual.
The Lodge maintains a vast network of landlords and building management organizations that have previous experience working with the Lodge to provide housing for people who utilize the SHP program. This web of community connections helps the SHP staff to access scarce housing resources for program participants. Individuals who experience a serious mental illness present unique challenges in accessing safe, affordable housing due to years of instability in and out of hospitals, programs, and potentially without homes, many individuals have terrible credit or none at all, little to no positive renting experience, and past or present charges that make a new start difficult and qualifying for rental assistance impossible.
SHP program coordinators assist each individual with an initial budgeting planning session to determine what level of permanent housing is affordable for their level of income. If an individual has no income, accessing mainstream services such as TANF, Medicare, Medical Assistance, Social Security, Public Assistance, Food Stamps and other entitlement programs become the priority. The program coordinators work intensively with the individual to acquire mainstream entitlement programs. This process usually includes transportation and accompaniment to appointments, where the program coordinator acts as an advocate for the individual. If the program coordinator needs assistance with a particular case, the program coordinator will refer the person to legal services or other providers who can assist the individual. If a referral is made to another provider, the SHP program coordinator works collaboratively with the legal or other representative to access services for the individual quickly and efficiently.
The Lodge program coordinator assists the individual to determine their preference for geographic location of the new housing, as well as identifying their specific needs in housing. Specifically, the program coordinator helps the individual assess the need for amenities such as public transportation, shopping, and laundry to their potential housing location. After determining a housing budget the program coordinator develops a housing search plan that will review housing options, including private landlords, public housing and other programs specifically designed to potentially meet the housing needs of the individual.
Program coordinator makes contact with landlords on behalf of the individual or coaches the individual in contacting landlords to view potential places to live. The program coordinator educates the individual or sets up training with the local legal services program to access training in landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities. This provides first time renters with an overview of what is expected from them as good tenants and conversely what they should expect from their potential landlord.
Once a potential housing site is found, the program coordinator advocates for the individual, specifically assisting with lease negotiation, acquisition of furnishings, developing a moving plan, acclimation to the neighborhood, and other functions to assist the individual in settling into the neighborhood.
Once individuals are placed in permanent housing, the service plan shifts the focus from obtaining housing to maintaining and sustaining housing. The length of time an individual receives services from the SHP program is dependent on the individual’s ability to increase their income to sustain housing, stability with regard to mental health issues, level of skill attainment with basic life skills, and their ability to develop a natural support system within their neighborhood and social network. Other factors specific to each individual or family are also considered before services are discontinued. Often if an individual could benefit from extended supportive services the SHP program specifically provides flexible, community supports to people who experience a serious mental illness with no length of stay requirements. The program was developed with the understanding that some individuals may need a safety net of professional support for an indefinite period of time in order to maintain their highest level of independence.
If you are interested in learning more about the Supported Housing Program, contact Community Support Director, Mandy Grosh at (717) 368-5225.