“Ending homelessness” is a complex and multifaceted endeavor. Case management has been identified as a critical aspect to successfully ending a person‟s or family‟s homelessness. Several months of consultation and research facilitated by the Calgary Homeless Foundation led to the development of this report. Its purpose is to gain clarity on and to set dimensions around the promising practices essential for case managed supports to end homelessness.
The research revealed several key findings:
- Defining case management is a difficult process. Existing research and information from service providers indicated variety and sometimes confusion in how it is described and administered.
- Clarity in language and definitions is critical to a coordinated community of care. The variance and confusion has led to different approaches, and therefore different outcomes, for people accessing services.
- Effective case management is potentially one of the best interventions for a sustained end to homelessness. Research shows that case management works. It has been documented to reduce homelessness between 97% and 100% when done in a holistic and comprehensive way.
- Existing definitions for case management are often done by identifying its key activities, processes and principles, and the roles and core competencies of case managers.
- Local barriers to effective case management include: a complex, fragmented system that leads to staff burnout, rigid and complex resource accessibility, politics, and scarcity approaches to service delivery.
- Promising practices for case management include: collaboration and cooperation, right matching of services, ethical conduct, a coordinated and well managed system and continued professional and sector development.
- Overwhelmingly, peer support was identified by service recipients as a key factor in their success.
- Providing case managers with support to develop and maintain identified core competencies can help reduce staff burnout, ensure adherence to ethical codes and behaviors, increase consistency inpractices across the continuum of care, and improve the likelihood of success for service recipients.