We’re in our new home! As you know, 2014 has been a year of structural changes for ShelterCare. The old timber warehouse in the Whiteaker neighborhood with its promising fir beams and floors, now shines with the honey-glow of natural wood, skylights, huge south and west-facing windows and brightly colored walls. By Thanksgiving, we were fully operational in our new Center for Programs and Services.
The emergence of this new space inspired our teams to imagine significant program renovations as well. Throughout its history, ShelterCare has seized opportunities to add and adjust our programs. Each new program developed a culture of its own, based on the kind of housing offered and the needs of the clients it served.
Today, we’re working in a different landscape. Staff increasingly see the commonalities in their case management services more than the differences. As you can see in the diagram above, clients are the center of a constellation of services provided by their counselor, but also by specialists in specific areas – supported employment, community health workers, benefits and housing specialists, and soon drug and alcohol recovery.
In addition, research and experience in serving clients informs us that people recover greater independence more quickly if the structure of the program requires them to take more responsibility for managing their lives.
As the work space in the new Center took shape, the five programs that work with single adults with mental illness began a deliberative process to combine as one – the new Supported Housing Program. No longer based at each residence or apartment complex, the therapists and skills builders are now housed in the east wing of the new Center as a single, collaborative team. Staff will still meet consumers at their sites, but increasingly encourage consumers to come to the new Center.
The transition is not without challenges for staff and consumers. At the same time, we are excited about meeting those challenges and optimistic about the improved quality of care that our new building and new programs will offer.
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