Public Announcements

 

The Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb Receives the 2017 IAHA Miscellaneous Award

The Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb [HACD] began its quest to find asolution to improve the quality of living for our residents. Specifically, a situation that we were commonly finding many of our residents “suffering” with, or potentially facing termination because of their inability to maintain lease compliance.

HACD works very closely with our first responders and through our communications with our first responders it became clear that HACD had a few tenants who were“superutilizers” of the EMS system. EMS frequent calls to our properties were due to health issues ranging from severe physical to severe mental health issues. One tenant had called EMS services 12 times over a 6-month period for physical health related issues. Another resident had as many as 10 police calls in two weeks for mental health issues.

Outside of the EMS or police are the residents who are on the verge of the inability to care for themselves or maintain daily living needs. This included very unsanitary living conditions due to the inability to clean both for personal hygiene and unit cleanliness which also affected their ability to comply with pest control treatment. Residents and units in poor living condition creates concern, complaints and effects overall qualify of living throughout the building. Despite staff support and outreach to social service agencies wecontinued to not have success, leaving our only recourse to be lease enforcement such as termination. HACD was not happy with this option and is not the right action for tenants who simply need support.

It became clear that a better solution was needed toaddress the “superutilizers”.HACD staff attended many community wide meetings to discuss trends and issues facing our residents. HACD already had an existing relationship with the local mental health care provider, however due to a recent switch inleadership and being acquired by another organization, they were unable meet our needs.

Because of our continued persistence tofind a solution we were introduced to a neighboring community agency called Association for Individual Development [AID]. We held a meeting to discuss what services they could provide and verified with the other agencies that they worked with, on the quality of services they provide. Without having a local office to work from, we invited AID in house and provided them space in an offline unit dedicated forResident Services.We held information sessions, passed out “get to know” flyers and more to introduce them to residents.

One by one our tenants began to see the AID Case Mangers out and about and helping their neighbors. AID would take tenants grocery shopping or to doctor appointments. They are helping tenants to declutter and clean their units along with connecting tenants with other local service agencies in town by setting up and taking them to appointments, helping them complete paperwork and even create budgets or find employment. AID is now servicing our other high-rise and has branched out to other low-income households within the greater DeKalb County area. AID now has 75+ HACD tenants as openclients. We believe AID has improved the quality of life for many tenants.

While we still have the occasional superutilizer, the ability to call upon AID to help keep clients housed and work with them to achieve a better quality of living has had an impact on the lives of our residents and truly improved our relationship withthe residents. In May of 2017, HACD was honored with AID’s Outstanding Community Partner Award.(see attached magazine article).It is a relationship that createda “win-win-win”.

 

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