Career Development Forum – Sept2023

Instructions:  A customer makes an appointment with you to find work. The individual needs assistance with housing and meals.

Answer these questions:

1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?

2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.

Make one original post and then respond to 1 team member’s post. You will make a total of two posts. For your original post, responds in a paragraph or two for the 2 questions. For your 2nd post, respond in several sentences.

Remember that our learning group works in a full-value environment: We treat our colleagues with respect and professionalism. Our comments should reflect this culture.

171 thoughts on “Career Development Forum – Sept2023”

  1. wpeluso says:

    Within the local area, we refer individuals to call “211” and speak to someone about housing. “211” is the number that they can call to receive information related to multiple barriers like housing, food insecurity, mental health assistance, etc. Additionally, we refer clients to the Lancaster County Food Hub’s emergency shelter and food bank.

    During the intake interview, we ask client’s a series of questions related to barriers to employment. Most of the time, client’s will self-disclose their need for housing, food, or other services. This will prompt the career navigator to refer them to the appropriate resources. As the Behavioral Health Advocate, I will meet with the client to help understand their barriers and refer them to local resources as needed. Like the chapter states, we are helping individuals defeat their barriers to employment so that they can obtain employment in the future. These ideas go hand in hand, so it’s our job to help them break down these barriers.

    1. ecamargo-ground says:

      Yes, I agreed Willow, 211 is Tenfold and they provide housing assistance and other supporting services. They also have a shelter called Transitional Living Center.

    2. lily says:

      211 is a great resource! We have an excellent pamphlet that provides local agencies’ names and phone numbers broken down into categories.

    3. ssmith says:

      211 links you to it all! Crazy of me not to mention it!

    4. Margarita says:

      Yes, as Willow mentioned, 211 United Way of Pa. connects families facing many challenges to resources that can provide help. 211 has increased the resources in a range of services in all aspects.

    5. mchenier says:

      Yes! We also have 211 as a resource and they are considered to be the best way to connect people in our rural area with the immediate resources they need.

    6. reisingers says:

      211 is such an amazing resource! My place of employment has many resources available, but when we cannot help with something we refer to 211.

    7. wkoenig says:

      We also use the 211 connection a lot when someone is looking at housing, food, and other barriers related to living and surviving. I did forget to mention that in my post earlier. I have a group I call the community Resource Group who I meet with four times a year and this helps me get connected to agencies who do other things for people, the lady from 211 is always there. I agree 100% that we are all here to help individuals defeat their barriers to employment so that they can obtain employment in the future. It is also nice to have so many outside resources to contact for that help. It is very important to get to know as many outside resources as you can. I enjoy connecting with them so I can keep up on what they can help with.

      1. jmartinez-guzman says:

        yes I agree Eunice. 211 connects clients to many many resources and in addition to that I refer clients to the department of human services depending on their barriers/needs and also provide them with local resources that we may have become aware of that are not mentioned alot but, are out there to assist.

    8. rpaull says:

      I also use 211, however, my clients have found that they will be waiting for long periods of time to actually talk to someone. At this point, I am using the Berks Coalition to End Homelessness as my primary housing contact. I was given the name of a gentleman from a colleague. I only use him as a last resort because I don’t want to “overuse” my privilege. He has been helpful in directly connecting me when all else fails. I also have a personal friend who works at the coalition that I will contact at times. I truly think it is sometimes “who” you know that get your the resources your client may need. The system takes time and patience and when clients are in crisis it is difficult for them to see past today or tomorrow.

    9. tcampbell says:

      I was not aware of 211! This is such good information to have. I love finding new resources that I can pass on to my clients to help meet their needs in any way possible.

  2. ecamargo-ground says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    I’ll suggest applying to the County Assistance Office (CAO) to get food stamps, also for a quick meal to go to Water Street where they provide cooked food and the possibility of providing immediate shelter – all depending on the circumstances and values of the person. On housing I’ll suggest applying to Tenfold/Transitional Living Center for temporary housing and supporting services. If this has to do with Domestic Violence, then a referral could be done to assist the client thru the Clear House, YMCA or the CAP organization.

    When I was a Case Manager, the best way to found out about a client’s barriers was thru a form I help create with the most common barriers that was part of my intake with a client one on one after the client had a general orientation for workforce services.
    The best technique that worked well for me was to build trust and listening, so clients trust me with their concerns and knew I’ll assisted them. If the client(s) didn’t return to the program, it told me they solved their issues. Some clients later on called me to let me know they were doing well.

    1. wpeluso says:

      Hi Eunice! I agree, all of those resources are great. It’s important to identify barriers to ensure a client can trust us with their concerns. Additionally, we should know of various resources to give to clients to ensure their needs are met.

    2. bev says:

      I always appreciate when clients call to let me know how they are doing or to ask for additional assistance. I stress that we are always here for our students even after they leave the program.

    3. aresto says:

      I agree with your recommendation. It is very similar to what we suggest where I work at CareerLink. It is also very important to build their trust. I feel this helps with the relationship and their long term goals.

    4. mstover says:

      Eunice, I completely agree with the CAO as a resource… I have used all of the resources you mentioned. I also ask co-workers if they have any suggestions. Teamwork makes the dream work.

  3. lily says:

    1. Our agency refers clients in need of food and clothing to the following agencies: Helping Harvest, Kennedy House, Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry, New Journey Community Outreach, City Light Ministry, The Salvation Army, and Spring Valley Church of God among others. We refer clients in need of housing to the following agencies: Hope Rescue Mission, Opportunity House, Family Promise, Mary’s Shelter, SafeBerks, Habitat for Humanity, and New Pearson Ministries among others. Calling 211 is also a great resource for ER Shelter, Housing Programs, Transportation Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services, Clothing and Food, Wellness Services, Education and Employment, Rent &Utility Assistance, and Children and Youth Services, Information & Referral, and Resources for Veterans.
    2. The best way for us to find out about our clients’ barriers is through a form they fill out during the intake process. Once we discover a need, our case manager schedules an appointment with the client or visits them at their next class. We then provide a packet with information to help our clients find agencies in our community that can help with their specific needs. We also provide emergency food for our clients as soon as possible.
    3. Providing a safe and comfortable environment for our clients is the best way to have them talk about their needs. If the client feels like you are a trustworthy person, they will talk to you about their barriers and will be open to receiving help from you.

    1. rgoshorn says:

      It is refreshing to see that you have a such a large number of resources for food, clothing and other needs. However, I imagine that the variety of resources might be overwhelming to some clients. I’m guessing that you may be pressed at times to narrow down the choices for your clients.

    2. adel.dalou says:

      thank you for sharing all the amazing resources our community have to assist the needy families or individuals.
      I agree you with regarding providing safety and comfortable environment for the clients to be able to share all their needs, without feeling any shame or discomfort.

    3. rpaull says:

      Great list of resources in Berks!

  4. bev says:

    1. I may refer students in need of food to Helping Harvest, Kennedy House, Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry, New Journey Community Outreach, City Light Ministry, The Salvation Army, and Spring Valley Church of God. I also provide emergency food that I obtain from the New Journey Community Outreach program and will deliver the donation to the student’s home. Berks Coalition to End Homelessness will also provide a bag of emergency food to anyone in need. I refer clients in need of housing to the following agencies: Hope Rescue Mission, Opportunity House, Family Promise, Mary’s Shelter, SafeBerks, Habitat for Humanity, and New Person Ministries depending on the client’s needs and situation. Berks Coalition to End Homelessness is the lead agency for PA-506 and is responsible for the oversight of all Continuum of Care (CoC) policies, procedures, and CoC project funding decisions.

    2. Our students complete a learning readiness survey during orientation. I meet with the student to help provide information and provide a warm hand-off to outside programs and providers.

    3. Our staff makes our students feel comfortable and secure in the orientation. As relationships develop, students that were hesitant to share their needs initially will express their needs after they feel safe. I speak with the student in a separate private area.

  5. rgoshorn says:

    1. My organization does not make local referrals since we provide treatment, education and vocational training to youth from across the state. The facilities that I work with are located in relatively rural areas and generally serve youth from urban areas. The youth’s Probation Officer in the community is their primary contact for any needs that they may have, including employment, food and housing. In addition to a Probation Officer, many of our youth return to communities with an “aftercare” agency. As local entities, these agencies are a tremendous resource for assisting in securing all kinds of other human services including the needs mentioned. Finally, as part of our facilities’ efforts to respond appropriately to youth regardless of their home community, we strongly encourage our youth to avail themselves of the resources of the CareerLink closest to their home. We provide and address and contact information, assist with setting up a CareerLink account and guide them through an initial job search near the time of discharge. Our youth are advised that CareerLinks are co-located with other frequently needed services such as nutritional assistance, housing and transportation.

    2. There is no substitute for demonstrating genuine interest in the client. Open ended questions with plenty of follow-up questions about the daily challenges that they expect to face when returning to their community are priceless. Since most of our youth do not previously experience in the workforce, it is helpful to ask them how they will successfully navigate a workday with an emphasis on reliable transportation. While our youth generally can secure transportation for a single day or series of days, they frequently underestimate the planning required to get transportation to full-time employment or part-time employment with an erratic schedule.

    1. mturner1 says:

      I agree that demonstrating genuine interest in the individual is so critical! Fortunately, I am actually genuinely interested most days but I am human and some days my face doesn’t always show my true feelings or I am honestly not ONLY focused on the individual. So, I actually use prompts for myself embedded in my question checklist/form. I need reminders. I don’t find much of a difference when I am being present and do so naturally or when I am not being present and need to be reminded. At both times I am genuinely interested but some of the time, I need the prompt to remind me to set aside the rest and be present.

      1. Robert Turner says:

        I like the idea of having a check list, I am forgetful, so that is something I need to work on so I don’t leave something out.

  6. Margarita says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    Housing and lack of food have been a increase barrier in all counties. Referring them to the Lancaster Homelessness Coalition web site provides a lot of resources. The County assistance office can assist with SNAP and emergency rent assistance. Food Hub is also a resource to refer a client, they help with both food and shelter. YWCA provides homelessness service. World Church Services (WCS) Refugees services for families entering the US facing homelessness. Community Action provides financial literacy they help improve your knowledge and personal financial management. Additionally, TENFOLD is a great resource to increase knowledge about how to understand housing rights, overcome barriers to housing, and identifying housing options. And as Willow mentioned 211 provides resources to food banks and housing and much more.

    1. sletourneau says:

      I really appreciate your comprehensive understanding of local agencies aimed at addressing homelessness in our community. Your outlining of local resources includes refugee services as well as housing rights which really highlights the complexity of the general term “homelessness.” Your reference to various agencies aimed at serving unique and specific housing needs matches the complexity of the challenge of housing. Thank you for sharing!

  7. adel.dalou says:

    Before referring the customer to any resources, I do an assessment to get more information about the customer to be able to help more. For example, if I find out the customer is a single mom, I would be referring somewhere specific for single women. Once I collect the information, I try to refer them to resources that could be the most beneficial near them.
    For housing, it depends if they are looking for a home, or assistance to pay their rent. First, I would share shelter homes contacts with them, refer them to social service near them. Last, I would share couple of website addresses with and show them how to search for a home online. If they need rent assistance, I will refer to social service near them where they could help them apply for rent assistance in their county.
    For food assistance, I would share with them and connect them with the food banks in the area, or any organization that could assist them with that. Then I would refer them to social services in their area to apply for food stamps. During my initial assessment I would figure out if the are unemployed and try to connect them with a good job opportunity.
    The initial assessment is very helpful technique. In the assessment I could find out why they are struggling with housing and meals. It could be because they are unemployed, not well paid in a current job, just left an abusive home, or anything else. The customer comes in because they need assistance with housing and meals and possibly could leave with the solution that caused this need.

