For persons emerging from homelessness, supportive housing provides a vital platform for people to move forward in other areas of their lives like employment, education and improved health. This housing model provides voluntary, flexible case management support to help clients manage housing barriers to maintain their permanent housing.

Having access to case management as part of their housing plan has been found to be particularly effective in preventing a return to homelessness for persons experiencing chronic homelessness. This is when an individual or family experiences homelessness for over one year or multiple episodes of homelessness. Case management can help persons connect with resources to address underlying conditions that may have contributed to unstable housing and ultimately becoming homeless.

The most common causes of homelessness are poverty, employment, or lack of affordable housing. Other situations contributing to housing instability are mental health or substance use disorder, trauma, fleeing domestic violence, chronic illness or other disabling conditions, or divorce. These barriers only exacerbate the housing crisis. Case managers who specifically work with those who are experiencing homelessness are trained to immediately address the barriers preventing an individual or family from maintaining permanent housing.

By working with tenants to address housing barriers, case managers also help clients pursue their goals and address other needs. Supportive housing is well suited for persons that benefit from having the additional support of case management even after housing is secured.

Supportive housing is essential in Tedford Housing’s mission to empower people to move from homelessness to home. Using a Housing First approach, Tedford Housing’s 37 supportive units provide safe, clean and affordable apartments with on-site case management for previously homeless individuals and families. Tedford Housing provides case management services that encourage sustainable, permanent housing placement, and supportive housing takes a large role in the process.

For many that have experienced the de-stabilizing impacts of long-term homelessness, supportive housing has offered the opportunity for stability and a return to normalcy. Some of our tenants choose to remain in our supportive housing – others move on to other mainstream housing.

So why does this matter in the long run? Supportive housing, as mentioned above, provides a long-term sustainable solution for people who have experienced homelessness and have multiple barriers to maintain permanent housing.

At Tedford, maintaining that relationship between client and case manager upon arrival of permanent housing is crucial to reduce chances of a return to homelessness. Case management services and that extra boost of support for those with multiple personal and housing barriers makes a large difference to maintaining housing.

The southern Midcoast Maine community is home to many individuals and families each year who experience homelessness, a percentage of which are experiencing chronic homelessness. In order to best serve the population experiencing homelessness, supportive housing provides a long-term supportive solution after individuals and families are ready to leave emergency shelter.

Providing consistent support to supportive housing clients encourages long-term housing placement and minimizes the relapse into homelessness. With enough supportive housing and case management

support state-wide, we hope to see a decline in chronic homelessness and an increase in maintaining permanent housing after experiencing homelessness.

By Blaine Flanders is the community and donor relations coordinator at Tedford Housing. Giving Voice is a weekly collaboration among five local non-profit service agencies to share information and stories about their work in the community.

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