Friday, July 7, 2017

DC Department of Human Services Guest Blog

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Amanda Chesney is Catholic Charities Executive Director of Homeless and Housing Services. She oversees 26 programs in the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland Tri-County Continuum of Care. Amanda's expertise in non-profit management and her experience as a licensed clinical social worker affords her a unique perspective on the challenges our region faces in homelessness and housing. She was asked by DC Department of Human Services to provide her thoughts and expertise about modernizing the Homeless Services Reform Act to improve the city's approach to helping serve those without a home.  This post originally appeared on DC Department of Human Services's blog

Right Size at the Right Time 

HSRA updates will increase system efficiency and help individuals and families move through crises and on from DC’s homeless emergency system, and as Executive Director of Homeless and Housing Services at Catholic Charities DC, I support these changes.

Father John meets with a man staying at
Adam's Place low-barrier shelter. 
If we want to end homelessness in the District for the 7,473 persons in this crisis, we must make the most of our limited resources; that requires very difficult choices. Often when a client has exceeded the capacity of a certain program to meet their need, or has shown great progress toward self-sufficiency, it means it’s time to reallocate their slot to the next person in crisis. However, under our current version of the HSRA, the decision to end or continue a person or family’s stay in a housing program is not determined by experts in the housing and homeless services field, nor is it determined by our DHS program and provider monitors. These decisions are currently handled by judges armed with only the outdated 2005 HSRA and a very limited client and system perspective; this needs to change. READ MORE...