Front Street is all about helping people…and when they set out to provide supported housing for the mental health consumers in one California neighborhood ; the program lived up to it’s name! Providing the services needed UP FRONT, a consumer could move into decent affordable housing, find work and other needs supported by the program thus gaining a place as a productive member of their community. Who could ask for more? Leaving the stigmas behind…the mental health consumer learns to live well; as would any other member of the community that may have a medical condition. Cheers to Front Street! New Foundminds is looking forward to providing similar services for mental health consumers and veterans in Atlanta communities very soon.
Front St. – People Helping People.The Front St. Supported Housing program provides mental health support services as well as assistance with property management, allowing participants to maintain stable housing and further develop in their recovery. Services are guided by the principal that individuals with serious mental illness can live successfully in integrated community settings when individualized supports and services are provided.
The program opened in 1994 in response to a significant shortage in housing for mental health consumers who had successfully completed a social rehabilitation program. Individuals who had gained the skills necessary to live in their own apartments or shared housing units faced a number of obstacles preventing them from actually doing so, including a lack of psychotherapeutic support to maintain themselves in community housing, a lack of available affordable housing, and insufficient funds for first and last months’ rent plus a security deposit and difficulties maintaining landlord tenant relationships.
Front St.’s Supported Housing team consists of both a Housing Coordinator and Housing Manager. The Housing Coordinator provides mental health support services with a focus on skill development, wellness and recovery. The coordinator is responsible for a variety of tasks ranging from linking clients to services to actually providing intensive clinical or rehabilitative services. Other core functions include outreach to engage clients in services, assessing individual needs, arranging requisite support services (such as money management, benefit programs, and job training), monitoring medication and use of services, and advocating for client rights and entitlements.
The Housing Manager is responsible for locating, leasing and managing property. The manager interfaces between the residents, property owners, the Housing Authority and any other source of rental subsidy. The manager coordinates and oversees building maintenance issues to insure the health, safety and overall well-being of the resident.
All tenants are encouraged to be involved in activities in the community. Some tenants work, some volunteer, and others attend classes or therapeutic and support activities in the community.
At the end of the 2008 fiscal year 42% of the tenants had maintained their housing for over 5 years.
Since 2006, the Supported Housing program has focused on increasing community integration among tenants with a focus on wellness. In the previous two years an average of 8 supported housing clients attended Cabrillo College while an average of 12 individuals held jobs or volunteered regularly in the community. Two female tenants started a weekly walking group and have lost a significant amount of weight, lowered their cholesterol levels, and have changed their diets to include healthier choices.
Arts, Crafts and Entrepreneurship
Clients of the Supported Housing program participated in the Annual Craft Fair for the first time in 2007. Individuals worked together as a group to hand-make crafts to sell at the fair. At the fair they interacted with customers and handed sales independently. The profits were used to fund a community outing organized by the participants.
Tenant Satisfaction Survey
In 2007, 96% of Supported Housing tenants reported that their Front St. Coordinator responds well to their needs.
In 2008, 95% of respondents reported that where they live feels like home to them.
91% of tenants stated they were overall very satisfied with the services they receive from Front St.’s Supported Housing.
Funding for the program comes from a variety of sources, including Santa Cruz County Mental Health, the Santa Cruz County Housing Authority (Section 8), and consumer rents generally provided by Social Security allotments. The Santa Cruz County Mental Health Housing Council nominates potential residents for the program. The housing units vary from single studio units to two and three bedroom apartments and houses and there is no more than one person per bedroom.
Front St. Locations
Serving Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Tuolumne Counties.
Copyright © 2009 Front St