Lessons Learned

We want to share some of our challenges with you, so a greater understanding of our vision and mission can be found, along with the ‘why’ of what we do.

While we would love to boast 100% success with each client, that is not always the case.  There are at times people who enter our programs who are not ready to accept the hard challenges that face them, either in AODA recovery, a financial breakdown, or some other difficult situation.

You may wonder “why would we choose to help someone who wasn’t ready and willing to give it their all to succeed?”  Here is the Why.

Meet Adam.  He was at the top of the prioritization list.  A list that is formed using the coordinated entry pre-screen process.  A requirement for North Central Community Action Program (and other agencies in the State) because we are HUD funded for this program.  Adam is not a person that most would normally choose to help and use program dollars on, because of his past failures.  Which is exactly why the Coordinated Entry Pre-Screen process was developed.

People were slipping through the cracks. Agencies in the business of helping the homeless were picking those homeless individuals who they knew would be successful.  Successful, because the barriers they had were significant, but not overwhelming.  All agencies want to be successful, because our future funding depends on it. Yes, the less successful we are, the less money we receive.  So not only does the process allow those with the most barriers the greatest opportunity, it also presents the agencies with a paradox.  While we do not mind being accountable for our program dollars (everyone should be), we also find it frustrating to get our funding cut because our client may choose not to take the structured assistance we provide.  Hence, the challenge.

Back to Adam.  He came to us homeless, on the road to a recovery from a methamphetamine addiction and a long record of arrests for various charges.  He chose to come to us for help.  After being in our transitional housing program for seven months, he became non-compliant. He chose not to continue looking for full-time work.  He chose not to show up to work the part-time position NCCAP had secured for him.  He chose not to go to counseling. He chose not to get additional education. He told us that he didn't have to do anything.

Ultimately, North Central Community Action Program decided to terminate Adam from the program.

WHAT WE LEARNED during that process:

As hard as we try, not every client will succeed completely.  We must remain positive and continue the journey because many, many more will be successful and need our assistance. 

We learned that our partners in the community that we often refer our clients to could help us as well.

Judicare looked at the agreements that we used in our programs and suggested additional wording that allowed us to exit a person more easily from tenancy in an apartment.  Thereby avoid going through a civil court action, reducing the use of precious funds and time.  We can help another more willing homeless person to receive the assistance they need, sooner.

Law enforcement and County officials learned more about our programs and now have a greater understanding of what exactly we do.  They were not familiar with our housing programs and didn’t realize that we are actually helping people, not enabling them to continue down a path of self-destruction.  They learned we have many partners in the community and we all work together and try not to duplicate services, thereby making all of us stronger and able to help more people.