    1. ssmith says:

      Reading over your entry made me think about how we, as helping professionals, in my opinion go above and beyond to help meet the needs of the participants we serve. We give, we refer, we request, we do almost anything it takes to meet their needs and ensure that they are in a space to receive the services we have available to provide. It’s great that we have the connections, knowledge and capabilities to do so, but the best thing we can honestly do for our clients is to simply provide them with the tools they need to be self-sufficient. What that could look like in Lancaster County would be to provide an individual with the number and website for 211. This vital resource connects you with community services to meet almost any need you have from housing, t food insecurity, to mental health needs and so much more. Once we do that, participants should then take it upon themselves to connect and locate the resources that could best meet their needs. Doing everything for someone is an easy way to keep them dependent on others for the answer, whereas, holding them accountable and responsible for meeting their own needs will foster more of a sense of self-sufficiency.

  8. aresto says:

    We have many different resources and groups that we work closely with in our area. Depending on the situation we will refer participants to Center for Community Actions, County Assistance Office, or to the Mifflin Juniata Human Services link for our County. As a Workforce Specialist we can identify certain barriers during the intake process. We have each participant fill out a Family Needs Assessment Form. This will show us where the participant is with their housing, transportation, food, and utilities and show us where the need is for help. I find that in most cases, my participants will reach out to me for help when a need would arise, and I am able to then refer them to the different resources that we have available. The relationship that I have my participant is very important so that they feel they can trust me and can reach out to me with any issues.

    1. asoto says:

      I appreciate that you establish the relationship with the participants so you can create a safe environment to get them to share what keeps them from their next employment goal.

    2. megandowney says:

      I love that you center relationship building in your work to increase access. Allyship with clients can remove feelings of embarrassment towards feelings of empowerment. Relationships are the key to changing lives, awesome job!

      1. holmh says:

        Megan thank you for mentioning Allyship. When I saw your response, I had to investigate Allyship further. Additionally, I fully stand behind your comment that “Relationships are the key to changing lives”. In my experience with working with clients and even in my own personal life, building a relationship in which the other person knows they can trust you with their confidences and your follow-through is there gives a foundation for growth. When the other person in the relationship knows that you are invested in the connection and you aren’t just going through the motions, they feel more relaxed by the trust they have in you and can aim forward to success!

        1. speterson says:

          I too had to look into “Allyship”. What a great concept!. In our business that is so important. It builds the the relationship to know where they can find what you ant offer. The relationship bulds trust in security to a person who may be feeling out and alone.

  9. sletourneau says:

    During our intake process clients are screened for barriers in the development of a personalized employment plan. Career Navigators introduce their role to clients at this time as well as being a support in addressing barriers that impact securing employment and training, such as housing and food security. When barriers regarding basic needs such as housing and food are identified, clients are provided with layers of support including direct referrals to local agencies such as Water Street Mission, Lancaster Food Hub and Community Action Partnership. Clients are also made aware of the “211” hotline for accessing local agencies and resources. In addition to provision of emergency services, Career Navigators follow up with clients and community partners in their process of securing resources, ensuring that connection to services is made.

    The techniques that I use while conducting intakes to screen for potential barriers around basic needs include my Helping Skills, where I leverage compassionate listening skills and both open and closed ended questions to draw out a client’s story to gain understanding of a client’s circumstances. It is really important for me that a client leaves feeling hope, which entails identifying needs and supports, clear and timely action steps and follow up. Mapping out how barrier identification is part of the process of goal achievement helps cultivate a positive mind set.

    1. mshore says:

      It sounds like Career Navigators has a nice approach. Likewise, it is neat to hear about the 211 call as that is new to me. Referencing the Helping Skills is a great reminder for those foundational pieces when working with everyone. Collectively, it is a good process for mapping out solutions to resolve the needs of the individuals served.

    2. mccoya8 says:

      That’s very important to discuss barriers first. Assisting clients with breaking down those barriers and satisfying their basic needs needs to be done prior to career exploration. It is hard for a client to move forward with employment searching when they may not have food, housing, safety, etc. That’s great that you are providing clients with direct referrals to local agencies for help with those things. This gives them immediate help to be able to start their career and life journey. I completely agree with what you said about hope. Giving clients hope is something that can or will drive a client to push through some of those challenges to reach their goals.

    3. dcampbell2 says:

      sletourneau, your approach to using Helping Skills in intakes is commendable. Compassionate listening and a thoughtful mix of open and closed-ended questions uncover valuable information and create a supportive space for clients to share their stories. Focusing on instilling hope by identifying needs, providing clear action steps, and follow-up reflects a client-centric mindset. Connecting barrier identification with goal achievement is a brilliant way to foster a positive attitude and guide clients toward meaningful progress. Keep up the excellent work!

  10. nmiller says:

    Some organizations in the area that can offer assistance to Indvidual’s who need it are, the Water Street Mission which is a well-established organization that provides shelter, meals, and various support services to individuals experiencing homelessness. They offer emergency shelter, transitional housing, and long-term recovery programs to help individuals regain stability in their lives. The Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness is a collaborative effort involving various organizations, service providers, and community members working together to address homelessness in the area. They coordinate resources, advocate for policy changes, and provide support services to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness find sustainable housing solutions. The Food Hub at Central Market is a program that operates within the Lancaster Central Market. It aims to reduce food waste and address food insecurity by collecting surplus food from vendors and distributing it to local organizations and individuals in need. They work with partner agencies to ensure that surplus food reaches those who are experiencing hunger.

    During the intake interview, we typically ask the client some questions related to their barriers in relation to employment. Most of the time, client’s will self-tell us about their need for housing, food, or other services. The most effective technique for these kinds of situations is to build trust so that the client feels comfortable sharing and with that information we can help them to the best of our ability.

  11. mshore says:

    We have various locations for meals or food such as New Hope Ministries, the local soup kitchen at St. Francis, The Salvation Army, Mid-west Food Bank, etc. For both, I know Catholic Charities with take families in for a short period of time for folks that are actively looking for jobs and will provide transportation.

    How you facilitate the conversation and interaction is important. Creating a safe place and a comfortable environment is key. Because individuals sometimes are not open to sharing out at the onset, we have used questionnaires or surveys that help get to various barriers. Many feel more comfortable with writing things out and or checking boxes to tell their story. At times, it necessary to ask leading questions. When in person, having materials out, such as brochures, flyers or pamphlets that direct their attention to how their needs can be fulfilled could be a successful approach as they may want to figure it out on their own.
    Interestingly enough, with our one business client who owns real estate properties, they offer housing for individuals who work for them at a discount who truly need it.

    1. Vivian Santos-Dingui says:

      Those are great locations for meals and we have similar ones in Reading. I agree with you 100% in that making a client feel safe and comfortable is critical key in establishing and building strong rapport with that individual. Our CAO will most times include the barriers which may require more attention such as no childcare or transportation but the student is set to begin classes in a month. We meet with our student one week after the original intake to complete comprehensive household assessment. At first, I thought it would too intrusive especially since I only met with the student once and now I am telling them to come back to answer some personal questions about substance use; criminal backgrounds, mental illness, and family/domestic violence. To my surprise the majority of my students answer all the questions openly and honestly. When you said you ask leading questions…what type of questions do you ask them during an intake?

  12. ssmith says:

    Lancaster does not have the greatest resources to assist individuals with housing. In order to receive rental assistance or subsidized rent, one most often must face long waitlist. Additionally, if one is without a home, but is couch surfing, they are more than likely not going to be able to get assistance since they are not residing on the street or in their car.

    The Water Street Rescue Mission might be the best bet for an individual who needs housing. There, they provide temporary shelter which could be nightly or short-term. One of the goals of the program is for individuals to receive the support they need to be able to be self-sufficient and able to sustain their own housing. In addition to this, if you are approved for the program, Tenfold, or the Transitional Living Center are other services that can assist individuals who meet their definition of homeless. There are also other temporary night shelters during the winter months, and population specific shelters for DV survivors or women with children.

    On the contrary, there are endless resources available to assist with meals. Nearly every church known to man offers a hot meal throughout the day and there are food pantries such as the Lancaster County Food Hub that provides food to individuals in need. If someone is not aware of SNAP, I could also assist them with completing an application to see if they qualify for food stamps to supplement their meals.

    To my knowledge in working with youth, we do not so enough to assess barriers in individuals. Something that could be useful would be a form that could be created to see if they have any needs. This form could assess for things such as transportation, food, MH care, shelter, etc. Additionally, having a conversation with participants during intake and throughout the duration of services about their needs could help ensure that their needs are adequately met with the use of community referrals.

    One thing I currently do with the participants I work with is to engage in conversation. Any time I hear of a need, I do my best to diligently make referrals to services that can meet their needs.

    1. at says:

      I agree with you that Lancaster faces a shortage of resources for those who are in need of housing. I also like your idea about creating a form which will allow us to identify the needs of the participants.

    2. pbaldwin says:

      I too agree that the housing issue has become more of an issue. I like your idea of a form to help with assessing the barriers they are facing. I think something more in-depth for all teams could prove to be beneficial as well as brainstorming together to meet the needs.

  13. asoto says:

    When I used to work with the EARN Program, when a participant came to the office because they needed help with finding a job, and then presented additional needs. I would first ask what experience they had, and what job they were able to take. I would then ask if they knew what places around them that were hiring.

    When it came to addressing the housing and meals, I would ask if they needed resources to assist with the housing and what agencies they had already tried. Often times, our participants were in the waiting list for housing. when appropriate we would make referrals to the food banks.

    1. edougherty says:

      I really appreciate the approach of asking additional questions first before just jumping into giving a list of resources. Just like you said, a lot of times participants have already explored some resources and options before coming in for help. Taking a second to learn more about the individual first can help to show that we care AND help us to provide more accurate and helpful information or resources.

  14. at says:

    I would first ask them whether their need is immediate or on going. Understanding this is important because if their need is immediate I would refer them to places like a local food bank or the Water Street Mission, etc. which can help them meet their current physical needs. If their need is ongoing I would recommend them to attend workshops, meet with a Job Developer and/or Behavior Advocate; apply for work since we will be able to help them navigate the process of finding a job and building a career for the rest of their life.

    A technique that I have found helpful to use during an intake interview is having the participant take an open-ended questions or assessment that will identify their needs. These are helpful because they allow us to narrow down the needs of participants with general questions. This then allows us to ask them questions that are more specific so that we will be able to understand their situation on a personal level when we meet again in-person. When in an in-person meeting, we could build relationships. People will be more receptive to our help when we are kind to them without any expectation of anything in return. This first technique of relationship building is helpful because it allows us to talk about things outside of work as well as helping them in their career needs.

    1. carmana says:

      I think asking the if their need is immediate or ongoing is a very important first step. If a customer is currently in crisis mood with an immediate need for housing or food, it an be difficult for them to focus on anything else, or being in the appropriate mindset to be looking for employment and putting their best foot forward. I also agree that open ended questions are the best way to identify an individual’s needs and help build a relationship, where they feel comfortable sharing. In-person meetings allow for more relationship building and open conversation that can allow for some breakthroughs in what the customer is experiencing and allows you to provide them with resources moving forward, meet the customer where they are, and offer support.

  15. at says:

    Reply to all
    Thanks to all of you for willingness to help those in need of career assistance and overcoming barriers.

