Outreach programs provide specific services that will aid a person to better participate as a member of his community; these services are typically designed to serve people who may not have access to these services otherwise. Many outreach programs may help with job placements, education, substance abuse, shelter assistance, crisis, counseling, and much more. There are different types of outreach programs such as Street Outreach Program (SOP), which is aimed towards helping people experiencing homelessness. Outreach work is incredibly important because it supports people and gives them advice that can help improve their lifestyles and current living situations. According to the US InterAgency Council on Homelessness, some of the best practices for street outreach are
- Providing housing first- by helping to provide with an immediate need such as shelter, one will better able to address other needs that can be addressed and reduce the likelihood of reoccurring homelessness.
- High quality data-HMIS or other data systems use client based data; these items should be regularly updated and monitored to accurately monitor progress and hold individuals accountable.
- Coordinated entry- Coordinated entry allows providers to better communicate and collaborate in a synergistic manner. This is important because outreach works best when all providers involved are informed.
- Data sharing-Data sharing can help workers identify which need has the highest priority by looking across all data systems and identifying which needs are most prevalent.
- Training on evidence based practices- Using programs with Evidence Based Practices or (EBPs) can be constructive in aiding people who are homeless. Some good examples provided are Trauma-Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing, and Critical Time Intervention.
To read more best practices visit the US InterAgency Council on Homelessness.
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