Services in Supportive Housing: The Impact of Intensive Case Management

Pine Street Inn is one of 57 Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) grantees funded by SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services to provide intensive services to people who experience chronic homelessness. Pine Street Inn in Boston, Massachusetts has used SSH funding to create an innovative case management continuum. This model is designed to assist consumers at various stages of the housing stabilization process.

“We are learning what motivates people to change themselves,” explains Jennifer Warren of Pine Street Inn in Boston, Massachusetts. Pine Street Inn is one of 57 SAMHSA Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) grantees nationwide. SSH funding helps grantee agencies provide intensive services to people experiencing chronic homelessness.

Pine Street Inn provides a comprehensive range of services, including permanent supportive housing, job training, emergency shelter, and street outreach to over 1,300 homeless men and women each day. Founded in 1969, Pine Street Inn is the largest resource for men and women experiencing homelessness in New England.  

Pine Street Inn uses SSH funding to deliver an innovative continuum of case management services. This model is designed to assist people at various stages of the housing stabilization process. SSH-funded case managers work within a six to nine month timeframe to provide highly individualized case management, crisis management, and comprehensive services. All SSH-funded case managers are trained in Motivational Interviewing, Comprehensive Case Management, and cultural competency.

The intensive case management services help prevent homelessness for people at risk of eviction. The services include intensive support to maintain housing. SSH staff also helps to support people entering housing directly from the streets. They provide customized support during the critical transition period as people move from the streets to housing.

One critical component of Pine Street Inn’s continuum of case management is low caseloads.  SSH funding supports a five-member case management team with a ratio of one case manager to ten consumers. This contrasts with the one to 25 ratio that is typical among the agency’s Housing First case managers. SSH-funded case managers work closely with the Housing First case managers to ensure that people who need the most support to maintain housing receive the services they need.

Case managers learn from each other as they support clients. As one case manager commented, “We have seen that SSH-funded case managers have helped Housing First case managers be more effective.” Indeed, the SSH-funded project has helped raise the bar for case management across the agency.

To ensure seamless teamwork, SSH-funded case managers share space with Pine Street Inn’s Housing First case managers. This helps clients get to know all the case managers. It also makes for a smooth transition from SSH-funded case management to Housing First case management when the time is right.

Pine Street Inn’s SSH-funded case management project aims to serve 300 people in five years. In their third year, they have served 100 people and currently have 50 active participants. So far the program has seen positive results.

“The SSH project targets people experiencing chronic homelessness, including those who have had the most barriers to successful stabilization. While we are still in the process of defining success, out of 100 people served and 50 discharged, only four people have been discharged because they did not want services or stopped meeting with us,” offers Jennifer. Given the complex needs among this group of consumers, it sounds like Pine Street Inn is well on its way toward success.

Read the Services in Supportive Housing Annual Report to learn more.

Publication Date: 
Rockville, MD, USA