  16. carmana says:

    When meeting with participants that are looking for work, it is a great opportunity to identify other barriers in their life, such as housing and meals. In my local area, I would first refer the participant to 211. 211 is a number that they can easily connect with for information about local resources about housing and meals. 211 is kind of a one-stop shop for all your questions and needs about community resources. I would also connect individuals to Eightcap for housing needs as well at the Day Shelter at Isabella County Restoration House. As for food assistance, I would refer them to the Isabella County Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.
    The techniques that I have found helpful during an intake interview to discover barriers customers are facing is to first ask them open ended questions with follow up questions. Customers also complete a pre-registration form that asks them if they are receiving food assistance, if they are experiencing homelessness, or if they have any other barriers that they are currently experiencing. I think the questions in the pre-registration form as well as creating a safe space for customers to share what they are experiencing currently are the most helpful for me in helping individuals with barriers. Creating a safe space and letting the customer know that it is a safe space for them to share is the first step in identifying their barriers, as they will most likely feel more comfortable sharing.

  17. mchenier says:

    When people ask for help, they are vulnerable and uncomfortable so when talking with a client about their needs, I use the helping skills, listening, paraphrasing, being approachable and non-judgmental.
    Two techniques I find useful every time are being approachable and finding their strengths. I weave these into our conversation and after paraphrasing what they have told me I try to ask good questions to dig deeper to find out what they might not be telling me or help them think about what they might need beyond finding work.
    Since we know that basic needs to be met before they can focus on any kind of career exploration or development, I would have this customer call 211. They are our local resource and serve as a “first contact”. 211 can refer them to the proper agencies, assist them with a huge range of services, let them know the most up to date places to go for food distributions and some of the documents they might need to gather to apply for housing and food supports.
    Since many companies require a resume to apply for jobs, and if they are intimidated by writing a resume, ensure them that I am here to help, and we will figure it all out together.
    Next, I would find out if they would like to enroll in one of our programs to provide them with more access to all of our supportive services such as rent, childcare stipends, transportation help if needed, etc.

    1. wkoenig says:

      You hit it right on the head, people who come in are very vulnerable and sometimes hurting so listening, being approachable and non-judgmental is very important when working with everyone who comes through the door. Being friendly and approachable are the talent persons key ingredients at first. Got to make them trust in us. Very good information for all of us to follow. Treat everyone with respect and be non-judgmental

  18. megandowney says:

    At GRCC we are lucky to have a DHHS case worker on staff that only works with our students. I can work with students on filling out the MI Bridges application and have their case added to the caseworker on staff. Through the application they can be evaluated for housing, food, utility, and child care assistance. If the student needed emergency housing we could work with some of our emergency shelter providers to see if there is an open bed for the evening or advocate for the student to receive an emergency grant that could cover a hotel for a few nights. We have a food pantry on campus that any student can use, but we also could refer the student to them to Feeding West Michigan and Community Food Club agencies.

    I have found that having direct questions on the intake form or interview about basic needs are the best way to elicit response on insecurity. We question if students are worried about food, housing, transportation, legal, health or other basic needs. I think beyond gathering the data, providers need to be ready to provide the support. It’s helpful knowing the needs, but there is also the responsibility to support students to increase access. Sharing 10,000 resources can also be really overwhelming for someone. I find it best to share what I think might be relevant and then ask the student which ones feel like a top priority to begin using. I then try my best to make a warm handoff to that agency and follow up on the issue with the student.

    1. mendezm2 says:

      ” Sharing 10,000 resources can also be really overwhelming for someone.”

      I agree, it can be overwhelming when I 1st started in this position I use to give out everything asap, but I realized people that are in need already have so much going on that have to do paper work for this agency and mdhhs and UIA then I need stuff from them. Now when I talk to people we get an overview of all their barriers and yes they are all important but now we take 1 thing at a time unless I know they are highly efficient and can handle multiple task at 1 time.

    2. rexa says:

      I agree about the overload of resources being overwhelming. I, too, make a warm handoff and follow-up. During an intake, if they need services, I offer my assistance. If they prefer me to be the first contact for them, I will gladly do so. However, for some, it can be overwhelming or embarrassing being that our relationship is new. Providing them with the material is better than not having it at all. If they don’t feel comfortable with me making a call that day on their behalf, then I’ll follow up with them in a couple of days. If by then they haven’t acted, then I’m a bit more pursuant and involve myself. It shows that I’m on their side and there to help them and not judge them. It’s the beginning stages of building their trust with me.

  19. mendezm2 says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    For Housing for emergency we involve the VA because there are shelters that can always take in veterans. For more less emerency there is Oakland County Housing Authority, MDHHS, SSVF & HVRP. For food insecure than are many resources like Gleaners, Forgotten Harvest, but one I perfer for muy local area is a place called Farmington Cares. It is a food pantry design like a store so people that need the service dont feel like it is a charity. There are shelves and a check out but no payment. It helps a lot for single parents with small children they just think they are going to a regular store. I think this is a great concept.
    Here is the link:

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    I have found it best to just build the relationship with the client and ask questions when the time arises. Getting a conversation going and having a client comfortable goes a long way to get them to open up. People do not want to show that they are struggling and I like to use my or other examples because everyone has probably been in a similar situation at one time or another.

  20. pbaldwin says:

    I have limited contact with clients, given that I primarily work with businesses, but when I do help out at events, I am always amazed at how quickly the 211 booklets fly off the tables. It has made me aware of just how big the need really is. I have also been grateful for the meetings that have been provided to us to help us learn about the various resources in our County. The Food Hub is one that I refer to when/ if asked as well as The Water Street Mission and Church World Services. I desire to learn more about other agencies for wherever I am so I can be ready to offer some support.
    One of the things I’m really excited about is the shift in focus at our office from not just finding a “career” for someone, but looking deeper and attempting to meet their physical and emotional needs. We are having a first ever event in the fall where we have a Resource Fair AND a Job Fair together. I believe this is a a great step in bringing the two needs together.

  21. holmh says:

    As my work as a Career Advisor working with individuals referred to us by DHHS for the PATH program, questions revolving around housing and food assistance do come up frequently. Part of our orientation with PATH participants involves them signing up for and filling out barriers and needs in TuaPATH, a program we use designed to assist with case management of our PATH participants. If housing needs arise, we refer them to the local Housing Commission, 2-1-1, MiBridges website, and single moms are referred to two local shelters we have in our area. I live in a rural area with very limited access to housing opportunities even for those who can afford it, unfortunately, so this has become a real issue to face for a lot of our participants. As our participants in PATH have also applied for Food Assistance when they apply for cash assistance (FIP), this is less of a barrier seen by me as a Career Advisor. However, we keep a list of local food pantries, churches and other organizations we can refer them to. If they have not applied for TANF, this is most definitely a step we focus on.
    Techniques I use to connect with participants to access their barriers include having them fill out the Goals. Progress. Success. (GPS) Assessment in TuaPATH during orientation which allows a deeper understanding of the participant’s needs by having them rank their current situations in housing, childcare, personal well-being, family support, transportation, etc. Then, when I meet with them one-on-one, we go over their needs and barriers, allowing them a safe space to discuss their concerns. It is very important in the relationship building for them to feel heard and I give them my full attention. I also explain to them if I am taking notes on their intake form, it is only for my purpose to assist in remember the details later. I also try to emphasis that I recognize we have all needed help at times in our lives and I value my role in assisting them at this important step in their lives. By letting them know I see them as what they are, another human being asking for help, this can help break down any notations they may believe I have about their situation and remove any unnecessary shame they may be experiencing.

  22. reisingers says:

    I am the Coordinator for the Senior Community Service Employment Program. It is funded by a grant from the Department of Labor. Within this grant we are allowed to provide Supportive Services. These services include, housing, food, clothing, consumers bills, transportation, health equipment to name a few. These cannot be ongoing services, so if the need is to be continued, I refer them to Region VII Area on Agency on Aging. Region VII offers many resources to help the Senior communities.

    I utilize assessments and questionnaires to determine employment barriers and needs. I also inform them of the Supportive Services that the program can assist with. This usually brings up the conversation of what they need assistance with.

    1. ndeeley says:

      I find it great that you are able to offer housing assistance through supportive services. I know Lancaster is facing more and more housing struggles. it’s wonderful to see more options being opened up to at risk communitities.

  23. wkoenig says:

    1. I tend to refer most of my clients looking for housing and meals to the DHHS office across the street. We do not have a homeless shelter or senior center in our town. I also give them contacts to the Catholic and Lutheran churches in town. I will refer them to the Alger/Marquette community action center for more help in that area. We also have a food bank that anyone can go to and get food for their family. It is open from 8 am to 5 pm daily and run by volunteers from the community. Our services are limited here but there are some agencies that can help. The sheriff’s department does give out motel vouchers but I believe it is for only two night stay. St, Vincent Depaul has a small food pantry along with the availability to help low income people with heating and electric needs if qualified.
    2. Of course the face to face meeting is the best for me. I have had people just call and ask what jobs are available in the area which limits me in seeing what I really need to know. Finding out what there background is, experiences, education and type of work they are looking for is an important start. If you can get them to open up then your on your way. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth. I try to get a feel for them and what they really need. Once you get into a good conversation you can ask things like do you have good transportation, day care needs, jobs that fit there time line-morning, afternoon, or nights, part-time or full-time. If they still seem quite interested in help, I have them do the ONET assessment which is short and direct and I also go over the pure Michigan Talent connect site to see what is available and go through that with them. Once you have a good sense of there situation we can start angling towards certain openings in the area. I try not to force them into positions but to let me know what they think is the best fit for them, then go from there.
    3. Techniques I use are basic, greet them with a smile, offer your help and see what they need today. Be honest and forthcoming and ask questions to get answers. Some come around easy and some it takes time for them to open up. Creating a comfortable atmosphere and getting their trust in you is important. You have to show sincerity and interest in there situation and listen to them carefully. You don’t just want to jump into one job or area when you may find they have interest, experience, or desire to do another. I like to one on one meeting just to get things rolling with them, being honest and helpful is the first step to getting them to open up. It is not an easy task at times to pin point what would be best for them until you get their whole story. My biggest challenge is the type of jobs available in the area and quality of those jobs. You have to decide once you get to know them what would be a good fit.
    I also like to use the ONET assessment tool to get an idea of there interests directly from them. This is not an exact science I tell them so I go over the outcome in each category to see how they feel about the results. Some may not agree with all the results but it does give us a good idea of what to look for in employment if that is available in the area. This usually brings out some good conversation. It open things up and creates a little comfortable feeling in the meeting. You let them discuss what they think about the outcome then give your opinion. It is a good back and forth conversation piece as long as you can keep it directed at employment.

  24. Vivian Santos-Dingui says:

    We have a number of food banks in the Reading area including various church food panties that offer food to anyone in need on specific days. RACC has its own food pantry on-campus which students can utilize. It is open every day which makes it quite convenient. Helping Harvest tends to come to our campus on specific Saturdays; however, they also have a location where individuals can call and go pick up food.

    I think establishing a safe place and making a student comfortable vital in starting a good and working dialogue. I try to keep my Intake interviews as informal yet professional as possible. I can usually observe a personal well-enough to determine if they are shy, anti-social, and/or just the opposite, outgoing and talkative. I tend to speak first because I find that helps my student to feel more relaxed and more likely to engage in a conversation with me. Everyone has story so I like to let the student tell me one. Once they begin speaking, it only takes one thing which I can relate to with him/her and I run with it. In regards to barriers, we generally receive forms which sometimes indicate what types of barriers the student may have whether needing child care; transportation, medical conditions, learning comprehensions among other things, which we determine in advance during case review.

