Responding to homelessness requires a range of strategies to meet the diverse needs of the clients. One agency is not able to be everything for everyone. “Most people working in any human system but especially where service users present with multiple needs acknowledge that working in coordination with other services results in better client outcomes” (Evans et al, 2011, p. 29).
So how do we do this? Phillips et al suggest that are five objectives for developing and analyzing homelessness integration initiatives:
- improved client outcomes
- simplified client access and pathways
- greater equity and consistency in service practice standards
- increased efficiency
- enhanced accountability
By examining the way the existing system works and does not work in meeting those objectives it is easier to start progress towards integration.
Systems integration can be also examined in two distinct ways – client-focused (looking at the service delivery level) or structural (working at the program, organization or policy level). Evans et al. (2011) put forth a number of ways in which services and systems can be better integrated to improve end results for clients.