A Community and Partnership Co-ordinator (CPC) is placed at each building to build a sense of community amongst tenants, provide short term crisis intervention where required, alert referring agencies when a tenant needs increased assistance, and provide feedback to our partner agencies. We fund these positions exclusively through the operating surplus generated by our buildings and they take on the following roles:
- The CPC helps each community create a set of tenant expectations for themselves and each other: “Rights and Responsibilities”
- For each new tenant referred by an agency partner, the CPC completes a thorough individual orientation process that informs tenants of rules and expectations.
- CPC Identifies changes in tenant behaviour and notifies their referring agency immediately if there is cause for concern. This early warning system catches problems with tenancies before they lead to eviction behaviour.
- Interventions keep evictions, turnovers, arrears and delinquencies to a minimum, which is good for tenants, St. Clare’s and referring agencies.
Together with the CPC, St. Clare’s provides safe affordable permanent housing for vulnerable populations without government assistance and at a cost lower than shelters, hospitals, long term care facilities and government funded supportive housing operators.
The CPC guides tenants toward appropriate and effective communication with property management staff. By making a strong distinct separation between the role of the CPC and the property management, we are able to build tenants capacity: tenants learn how to interact appropriately with their landlord.
Our model is effective because all of the parties (tenants, St. Clare’s, and agency partners) benefit from participating in it. We can achieve more together than we can alone. To make sure that we are continually responsive to all parties’ needs, St. Clare’s meets monthly with our agency partners to share experiences, information and to review and develop our working policies. We also hold monthly tenant meetings in each building to get feedback on property management practices, and learn about our tenants’ priorities, current needs and challenges.
If Canada is going to effectively address homelessness, policy and funding decisions need to be made using evidence of what works. At St. Clare’s, we collect baseline demographics and data using standardized tools from every tenant referred by a Partner Agency.
There is an ongoing collection of data from tenants every 2 years using standardized tools as well as free form questions to allow tenants to identify what is working well and what is missing or needs changing. This data is used to provide an aggregate report on how the model is working at each building. The detailed data is kept until funding can be found to do deeper analysis on the outcomes over time of our model as well as comparison of our model to other options. The aggregate reports are used to see trends, provide input from tenants about how the model works for them and to help plan new programs or identify changes that need to be made.