  25. mccoya8 says:

    Using the key ingredients and helping skills during an intake interview is very beneficial when creating a positive and open relationship with your customer. Acceptance, respect, understanding, empathy, trust, warmth and genuineness are all key ingredients that a career services provider must encompass to be successful at their job. When a professional exhibits these traits, the customer feels seen, heard, cared for, and respected. When they feel this way they are more likely to feel comfortable and share more. The more comfortable they feel with you, the more they will tell you about their life, wants and needs. However, setting professional boundaries is appropriate during this time while building a relationship.

    Utilizing the helping skills in your profession as a career services provider is also very important. This way of communicating with customers will again make them feel seen, heard, cared for, and respected. As a professional we need to be aware of our own words, body language, and bias. Attending, listening, reflecting, encouraging, and questioning are communication skills that will allow you to make a connection with the customer. These skills show the customer physically that you are listening and interested, and encourage as much communication as the customer is comfortable with. Using a variety of open and closed questions will shape which answers you will receive. It is important to ask variety of questions to find out as much information as possible.

    Lastly, it is important to conduct the intake interview in a comfortable and warm setting. It needs to be private to keep confidentiality. This will increase the comfortability level with the meeting. It also is important to determine a customer’s own motivators. You cannot motivate a person to do things. The motivation needs to come from the customer for them to be successful long-term.

    1. dlares says:

      I agree! As a career services provider, utilizing helping skills is crucial. Attending, listening, reflecting, encouraging, and questioning are effective communication skills that demonstrate our interest and engagement with the individual. Our own words, body language, and biases are going to be heard, seen and recognized during the interview. Creating a comfortable and warm setting for the intake interview is paramount, I feel that an individual that is not comfortable may not completely share their situation resulting in an in-effective action plan.

    2. mvandorn says:

      I agree that the tone, environment, helping skills, etc. make all the difference when assisting a customer and making them comfortable enough to open up and talk about their barriers. If the customer does not feel like it’s a safe space, they may decide not to open up and share the detailed information that is needed in order for the customer to get that help. Although being ready to give agency info. and contact info. is great. If the approach and delivery from the team member is done in a way that does not make the customer feel comfortable the meeting may not be very productive.

  26. jromzek says:

    When a participant enters our office seeking employment, housing and meals we provide them with several different resources. First, we would get the participant connected with our job search website If needed, we would assist in helping the participant build a resume and apply for any jobs that interest them. Next, we would encourage them to apply for DHHS assistance. DHHS, Department of Health and Human Services, could potentially be able to assist them with funding for housing and food. We would also provide them with contact information for the mnay other support services in the area including NEMCSA, St. Vincent’s, Salvation Army and FISH

  27. speterson says:

    Although we are a smaller rural community there are many resources for help. Community Action Agency, Good Neighbor Services, Habitat for Humanity, Manistique Ministerial Association, Michigan 211, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Snap outreach, St Vincent de Paul, Tri-County Safe Harbor, and Sault Tribe Family Spirit to name a few.

    Our forms include questions pertaining to housing and food assistance. I still try to ask informal open-ended questions to see if there is anything more they may need. If anything stands out I will then ask them follow-up questions and suggest an agency or agencies.

    1. papisth says:

      Open ended questions are always the best. They can get people to open up more.

  28. dlares says:

    While we have many resources available to refer individuals for assistance, a thorough and complete interview and assessment needs to be completed to determine the appropriate entity to refer individuals to. Our resources include, Michigan Works offices, MDHHS, United Way and other community based organizations, depending on the individual’s location and specific needs.

    Techniques that I have found helpful discovering barriers:
    • Being genuine
    • Asking probing questions and listening/looking for cues and keywords
    • Providing enough time so that the process is not rushed.

    Overall techniques that work well for me:
    Being direct and assertive but not demanding and overbearing. This honesty and openness helps to relax individuals during the interview process and affirms the view to the interviewee that I am here to help them. Reducing and removing barriers can sometimes be difficult and individuals may lose focus or give up due to this difficulty. My direct and assertive approach helps individuals by showing them that they have someone in their corner helping them.

    1. bolte says:

      It’s so important to schedule enough time for intake! I book an hour, knowing that the appointment may end up running 90-minutes. I also try to get paperwork completed ahead of time if the people are able to complete it independently. If any information is missing on the forms, then I can gather it during the intake meeting.

  29. mstover says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    Housing is a huge barrier in our county. Lancaster Homelessness Coalition, Lancaster Housing Authority and Community Action Programs provide a lot of resources. TENFOLD is a great resource to increase knowledge about how to understand housing rights, overcome barriers to housing, and identifying housing options. The County Assistance Office can assist with SNAP and emergency rent assistance. Our local food hub Lancaster County Council of Churches, help with both food, clothing and transportation back and forth to work. Water Street Rescue Mission provides homelessness service. World Church Services (WCS) Refugees services for families entering the US facing most barriers. There are also a number of homeless shelters that help with meals, a place to sleep and job search help.

    1. tmogle says:

      Fantastic information that you have mentioned in your post. We often overlook that Tenfold and Church World Services (CWS) are available to individuals in our county who are in need. Lancaster Housing Authority is another great organization, and they have been a great partner in the past with our facility and services.

  30. bolte says:

    For assistance with housing, I refer customers to HAWK, which is the local agency that assists people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. HAWK will guide people on next steps: they may refer them to DHHS to apply for the State Emergency Relief for housing. They can connect people with local homeless shelters.

    For meal assistance, there are several free food pantries in the Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County area. People can also apply for a Bridge card through DHHS.

    Our intake form asks concrete questions about barriers that people may face. If someone implies they’re struggling in a certain area, I may ask direct or open-ended questions to gather additional information. Techniques I use include: respect, open body posture, eye contact, warmth, genuineness, and other helping skills.

  31. ndeeley says:

    1. I would recommend that the individual contact CAP or 211 for their housing concerns. There are also a couple of shelters I would recommend contacting, Milagro House, Good Samaritan, Water Street Rescue are a few. For food issues, I would refer them to the Lancaster Food Hub. They can set them up with a weekly food donation pickup and provide high quality food.

    2. I found it very helpful to have a document with pre-established barrier questions available. while taking the time to have natural conversations in an intake is incredibly important, I find that in order to get all the information needed an to keep the meeting on track it’s helpful to have the questions already written down. I can then fill in the information as needed and can allow the conversation to flow without forgetting to ask about a specific area.

  32. papisth says:

    When a customer makes an appointment to find work I would figure out what barriers they have. I would ask them what they have been doing and what they think their weakness may be. I will look at their resume and see if there is anything that may need touched up. Ask them about their interviews and if they need assistance ask if they would like to attend an interviewing workshop and/or set up a mock interview. Since the participant needs assistance with housing and meals I would refer them to 211 and Eight cap and also let them know that DHHS may be of assistance.
    Techniques I have found to be helpful would be being:
    Understanding & Empathy- knowing they are in a tough spot in life and understanding what they are going through.
    Trust- I want them to trust me with telling me information to better assist them
    Respect- I want to respect them and not judge them for anything

  33. edougherty says:

    If an individual presented with a need for housing or meals, there are a couple agencies that come to mind, such as Water Street Mission or the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness. However, I also would refer participants to use PA 211 as that website has information about so many different organizations and resources. It’s also relatively user-friendly in that you can search by category of resources (ex. Housing or Food) and then enter your zip-code to narrow down the information and find accessible, appropriate resources.

    I have found that starting with some light rapport is a helpful technique to use during initial intakes or sessions with participants. It creates a relational atmosphere and can help individuals to relax into the conversation. I also think starting with less personal questions can be useful. For example, starting by asking about material resources or transportation and then working towards conversations focused on goals, concerns, or relational support can help to establish trust before diving into personal details.

    1. rrezene says:

      I have seen a lot of other post mention 211 and we also lean on this as it is a great way to cover a variety of services across our region. There are also websites that help with this so participants don’t have to use the phone if they don’t want to.

      It depends on the program type but regardless I prefer to start with light rapport as well before jumping into barriers because, to me at least, starting with barriers can feel a bit uninspiring when looking to make big changes.

  34. mvandorn says:

    A customer makes an appointment with you to find work. The individual needs assistance with housing and meals.
    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    Like many of my colleagues mentioned, 211 is great resource when you don’t know off the top of your head the organization that provides that service. I would provide the participant with Food Hub contact information which is a local Lancaster organization that can provide that service. As it was mentioned above, housing is another story. It depends on if they are looking for a shelter asap or need something more permanent or both. Having a further conversation with the participant will help to reveal this information would be advantageous.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    Asking open ended questions can sometimes help reveal additional barriers that the customer may not even think the CareerLink is able to help with. Also sharing some examples of things we have helped other customers with can create some conversation with the participant to open up and share what they could use assistance with.

    3. What techniques worked well for you?
    My experience that has worked is having participants fill out forms that give them a list of barriers that could impede employment and that seems to get some honest responses. Once these are identified and a conversation is had, there is the likelihood that other barriers could be identified that weren’t even available to choose from the list of barriers.

    1. mfeltner says:

      Having a list of barriers for a client to pick from is a great idea. This will show some they may not know that have. Plus a great way to start a conversation of how those barriers can be overcome.

  35. rrezene says:

    If I was working with a participant and they were in need of housing and meal assistance I would typically start by asking them what they have done already. Chances are they have started with the two most common approaches to address these barriers (subsidized housing/section 8 and food assistance through DHHS). However, it could be that the participant has no idea where to get started because this is either a new experience for them or they have exhausted these options. If this is the case one way to “move them along” is why having them connect with 2-1-1 the community service line and/or website. This is a great resource for them but they may not be familiar with this and their probably going through an extremely difficult time given their barriers. So, I would more than likely approach them by showing the 2-1-1 website and getting some good leads for them to start on their way. I would also throw in some partners organizations I know of to help kick things off even faster. E.g. community rebuilders, local pantries, etc. If available, based on the program, I would also lean on our own support services and resource specialists to collaborate on this case. Sometimes its important to know when you are within your expertise or not.

    When it comes to techniques I would use to discuss barriers I like to start by empowering the participant through understanding of where they want to be in the world of work. From here I like to ask what is keeping them from those goals and I would say most of the time barriers start to surface much easier because there is a direction in mind. In my opinion this also helps participant understand the dynamic of the relationship and why they are here (this isn’t just government assistance, its a true workforce service for the betterment of your future). Building off of this technique we have developed pathway maps and action planning tools that list common potential barriers (transportation, housing, food assistance, education, childcare, etc.). This is a good way to show them that they might not need all of this but to start thinking of theses things in relationship to their short and long-term goals. Again, this is putting the career development on the front end of the rapport and the barrier removal as the secondary focus. I do want to add also that barriers are important and in no way do I want to minimize that importance. However, this approach it to change the way the participant thinks about their barriers and how we, the career coaches, think about addressing the conversation in a more empathetic way than sympathetic.

    1. paytonricec says:

      Robel, this is a phenomenal approach. I will be adapting the technique you discussed in empowering the customer to think about why they are not where they desire to be in the workforce. I find it can be difficult to provoke “change talk” with customers who have a surmountable amount of basic need barriers. However, your approach reframes the barriers and makes them seem achievable through the obtainment of employment and allows us as practitioners to remain focused on what out job truly is (workforce development) which can be difficult for helping professionals.

