Support Workers (SW) are usually assigned individual clients (caseloads vary depending upon acuity of client needs) to monitor and conduct case management with in order to place clients into housing. In the case of Follow-Up Support Workers (FSW), the client is usually already housed and the worker’s job is to help the client maintain their housing and connect to resources and services in the community. (For the case of this description we will use the title “Support Worker” but it refers to any type of ongoing support).
Support Workers meet individually with clients (or as part of a team consult) to help a client move towards and maintain stable housing. Their role includes case management planning, crisis intervention, supportive counselling and advocating for and with the client with landlords, service providers and income assistance programs.
Support Workers help clients learn important life skills including budgeting, housekeeping, pet care, and knowledge of landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities. Support workers help clients establish and maintain links with necessary services including health care, addiction treatment, mental health care, ID, job training or placement and volunteer opportunities.
Valuable skills for Support Workers include being able to work independently and as part of a team, strong knowledge of community resources and services, understanding of the multitude of issues facing people experiencing homelessness and skills in the areas of assessment, case management, conflict resolution, negotiation and advocacy.