How a Catholic transitional housing program is helping families succeed
Every client comes to Catholic Charities from a unique situation. Case managers work with each client to develop an individualized plan to help them to self-sufficiency.
Catholic Charities case manager Annie Rischard said, “After many years of incarceration, serving time for drug-related charges, Theresa was released from prison and moved into a sober living house. She had a stable job, but needed guidance and support to find and secure independent housing.”
“She was a very hard worker, a caring mother and frugal spender,” Rischard said. “Although she struggled with anger management and with figuring out how to adjust to life outside of prison, she did her best to find housing and tried to start saving for a car. When her best wasn’t working, that’s when she came to us for help.”
Because of the barriers created from her time in prison, it took time for Theresa to gain trust with Rischard. After meetings on a regular basis, trust was formed and they could establish specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive goals that would result in a permanent lifestyle.
Rischard is one of several Family H.O.P.E. case managers at Catholic Charities. Family H.O.P.E. stands for “help, organize, prioritize, empower.”
With Rischard’s assistance, Theresa overcame her challenges.
“Working with someone after being recently released from prison presented some special challenges,” Rischard said. “I had to approach Theresa’s situation differently than other clients. Obtaining housing with a criminal background is difficult to do, but I had faith we would figure something out.”
Catholic Charities offers short-term transitional housing services to a small number of qualified clients. This service gives clients who are already enrolled in a Catholic Charities program the opportunity to start creating a home.
“Many clients cannot afford rent and utility deposits, bills and household necessities. The transitional housing program gives them the opportunity to live on their own while paying reduced rent, which allows them to build a savings fund and increase their life-skills while working closely with a case manager,” Senior Director of Social Services Damon Britton said.
“Through case management, clients in the transitional housing program are able to receive the support and guidance to achieve their goal of permanent housing,” Britton added. “Each client who is enrolled in the program comes to us with unique strengths and struggles, but is working hard to become independent.”