      Additionally, starting by asking the customer what they have done already to secure housing and food is a great way to empower self-sufficiency from the start of interactions. Thanks for the great insight and post!

  36. mturner1 says:

    If I were working with an individual that needed assistance with housing and meals, I would first ask them a few clarifying questions in order to understand their situation more deeply. Have you eaten today? Where did you sleep last night? Do you receive food stamps? Are you in housing or eligible for Section 8? Where have you gone or what resources have you used in the last week or two? From there, to address acute needs, I would attempt to find emergency resources available at the college or in our program to provide them with enough food and shelter to get them through at least one day. I would also make referrals to our school (or other local) food pantry and shelters to address any short term needs. In addition, I would refer this individual to the COMPASS app to submit or update an application for any benefits they may be eligible for right now. I would then give them the phone number to Helping Harvest, our local provider or have them call them right from my office. Then, I would have them call the Coalition to End Homelessness to discuss intake and available options for support. Job Search support would follow with referrals to our campus Career Service Center as well as our local CareerLink. Additionally, we would discuss opportunities for work-study on campus while they pursue training for sustainable employment.

    Techniques I have found to be critical in the the intake interview process is to help the individual feel welcomed and comfortable. I like to be prepared with a little knowledge about them if I have any so I can bring it up as a way to get the conversation going. I find asking a few closed-ended questions initially gets them more and more comfortable as they are able to then see and interpret my reactions and responses as non-judgmental and helpful. I find this eases them into open ended questioning that can really help them feel like opening up honestly as quickly as possible.

    One technique that I use and has worked well for me is simple. I almost always open with a giant smile and state “I’m so glad you are here.” I find that just this, visibly changes peoples faces and expressions from uncertainty to relief. I also often say, “this has been a life-changing experience for many people and can be for you too, if you are ready.” For many people who are more extraverted or open, they are then excited and engage easily because they know they belong. For more introverted or guarded individuals, I feel I have at a minimum planted a seed.

  37. rpaull says:

    The first thing that I would need to assess is the level of need for housing and food. It is sad that we have to do this but the system actually does have a definition of homelessness and it is not “staying with a friend” or “couch surfing.” After determining their housing needs, I would refer them to the Berks Coalition to End Homelessness. This is now the primary resource in Berks County. I used to be able to just call the shelters and housing services myself but the Coalition is now the main hub. People in shelter get priority over the couch surfers for spots in transitional housing programs. I have 2 personal contacts at the Coalition that I would utilize if the person was literally sleeping in their car. Otherwise, I would have the client call 211 and go through the process that Berks has set in place. If it was DV relate, then I would be able to contact SafeBerks directly for this client.
    As far as food goes, I would utilize the campus pantry that we have at RACC to get them food today. I would also call Helping Harvest to see if any mobile food banks are offered in the next few days. There are daily meals provided at a local church and I would provide that connection for them as well. The longer term resolution would be to apply for SNAP benefits if the client qualifies. In the scenario, the client is looking for work, so I assume that the person is not working at this time or just recently stopped working. He/she would probably qualify for SNAP. I would direct them to the Compass app and connect them to the case worker at Helping Harvest that will assist the client with the SNAP application. All SNAP applications have to be reviewed within 24 hours for emergency benefits. If there is no income, the client would be granted emergency food stamps. The full application can take up to 30 days until completed.
    As far as employment, I would ask how long the person has been out of work. I would ask if it is possible that they may qualify for UC benefits. I would encourage them to apply and if denied possibly appeal the decision. I would also see if the person may be eligible for TANF benefits and see if they want to apply for cash assistance. They would then be referred to a workforce program that could further assist them with job placement. If this is a crisis mode situation, I would have them go directly to the career center at RACC or to the Careerlink to get assistance with resume writing and applying for job immediately. I would also talk to the client about work/pay same day companies and temp services. This is a short term option but could get the client working quickly.
    Being honest and genuine are two traits that have served me well with clients. During an initial conversation where they are discussing personal matters, I put away all my paperwork except a pen and notebook. I try to take the client to a separate room away from coworkers. I ask open ended questions and empathize with their situations. I sit facing the client and try to maintain focus on what they are saying. When someone is talking about their problems, I find myself already thinking of solutions or connections that I can make. This is not a good practice and I am constantly aware not to do this. I try to ask what the client has already done and give them credit for trying. I also ask what they want to do or who they can connect with now to resolve their problems before I make suggestions.

    1. wcain says:

      The SNAP/TANF benefit options avaible to people need to be more publicized. Many of my student don’t know that they are likely eligible for SANP benefits based on their financial aid eligibility. Generally, if a student is eligible for Pell and or work-study, they are eligible for SNAP benefits. As students, there are lots of programs that go underutilized and sit stagnant for years.

  38. mhernandez says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    a. I would refer the individual to the Loaves & Fishes pantry. They try to provide a month’s worth of meals for families. The best part is that you don’t have to provide proof that you are need of food. They only require an ID and that you can only get services every 30 days. They try to provide enough food based on the number of people living in the household. Although it has usually been non-perishable items and some of the food has a quick expiration date, they have been working to get more fresh products. If they are at a local college or university, there are sometimes food pantries for students in those institutions that students can use. In regard to housing, the immediate 24-hour shelter is a faith-based organization called, Ministry with Community. There are different organizations that help in renting an affordable place. These usually have certain requirements that the residents need to abide by in order to maintain housing with them. Some partners will help with providing money for rent if they are a young person or if they are over the age of 24 years old.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?
    a. We have a survey that Scholars need to take when they want to use their scholarship towards a certain program or institution. The responses are then shared with a program we have called, Elevate, so that they can reach out and provide more of the 1-on-1 support and wrap around services. I also try to build a relationship with them so that they can be comfortable in sharing their situation if they need barriers to be removed. However, it is always good to have a list handy in case there is an immediate need. We also have a Success Action Plan for Scholars that have their scholarship on suspension since they had their GPA below a 2.0 but want to go back to continue their education. We ask what the barriers were then and if there are any barriers now that they need to be addressed.

    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    a. I start building a relationship with them at the beginning. I have them meet with me one more time so that we can continue our conversation or so that we can develop a solid plan for future steps. We then keep in contact to see how those barriers were addressed or if there is still a need for them to be addressed. I will also refer them to our Elevate team if they would benefit more from the type of support they can provide.

    1. iberry says:

      I liked the resources for food and housing that you shared. You are aware of the options for your local area and that is good for clients in need.
      I really love the fact the you refer to your clients as scholars also. I can only imagine that brings them joy and confidence. I like, also, that the team providing one-on-one support and wrap around services is called Elevate. I’m sure the client appreciates you and Elevate, building relationships with them, while working together to help them eliminate barriers on their pathway to success.

  39. iberry says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    Lancaster County has a Human Services Guide that was created by 211 and the United Way. I reference this when needing a place to send a client for help with their various needs. There are a plethora of food resources, in the guide, from food pantries and soup kitchens, to SNAP or WIC, to meals-on-wheels or school pantry programs. The client referral is centered around the specific need.

    The same with housing. In the guide, there are resources provided for emergency shelters, transitional housing, specialty housing, affordable housing, rental properties, and first-time homebuyer opportunities. The client referral would be based upon the client’s housing need.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.

    I like to inform the clients that my organization is here to assist them holistically. Beyond providing employment and training services, we want to help make sure that any barriers clients have to employment are resolved (as much as possible) to ensure success for them and their families. I ask clients to be transparent, so we can work together to overcome any challenges they face, in an effort to assist them in attaining their goals and being happy, self-sufficient, and successful.

  40. paytonricec says:

    A customer makes an appointment with you to find work. The individual needs assistance with housing and meals.
    Use the link below that corresponds to your Cohort. You will make 1 original post and respond to at least 1 classmate’s post.
    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    I would refer the customer to the food bank of Eastern Michigan for assistance with obtaining food, a list of food pantries and a list of soup kitchens. For housing I would provide the customer with a list of Flint Housing Commission properties that are accepting clients and refer them to the Shelter of Flint where they can be connected to a housing case manager that would connect them to housing programs and assist them with securing immediate housing if needed.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?
    I find it helpful to ask open ended questions to clients such as “what brings you in today” or “tell me about your goals” to garner information for the intake interview. When I use this technique it allows the customer to set the tone for how much they would like to share and to divulge what they feel comfortable disclosing during the intake interview. Often times, the customer will reveal what their barriers are when they discuss what brought them to the agency. If the customer does not discuss barriers I continue to ask open ended follow up questions to provoke a response that identifies the barriers to employment.

    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    The first technique I use in intakes is motivational interviewing. I find that I am able to build a strong rapport with customers when I allow them to lead the discussions and I help them identify inner conflicts that may be hindering their goals.
    The second technique I use in intake is demonstrating competence. It is always helpful in building trust when a customer believes you know what you are talking about and will lead them to the appropriate resources.

  41. wcain says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    I would provide them with a list of local food pantries. If they are enrolled in an academic program I would connect them with their Office of financial aid. If the student is work-study eligible, they should be eligible for SNAP assistance with relative ease. Unfortunately, housing insecurity is a significant issue in Kalamazoo. We have some connections at Housing Resources Inc that would e a good place to start.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    We make it a point to ask several barrier questions on several of our internal forms. To be eligible for our ELEFVATE program, THERE IS A FORMAL INTAKE PROCESS SIMILAR TO WHAT IS USED BY THE STATE. personally, I MAKE IT A POINT TO MENTION FAFSA and the additional supports that are avaible through their schools of choice. When asking theses questions I try to take the pressure off of the student. Framing the topic as helpful or unhelpful. “Would a list of food resources be helpful for you?” My intention is to offer it neutrally and not make it seem like they are asking for “extra help” make sure it seems like a standard question. That way they can say yes or sure and not feel like they have to lay themselves bare. Limit the vulnerability.

    1. t.logan says:

      I totally forgot about the food pantries. That would be a wonderful resource to get food for people in need. I know that there are some pantries that are only open on specific days and others that are open when needed.

      1. jlpillay says:

        Absolutely, food pantries can indeed be a crucial resource for individuals in need, and it’s great that you highlighted their significance. They provide essential support by offering food assistance to those facing challenges with meals. You’re right about the varying schedules of food pantries; some operate on specific days. There are several churches in our area that have food pantries. It is good to build a rapport by establishing positive relationships with these organizations can enhance the network of available resources for individuals seeking help with housing and meals. Collaborating with churches allows for a more comprehensive approach to support, tapping into community connections that may extend beyond traditional service providers.

  42. tmogle says:

    Now, I do not generally work with clients or individuals who are looking for jobs. If I did, I would first refer them to *211. It is a free service to county residents to get them assistance with the health and human services they need. They are able to provide guidance to individuals looking for housing and meals. If a meal is something that they are in dire need of, I would refer them in downtown Lancaster to the Water Street Rescue Mission. They provide meals daily to folks who are in need. They can also provide temporary shelter if someone is in need of a place to sleep. Questions 2 and 3 do not apply in any capacity to the work that I do, so I am not really able to answer them.

    1. kevin.king says:

      I agree. Referring customers to 211 is smart for workforce development professionals when they need to connect people to services beyond what the Workforce Development Board offers. 211 is like a helpful hotline that provides current and accurate information on various services, from housing to healthcare. It’s easy for clients to use by just dialing 211, and the trained specialists there can guide them to the right resources. By using 211, workforce development professionals ensure that their customers get access to a wide range of services, making support more effective and tailored to each person’s needs.

