Assisting the homeless to get shelter and apply for housing

January 29th, 2019
At the NOAH Project, CAM Intake Specialist Brian Brosch searches for a shelter bed for Stephen O., who is filling out forms to assess his housing needs.

The bitter cold was moving toward the city, and Stephen O. needed shelter for the night and for days to come. He’d recently spent several days in a psychiatric hospital to treat his schizophrenia. Stephen has been without stable housing for nine months after dropping out of community college. He’d stayed with various friends and family, but those options were now exhausted, Stephen felt.

Stephen came to the NOAH Project, inside Central United Methodist Church near Comerica Park. The NOAH Project is one of the “Access Points” for the system that helps individuals and families experiencing homelessness access available shelter and housing resources in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. This system is known as the Coordinated Assessment Model (CAM). Southwest Solutions is the lead agency to implement CAM.

CAM Intake Specialist Brian Brosch works with Stephen O. at the NOAH Project.

At NOAH, Stephen met with Brian Brosch, a CAM Intake Specialist. Brian interviewed Stephen about his immediate housing needs and had him fill out the forms to help assess his eligibility for permanent housing down the line. Brian looked at the CAM database of currently available beds at shelters. There was a spot available at the Tumaini Center, run by Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), and Brian asked Stephen if he’d like him to make the arrangements to go there.

Brian is one of eight (8) CAM staff that do intake and assessments at three different CAM Access Points. There are five Access Points in total, but two are strictly for veterans, and VA staff are responsible for the intake procedures at those sites. The three Access Points for non-veterans are the NOAH Project, the Tumaini Center, and Southwest Solutions’ Housing Resource Center (HRC). The HRC Access Point serves families with children and unaccompanied youth (18-24). NOAH and Tumani serve single adults and unaccompanied youth. (Hours of operation for the Access Points are listed below.)

The CAM Access Point model was fully implemented about a year ago. Before then, CAM operated a call center for people experiencing homelessness to contact in order to be connected with housing resources. The call center number (313-305-0311) is still operational as an automated system to direct people to the appropriate Access Point.

“The Access Point model is working well,” said Angela Loewen, Community Center Manager at the NOAH Project. “For those seeking services, it puts a face to the process and they feel more connected.”

Because of high demand, the shelter system in the city is stressed and limited beds are available. The stress intensifies when freezing temperatures pose a threat to life and limb.

Melissa W., who is homeless and seeking permanent housing, at the CAM Access Point at the NOAH Project.

“The CAM intake staff advocates for those in need who come to us,” said Paige Beasley, CAM Intake Supervisor at Southwest Solutions. “We work closely with the shelters and we find creative solutions if shelter space is not available. We contact family and friends on behalf of the homeless person or family. We go above and beyond to always make sure that someone who needs housing has a safe place for the night. We’ll even provide transportation, if needed.”

In the last three months of last year, CAM intake staff made about 1,600 referrals to emergency shelters or housing programs. Almost 90% of these referrals were to shelters. Last year, CAM referred a total of 584 households to permanent housing programs.

The Access Point model requires that individuals and families come to those sites to be serviced. The model is supplemented by three street outreach teams operated by the NOAH Project, NSO, and Cass Community Social Services, respectively. These outreach teams rotate working nights. They closely coordinate with shelters, so that if an individual is willing to come off the streets, the outreach team will get them to an appropriate place. Police and other authorities are well aware of the teams and can readily contact them if needed to assist homeless persons.

CAM Access Point Locations

Families with Children

Southwest Solutions’ Housing Resource Center
1600 Porter St., Detroit 48216
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11am – 7pm

Single Adults

NSO Tumaini Center
3430 3rdAve., Detroit 48201
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11am – 7pm

NOAH Project
23 E. Adams, Detroit 48226
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 10am – 4pm

Unaccompanied Youth (Ages 18 – 24) without children

Southwest Solutions’ Housing Resource Center
1600 Porter St., Detroit 48216
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11am – 7pm

NSO Tumaini Center
3430 3rdAve., Detroit 48201
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11am – 7pm

NOAH Project
23 E. Adams, Detroit 48226
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 10am – 4pm

Veterans

Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)
John D. Dingell VA Medical Center
4646 John R. Street (2ndFloor, Red Section), Detroit 48201
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am – 4:30pm

Veterans Community Resource & Referral Center (VCRRC)
301 Piquette St., Detroit 48202
Hours: Saturday – Sunday, 8am – 8pm

Individuals fleeing a recent act of violence from an intimate partner
Call the YWCA Interim House at 313-861-5300

 

More information is available at www.camdetroit.org.

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