  43. nicole.pfundheller says:

    1. If an individual asked me for information regarding assistance for housing and meals, I would refer the individual to ECHO (Everyone Cooperating to Help Others), as ECHO may provide temporary housing and food. Also, there are local faith-based organizations who also may help with temporary housing and food.
    2. Our comprehensive assessment helps identify the needs of each participant, which I would ask directly. This also helps with building rapport between the participant and me.

    1. lisa.fenrick says:

      Reaching out to smaller and faith based organizations is a great idea. Those resources are often overlooked but have great community support. Alot of times, this community support allows the smaller organizations to adjust their focuses to the individual and their immediate barrier to be able to assist on a case by case basis.

    2. bback says:

      Assessments are a great tool to use to find barriers, especially when it’s done with the client. Which ones do you guys specifically use? We are looking at our assessment inventory and what we may be lacking.

  44. kevin.king says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    For food and housing, in Texas, we would refer them to the following agencies:
    • Local Housing Authorities: We often collaborate with local housing authorities that administer public housing programs and Section 8 vouchers.
    • Texas Health and Human Services (HHS): HHS oversees various social service programs in the state, including those related to food assistance. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one such program that helps individuals and families with their nutritional needs.
    • Local Food Banks and Pantries: We may refer individuals to local food banks, pantries, and community organizations that provide food assistance.
    • 211 Texas: 211 is a helpline and online database that connects individuals to a variety of social services, including housing and food assistance.
    • Nonprofit Organizations: Various nonprofit organizations focus on addressing homelessness, poverty, and hunger.
    • Local Social Services Agencies: We may work with local social services agencies to connect individuals with a range of assistance programs, including those related to housing and meals.
    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?

    • Active Listening: Attend to both verbal and non-verbal cues actively.
    • Open-Ended Questions: Prompt detailed responses by asking questions that go beyond yes or no.
    • Empathetic Communication: Build trust through understanding and compassionate interaction.
    • Strengths-Based Approach: Emphasize clients’ skills, talents, and past achievements.
    • Cultural Competence: Sensitively consider diverse backgrounds and cultural influences.
    • Motivational Interviewing: Explore motivations using open-ended questions and reflective listening.
    • Trauma-Informed Approach: Acknowledge and address potential impacts of trauma on clients.
    • Assessment Tools: Utilize tools or questionnaires for systematic information gathering on skills and interests.
    • Collaborative Goal Setting: Involve clients in setting goals to uncover potential obstacles.
    • Follow-Up Questions: Probe deeper into specific issues with thoughtful follow-up inquiries.

    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.

    Active Listening and Assessment Tools work best for me personally. Active listening means really paying attention to what clients are saying, both in words and how they’re acting. It builds trust and helps spot issues that might not be said outright, making the relationship open and friendly. On the flip side, assessment tools are like organized questionnaires that help gather info about clients’ skills, interests, and problems. They give a structured way to understand a client’s situation thoroughly. These tools let pros make smart choices based on data and customize help to fit each person’s needs and strengths. So, together, active listening and assessment tools create a strong combo, mixing understanding with solid facts to make workforce development work better overall.

    1. rexa says:

      Great information Kevin! I’m going to start utilizing United Way in my services. I’m aware of it, but don’t know enough about it. I’m going to do some research and get material to have in my office so I can use it for my clients who need it. Thank you!

    2. rball says:

      This is great! Thank you for sharing.

  45. mfeltner says:

    For housing and meals I would refer the client to our local partners, CSBG and DCBS. Our CSBG (Community Service Block Grant) can help with housing and or find immediate housing until stable housing is available. DCBS (Department of Community Based Services) to sign up on the SNAP (food stamps) program. For immediate meal needs I would refer the client to local food banks. After those immediate needs are taken care of I would work with the client to see how to assist so this doesn’t become a permanent problem.

    Techniques that I would use to help discover barriers that a customer might be facing would be open ended questions and active listening. Just basic questions and really listening to the clients answers will help the client to open up and let you know what challenges they are facing.

    I don’t work directly with clients but I would think that techniques such as assessments and just getting to know the client would work best in the beginning.

  46. bback says:

    There are a few options in our area that I would use to refer clients to for help with housing and food insecurities. For housing, we have our network of Community Action Agencies. They operate several programs that can help with housing, from the CSBG and CDBG grants and weatherization, depending on their specific housing issue. The Kentucky Housing Corporation could also be another avenue. We also have a few housing authorities in our area that can help with low income housing, such as Kentucky Housing Authority and HOMES. Each of these agencies can help with various issues with housing, from helping to repair housing issues, helping with rent subsidies, refinancing a heavy mortgage, or with purchasing low income housing. We also have homeless shelters in the area that we can refer to in an emergency shelter situation.

    For food insecurity issues, again, the Community Action Agencies can help with this. The Salvation Army is also another source for help with food. In Letcher County, we have CANE (Community Agricultural Nutritional Enterprises) that can help with food boxes, as well as serving hot meals. Mountain Comprehensive Health Care runs a program they call FARMacy. This program gives tokens to those who qualify to use at the local Farmer’s Market as payment for fresh food.

    One of the things we have noticed is that people are sometimes reluctant to tell someone face to face that they have an issue, but they will fill it out on a survey form. During the COVID shut downs, we created an online Google Form to use for job seekers to apply for WIOA services. This included an intake sheet with questions about their issues. This would be a good tool to use for clients to identify issues such as this, that they may not feel comfortable discussing at first. This also gives the Career Advisors time to go through their intake and pull together a list of resources prior to their face to face meeting. That way the client doesn’t have to ask or bring it up first. If a client is not using the virtual intake, then it is up to the Career Advisor. They would need to lean heavy into their helping skills to make the clients feel comfortable in discussing any barriers they may have to sustaining employment. Career Advisors are a great resource and one we often do not think of as being a resource. We look to tools, but Career Advisors having those conversations and building that report with the client is a valuable resource in the process.

    1. nicole.pfundheller says:

      Community Action offers a lot of great resources. We have a Community Action and they are a great resource for our community.

      1. bonnie.conn says:

        Our Community Action Programs are definitely a great resource for providing housing and food in emergency situations. They are such a great resource for so many other things as well. They are our go to so often when we are working with our job seekers.

    2. Kimberly Carr says:

      I agree Community Actions go have a variety of programs that could help. In our county all we have to help with food is a local food pantry.

    3. legenevieve says:

      I think that it’s awesome that you all created an intake sheet connected to WIOA. I’m new to career development, and my first time reading about WIOA was in Chapter 14. I’m intrigued by what you are saying about pulling their resources together to give to the career advisors so they then know what to pull together as resources to best support the client. This helps eliminate suggesting resources that they’ve probably already used or resources that aren’t useful for them. I’ll make sure to continue to build “tools’ to help me with my helping skills to provide great services to our clientele.

  47. Robert Turner says:

    In our area we have Big Creek Mission, they help with those needs, they have a food pantry. Our Organization also helps with food boxes. For shelter and housing needs I would reach out to the housing Alliance in the area. In the intake interview I definitely use listening skills and good heart felt communication to find potential barriers that the client could have. We also have a pre-application that addresses some of the potential barriers that the client might feel more comfortable listing rather than having a conversation about it. The techniques I use is pretty simple, I am dedicated to helping and willing to work in anyway I can. I listen and care about what the needs of the client is. I want to make them feel comfortable and help provide motivation for them to go out and execute the plan we come up with so they can have success.

    1. bridget.james says:

      I agree Robert, it is so important to treat our clients with respect and that they matter. That is what we focus on in our career centers. We don’t want them walking out the door in frustration over not being treated fairly. We use examples of how we are treated in the fast food industry at times, like some McDonald’s restaurants that I have been in, they force the customer to use their technology to place their own order when 4 workers stand around talking and refusing to place the order for the customer. This may be fine for some but for others it is disrespectful and makes the customer feel like a problem instead of a welcomed guest. We want our clients to feel like a welcomed guest to be free to speak, vent, etc., then we can get to the heart of the problem and start working on solutions.

  48. lisa.fenrick says:

    Our County Economic Support Staff compiled a list of area resources to include the surrounding areas. This list provides resources to include local food pantries and food resources and housing/ utility assistance. In addition, it lists resources for clothing and household, health services, transportation providers, counseling services and much more. I refer to this list to correctly identify the needed support that would be most available to them. After providing immediate resources, I ensure the client is connected to our Consortium where they can apply for Food Share, Healthcare or other programs of assistance.

    To identify the needs of the client we have assessments in place to initially address possible needs. Once the assessment is complete, having an open conversation is best to learn more. Having this conversation also lets the client know that even if they do not have any immediate needs, the dialog is already open in case their situation changes.

    1. vcollier says:

      Having a list of available resources is so helpful! In the past, some of our partners have worked on resource “guides,” but our area is so large that the partner’s coverage area (and therefore resource list) often don’t cover all of our counties. They are also difficult to keep up-to-date, but it is defnintiely something that is needed and useful.

    2. a.brown says:

      I agree, having a list of available resources would be very beneficial. In years past we have tried to combine a list in our 4 county areas. We seem to always struggle with keeping it current and up to date as some of the agencies and/or funding are no longer available. It would be awesome if there was a local virtual list that would be readily available and easily accessible, something that each agency could log into and update frequently as services change. Resources are so vital in our poverty stricken areas and a lot of times so many people are just unaware of all that is available to assist. It warms my heart to see all of the organizations listed on this post and know that there are so many “helping hands”.

  49. t.logan says:

    When a client comes into the office and is in need of housing and meals, I will gather the basic information for the client. I will call CSBG and see what all my client will need to do to gain assistance with them. I then let the client know what all they will need to gather together. In the meantime, I discuss what all our services are and the different way we may be able to assist with other needs. I stay honest and sincere while I am speaking with the client. I listen attentively to what they are asking. I will then repeat what they have told me so that I know that I heard them correctly.

    1. Dottie Nolan says:

      Honesty and sincerity goes a long way when having these types of conversations. Individuals will always remember how they were treated in their most trying time of need.

  50. bonnie.conn says:

    1. When I have job seeking clients that I am working with and in the course of our job searching activities discover that my client requires some basic needs met such as food and housing I definitely have resources and a plan for the referrals. For the food assistance I have a few resources that I contact, one being our local food pantry. Our local food pantry has been able to assist on many occasions but if I contact them at a time when they are unable to assist, the number two resource I reach out to is our Community Service Block Grant department within our own agency. They often have funding to provide a set amount of emergency food assistance. If this resource is unable then my third go to is our local ministerial association. They are always a good back up and can always provide essential items for the length of time required.
    When my client is in need of housing I also have a plan of action and referral system set up for that as well. My first plan of action is one of our partners called Shelter of Hope. This agency is an emergency shelter assistance agency and can provide short term housing options. The second resource or referral is our local Housing Authority, this option of course is if someone has shelter but needs to find a home of their own or are relocating to the other and may need housing assistance.
    2. There are a couple of techniques I use when trying to find out as much information as I can from my client in order to discover any barriers that may be lurking that could possibly keep them from obtaining or retaining employment. One of my most effective techniques is the is to ask alot of open ended questions. This allows my client the opportunity to answer and hopefully fill in some gaps with information that is effecting their current employment situation.
    I also make sure that I am attending to my client completely. I try to stay focus on them, what they are saying and respond correctly and effectively to what they are relating to me. I intentionally do not answer the phone or look away but make sure they understand that I care and that I am invested in their problem and not just their problem but most importantly the solution.
    3. I feel that I have explained the techniques that I use to gain as much information as I can and that work most effectively for me in question #2. I never want my client to see help from me and walk away feeling they have wasted a trip and their time. I always want them to leave a meeting with me feeling better about themselves and hopeful for a positive outcome.
    I am a definite believer in positive reinforcement and I try to put that into practice in everything I do. I always make sure that I repeat back to my clients by summarizing their problem so that they know I understand what they are saying so they know I am totally committed in helping.

  51. bridget.james says:

    When an individual comes into our career center in need of housing and food, we refer them to several partners, such as CSBG, H.U.D Housing, the Ministerial Association and the Shelter Of Hope. We also reach out to the local churches that may be able to pay for a one night rent on a motel just to provide shelter for the night and allow time for resource partners to get the paperwork started or get a vacancy on a shelter.
    The technique that I found to be especially helpful in getting to know the client in the intake interview is through asking several questions using effective listening skills so that the client can know that they are my priority and they matter. We use assessments that also provide a way of explaining what is going on with the client before a discussion is even started and then we can go over the assessment in better detail that allows the client to expand on their story.
    They tend to open up and include things that have happened or currently going through that brought them in the career center. Talking to the client on a personal level, makes them feel like they matter, that they are more than a statistic which allows them the opportunity to just say what’s on their mind. When struggling with attaining their basic needs, that seems to come out pretty quickly along with their frustrations and anxiety about life’s events. It’s important to just use empathy and not judge what they have done but show them that they can change their circumstances and help was available, that they are not alone.

    Effectively Listening technique and using empathy is used to not only build that relationship with the client but connecting them to local resources that can help make that happen. It takes teamwork with our local partners along with the client for positive changes to happen. When a client is treated with respect and consideration they can feel comfortable talking about their issues and career goals. They in turn, trust you do what you say you will d

    1. bridget.james says:

      My copy/paste didn’t get my last statement … it should have stated.
      They in turn, trust you to do what you say you will do, so they won’t feel like they have wasted their time.

  52. mkwioacmanager8 says:

    1. I refer clients in need of food to Breathitt County Hunger Alliance, Rousseau Fire Department, Extension office, DCBS Office, and KRCC, and Local Food Banks. The company that I work Middle Kentucky will provide a bag of emergency food to anyone in need. I refer clients in need of housing to the following agencies: Homeless Shelter, Opportunity House, Family Promise, KRCC, Safe House, Habitat for Humanity, and First Church of God depending on the client’s needs and situation. Kentucky River Community Care to End Homelessness is the lead agency for PA-506 and is responsible for the oversight of all Continuum of Care (CoC) policies, procedures, and CoC project funding decisions.
    2. Our clients complete a learning readiness survey during orientation. I meet with the student to help provide information and provide a warm hand-off to outside programs and providers.
    3. Our staff makes our clients feel comfortable and secure in the orientation. As relationships develop, students that were hesitant to share their needs initially will express their needs after they feel safe. I speak with the student in a separate private area.

  53. mkwioacmanager8 says:

    Community Action is a great Community Action offers a lot of great resources. We have a Community Action and they are a great resource for our community.

    1. Dottie Nolan says:

      I agree, Community Action Agencies have so many resources to offer individuals and families are more than willing to help!

      1. Britney.harris says:

        I have been with Community Action for close to 2 years now and can honestly say that I am proud to be apart of such an amazing organization. I did not realize the smallest fraction of what all Community Action Agencies could do/offer for those in need. It is a crucial resource for our community.

  54. vcollier says:

    Across our 23-county area, there are several different resources where we could refer a client in need of food and housing. We have Community Action throughtout our entire area that can assist with housing and food needs through their various programs. There is also low-income housing available through the different housing authorities and programs like the Housing Development Alliance and HOMES. Several of our counties also have homeless shelters, and one has a homeless shelter dedicated to serving veterans. There are food pantries available through different churches and community organizations. The Salvation Army is also present in a few communities.

    I do not work directly with clients, but I think building the relationship with the client and actively listening is one of the best ways to learn a client’s barriers. Of course, not every client will open up. In those instaces, the client may self-identify their challenges/stressors on our intake form. We are also actively looking to add new assessments to our tool box that may help identify barriers.

  55. Dottie Nolan says:

    Job seekers walk through our doors because they need a job, but sometimes they have other needs that need to be addressed urgently. When an individual comes into one of our contractor offices some basic information is captured during the Intake process. This information collected provides a baseline for the initial meeting with a career advisor. If an individual were to disclose the need for housing and food, the career advisor will take the next steps to assist them by asking the individual what types of local resources are they familiar with, which ones have they used before and what was the result of them? All career advisors have an up-to-date list of local resource contacts and local agency contacts in their areas who specializes in these needs to expedite services for individuals they serve. They would start making phone calls to the local homeless shelters and the Housing Authority to check on vacancies and other similar organizations. They know their local food banks or missions that provides food baskets. They would immediately begin making referrals for them and assist scheduling appointments to get the individual assistance as quickly as possible.

    Empathy will be one of the most key ingredients of building a helping relationship. This will build a connection because you want to understand their situation from their perspective. Individuals will be able to tell by your body language whether you are sincere or condescending of them which will lead to trust or with them shutting down. Trust is key and has to be established in the beginning of the relationship before the individual feels comfortable to open up and disclose personal information. This type of subject can be difficult to discuss with someone you barely know. Therefore, showing acceptance without judgement or bias is going to be essential.

    I think asking the right questions work well. Yes, some closed-ended questions are necessary but open-ended questions really help to find out more about the person’s employment, educational and personal needs. Open-ended questions engage the individual to really think about a response in depth rather than a “yes” or “no” question. They also give the speaker control over the conversation, and they feel you are interested in them. They also provide an opportunity to learn more from the individual because of giving them the lead in the conversation allowing them to talk more about themselves. Another technique in a conversation is silence because most people feel uncomfortable if there is no interaction taking place so they will more than likely fill that space with personal information which will assist with getting to know them better without asking having to ask. The Helping Skill, Attending, is crucial as well. Being present in the conversation is important. Paying attention to what the person has to say will build a good relationship. SOLER, an ingredient in this skill is a useful technique also. People pay attention to your body language more than you may think and it can either work in your favor or against you. Eye contact is essential to gaining trust and it tells the speaker you care about what they are talking about. Non-verbal communication is 93% of the conversation which can lead to a lot of misunderstandings. People do not have time to repeat themselves so it is important to pay attention to the message from beginning to end and eye contact can definitely be of great assistance.

    1. rexa says:

      I agree with all you mentioned, especially trust. In our roles, you said it best, acceptance without judgment or bias. It is essential!

    2. jessica.dye says:

      I love that you mention Empathy. Empathy is exactly what is needed for many of our clients. I have served clients who have family support, no second chances being offered due to addiction or legal issues, or clients who are simply down on their luck and looking for a way of it. Being compassionate and positive goes a long way in what we do. Honestly, I believe it goes a long way in every day life.

    3. sjones1 says:

      I agree with you. Open ended questions also help with client feel more “connected” with the career advisor. Being more open to telling you the barriers they might face.

  56. rexa says:

    Depending on where the client lives, I would refer them to their local county assistance office. Because I’m in a rural area, many of our clients are from the 5-7 surrounding counties and can travel anywhere from 10 minutes to over 90 minutes to our school for training. So, it depends on where they are living for me to refer them for assistance. However, I came across the situation during an intake interview when I discovered the client was homeless and I got them in contact with their local shelter. The shelter had a scholarship opportunity, and the client was able to have a place to stay and get their training sponsored to get skilled and find employment. To date, it was the most rewarding client experience I’ve ever had.
    The best techniques I use for clients are open honest communication and no transparency. I want them to feel safe and comfortable when meeting and speaking with me. During the intake interview, I ask them questions about their hobbies, likes and dislikes, and who is their support system. I also ask them “what the purpose of the training is for”. It’s for employment, obviously. But I want to know what motivates them. Are they working towards owning their own business one day? Do they need a steady job to support their family? Whatever their motivator is, I make a note in their folder, and if for some reason they struggle, I use that as a reminder for them to rally and keep going. Sometimes we need a boost and a reminder of what our goal is, and it’s been very successful.

    1. csexton says:

      I really like your process of having the client identify their motivator during their initial interview. Knowing the “why” that the client is looking for new/better employment, upskilling through training, etc., allows you to remind them of their “why” when things get tough. It builds that personal relationship because you’re recalling information that you’ve discussed before. Identifying their hobbies, likes, dislikes, support system, and needs allows you to see more into their interests and needs than just relying on an assessment.

  57. jessica.dye says:

    For housing concerns, we refer clients to HUD (Housing and Urban Development Division), local Low Income Housing, our LIHEAP (Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program) if needed, Gateway Area Development District can also assist with clients depending upon their need. For food concerns, we refer to the Department of Community Based Services (to sign up for Kentucky’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as well as a number of local churches. Dayspring A Church Alive, Bethel Baptist, and Big Woods Community Church are the biggest in our areas. Many churches give out food bi weekly. My WIOA agency is under a Community Action Program, therefore we can refer in house to assist clients as much as possible.

    2. I always try to have simple conversations with clients when they come in. I ask about their family, how things are going for their children at school or at home. This opens the conversation up. If the client discloses the issue, I give them the names and numbers of who to call and I do my best to follow up with them to see if they received help. If I suspect food or housing needs, but the client is unwilling to disclose, I always throw in as casual as possible that this church or that is having a give away soon. I make it as “no pressure” as I can. This helps many clients save face and maybe opens the door later if they decide to reach out for direct assistance.

    3. The best techniques that I have is active listening, asking open ended questions, and just generally being positive. Clients who come in looking for help have a story, listening to their circumstances and needs is crucial. They need help and they are asking for it. I never rush a client out the door, instead I talk to them and listen to what they need. It builds the relationship, which makes the whole process run a lot smoother for all involved. Asking questions is a great technique to assist clients, to get to know them and find out what their needs are. Lastly, I find that being positive to clients is the best thing to do. Believe in them, cheer them on, and celebrate their success. This builds them up and gives them a positive experience with my agency.

  58. a.brown says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    Community Action Agencies are a huge resource for our area. They offer an array of programs and services to aide individuals in all aspects of life. I am blessed to work for one. LKLP is such an amazing organization that meets vital needs within our communities. We also partner with several other agencies that could be beneficial for someone looking for these types of assistance. If a person comes into our office seeking assistance with housing and food, the first referral I would make would be to our CSBG and CDBG program. They help with both shelter and food assistance. Their program can help with rental fees, hotel costs, mortgage assistance, etc. Kentucky Housing Corporation is also administered through community actions. LKLP has a KHC Specialist who can help with applications for housing as well as necessary repairs to an existing home. Kentucky River Community Care is another resource with housing assistance programs. Additionally local housing authorities/HUD for low income apartments, the Housing Development Alliance, and HOMES Inc. are also available housing resources in our areas. We currently have Disaster Case Managers that are working with organizations such as Cajun Navy and CORE to help several flood victims establish housing and food resources as well. I would reach out to them to determine any further available sources. If an individual is need of food, we make referrals to local food banks, churches, Big Creek Missions, Mission of Hope, Mountain Mission, CANE’s Kitchen, and ICAN Services. All of these organizations have resources to assist with food boxes and meals. CANE Kitchen offers community feeding events several times each month. Salvation Army is also housed in one of our Community Action offices. This serves as a huge benefit for customers who need additional assistance beyond the programs offered within our agency. Salvation Army can help with emergency food boxes as well as supplying clothing, furniture, household items, etc.
    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?
    The SOLER technique with attending skills is very beneficial during an intake process. It establishes a connection to the client that allows them to feel heard. Properly attending lets them know you are actively listening through reflection and encouragement. Engaging in conversations with clients, asking questions, and being relatable is very valuable. Letting them connect with you by sharing stories and experiences builds rapport and comfort. Once a client feels a connection and trust with you they will begin to open up more and be willing to discuss things in details. Building a relationship with the client is the most important step. Inviting them into a welcoming atmosphere that puts them at ease and offers positivity.
    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    I find that story telling/sharing stories works very well with building rapport and putting the client at ease from the initial interview. Expressing relevance and being relatable; showing the client that you have similar “life” experiences builds comfort and helps establish relationships. Informal interviews and asking open ended questions as well as being present in the conversations creates a trustworthy environment where clients feel worthy of sharing their stories, including successes as well as struggles. Offering positive reinforcements and showing empathy throughout the session helps to make it an atmosphere of sharing information and details rather than just a routine set of interview questions for an intake process.

    1. alykens says:

      I totally agree with you about sharing stories. You can tell when a client comes in and they are nervous. I just want them to feel at ease and know that I am there to help. Everyone goes through struggles, big or small.

      1. jblevins says:

        I agree, building the trust relationship by listening and sharing life stories is a great way to gain the client’s trust and then they will be more free to open up about their barriers and concerns. I also like use the open ended questions to encourage the clients to open up.

        1. fwattenberger says:

          I agree that empathy goes a long way with gaining and understanding of customer needs. When we put ourself into their shoes, they begin to relax and open up and share their story. This is a win-win for customer and career advisor.

  59. jlpillay says:

    1. In Barbourville, KY, for comprehensive assistance with various needs, I would refer the customer to the KCEOC Community Action Agency. KCEOC offers a range of services, including but not limited to housing assistance, community services, employment programs, and support with basic needs such as meals. By connecting with KCEOC, the customer can access a holistic set of resources tailored to address their specific challenges and requirements, ensuring a more well-rounded and effective support system.
    2. During intake interviews, I find it particularly effective to employ empathetic listening and open-ended questioning techniques. Firstly, empathetic listening allows me to create a supportive and understanding environment for the customer. By actively listening to their concerns, I can gain insights into their specific challenges and needs. Additionally, using open-ended questions encourages customers to express themselves more freely, providing a comprehensive understanding of the barriers they might be facing. This approach helps establish a foundation for personalized assistance and ensures that the support provided aligns with the individual’s unique circumstances.

  60. alykens says:

    When a client comes in needing assistance with finding work , I will explain the WIOA program to them and ask them to fill out an application. At the bottom of that application is a list of challenges and stressors that they may be facing. I review the application with them asking open ended questions. I always focus my full attention on them, putting them at ease. I see that they leave with information that is beneficial to their situation. For example, a name and telephone number to someone to reach out to or an appointment that has been made for them.
    We also have a resource guide for referring clients depending on their needs. For assistance with housing I would start with Big Sandy Area Community Action Program and refer them to CSBG and then the local Housing Authority. There are also shelters in the area that can assist sometimes. For meals, I would refer them to sign up for SNAP benefits, visit local food pantries and churches.

    1. jhensley says:

      The use of food pantries and churches is a great option for those in need of food. In my local area, our community utilizes donation boxes throughout the city where non-perishable food can be donated for those in need to take whenever needed. These are placed around churches, businesses, and the local police station where they can be monitored. In addition, our churches serve warm meals on Friday’s to those in the community. During the holiday season, donation boxes are also placed at the entrance of our local Walmart and other grocery stores where donations can be bought and made while shopping.

    2. Marisol Rodriguez says:

      I really like that you mentioned resource guide! People rarely use them anymore. I always provide my clients with the resource guide and I also maintain an updated copy at my fingertips. This is a very helpful tool to have to make referrals to the right agencies. I also think that building relationships with local shelters is critical. Once you are known the chances of working collaboratively is greater and it benefits the clients! Great post!

  61. justin.siemens says:

    To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    I refer my friends, colleagues, and other acquaintances to the local job center and community action programs if they are seeking assistance with employment, housing, food, energy, or healthcare. I provide them with a list of agencies that can be contacted via email, phone, or in person.
    What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    The use of particular interview techniques in the intake interview itself can provide a lot of information about barriers to overcome that customers are facing. According to research, two methods always show very good results are motivational interviewing questions and scaling questions (Rollnick et al., 2008). Motivational interviewing uses open-ended questions that draw the client into an assessment of their problems and readiness to change. As another example, get clients to describe the kinds of obstacles they encounter when aiming high (Westra 2012). Analogously, scaling questions that ask clients to grade factors such as stress levels and perceived support on a numerical scale reveal bottlenecks very quickly. For example, a study by Mullins et al. (2010) generated this sort of question: On the 1-10 scale described, “how supported do you feel in relation to family and friends?” Most were able relatively easily to pinpoint where they felt their lack themselves alone without support from an outside environment.

    The important thing, of course, in using questions like these is cultivating an atmosphere of trust and compassion during the intake interview. Then clients can openly talk about what problems they are really having (Miller 2014). techniques such as motivational interviewing and scaling empower the interviewer to gather all of this information on obstacles without abandoning that open, nonjudgmental space. Barriers are more sensitively uncovered; the interviewer is better equipped to help overcome obstacles. In summary, research has been very clear about the advantage these two techniques can offer in uncovering roadblocks that prevent client progress or well-being. Additional research, however, is needed to determine whether these questioning techniques could be made even more effective via specific modifications.

    1. mkwioacmanager3 says:

      Compassion will make a huge difference. If the client sees that you are zoned out or not interested in their needs, why would they feel comfortable enough to tell you their barriers. Motivational interviewing may be the turning point the client needs to take the steps in overcoming their barriers.

  62. jhensley says:

    Clients who are in need of assistance with housing and meals have a variety of options in our local area. To start, if they are currently homeless and in need of immediate assistance, we can refer clients to the local homeless shelter that is open 24/7. In addition, we have a separate shelter for Veteran’s that will also house a certain amount of non-veterans for a brief period of time. For those who are struggling with rent or finding suitable housing, our agency has a program dedicated to assisting these clients. We also have a housing authority for the city and county that can assistance with the entire rent or subsidize rent for those who qualify.

    During the intake process, using assessments and discussing the clients immediate needs seems to be the most beneficial method for discovering confounding barriers. When discussing needs, making a plan of action allows the client to determine the steps needed and any additional barriers they might face along with way. For me, the action plan has been the best method for discovering additional barriers and determining what additional assistance is needed.

  63. mkwioadirector says:

    We would refer clients for assistance for meals for SNAP benefits as well as any local churches, Kentucky Mountain Health Alliance, and local food pantry’s. We also have some programs that help with heating/cooling assistance as well as rent assistance.
    Our best practice during intake interview is talking with the client and listening to what they are saying. A lot of our clients will let us know their barriers upfront because they are looking for assistance.

  64. csexton says:

    We have many clients in our area who need housing and meal assistance. If these needs are identified during career advising or general conversations, there are multiple entities that we can refer the client to for assistance. The first option would be to identify if the client is currently receiving assistance through the local Department for Community Based Services office. If the client is not currently receiving “food stamp” assistance, we can refer them to the local office to sign up for benefits. If these benefits are approved, there may be additional benefits beyond the identified needs that the client may be eligible for. The client would also be encouraged to visit the local housing authority office to sign up for rental assistance, whether through a housing authority-managed option or through private rentals that are eligible for rental assistance. Beyond those options, there are food pantries and community-based organizations that can assist with meals. Housing assistance that is not government-operated is a much harder resource to identify, but some community organizations will help with one month of rental assistance if they have funding available.

    I don’t provide client-facing services, so I don’t have techniques that I’ve mastered to assist in discovering barriers. I feel that having an intake interview that asks those barrier questions for every client becomes second nature as a part of the initial conversation. Touching base with the client about any new barriers that may have happened should happen regularly, as life can sometimes have barriers that pop up that were not there during the initial intake interview.

  65. mkwioacmanager3 says:

    I would refer this client to our local food pantry and Kentucky River Community Care. They have emergency housing, homeless shelter and food giveaways. They are a close contact with our agency, as we can refer clients to them for methods in which we cannot assist. I would also contact our local CSBG office directly and gather additional information on local food and housing assistance.

    Open-ended questions along with genuine conversation will help a client become more open. The more you meet with this client and build their trust, the more they will divulge to you and hope for a meaningful response. Sometimes all a client needs is to vent or seek our an open ear to let our their emotions. On the initial visit, the conversation should be lighthearted and less serious so the client can let their guard down and express their barriers in depth.

    1. courtney.akey says:

      Hi, I love how you mentioned that you ask open ended questions. I agree that conversating and asking them about themselves is a great way to get a client to open up and it also gives them the opportunity to share as much or as little as they like. Open ended questions does not put a person on the spot which is why I love this technique as well. I also love that you mention trust, this is huge when dealing with under severed populations. These genuine conversations will lead to the client trusting us and this level of trust will help us identify their barriers and ultimately help us understand their needs and we can have a better understanding of how to help them overcome these barriers.

    2. adhill says:

      I agree with using open ended questions – the more the client actually talks with you instead of just answering yes / no or giving one word answers the better you can build rapport with them and if you listen carefully you can often learn what their needs are before they tell you. Once they do feel comfortable enough with you to disclose information as personal as what hardships or barriers they’re having then you can bettter help them.

  66. dcampbell2 says:

    1. In the community, a pivotal resource for individuals and families facing immediate needs is Catholic Charities. This distinguished organization is renowned for its commitment to providing comprehensive support services and helping those navigating challenging circumstances. Specifically, Catholic Charities offers vital assistance in the form of emergency housing support and meal programs, addressing critical aspects of individuals’ and families’ well-being.
    Catholic Charities stands out for its dedication to fostering a supportive environment that goes beyond mere provision. Their emergency housing assistance ensures that those in urgent need have a safe and secure place to stay, alleviating the immediate stress of housing instability. Simultaneously, their meal programs address basic nutritional needs, recognizing the interconnectedness of stable housing and access to nourishing food for overall well-being.
    By referring the client to Catholic Charities, I am confident they will be met with compassionate care and holistic support. The organization’s longstanding commitment to serving the community aligns seamlessly with our goal of connecting individuals with resources beyond immediate challenges, offering a pathway toward stability and resilience.

    2. In an informal intake interview, employing a mix of attending, active listening, and reflecting techniques can be particularly effective in uncovering customer barriers. Begin by attending to verbal and non-verbal cues, such as body language and tone, to gauge the customer’s comfort level and emotions. Actively listen to their narrative, encouraging them to openly share their experiences and concerns. Utilize open-ended questions to delve deeper into specific areas, fostering a more comprehensive understanding. Additionally, reflecting on the information provided by paraphrasing or summarizing key points demonstrates your engagement and allows the customer to clarify or elaborate on their thoughts. This combination of informal techniques creates a conversational space where customers may feel more at ease sharing valuable insights about the barriers they encounter.

    3. Two key techniques I find effective are active listening and questioning. Active listening involves fully concentrating, understanding, responding, and remembering what the other person is saying. It’s about hearing words and grasping the underlying message and emotions. This helps me provide more relevant and thoughtful responses. Questioning, on the other hand, involves asking well-crafted questions to elicit specific information. Open-ended questions encourage users to share more details, providing a deeper understanding of their needs. By combining active listening and questioning, I attempt to enhance the quality of our communication and meet the user’s expectations more effectively.

  67. Kimberly Carr says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance? Our agency has a person that oversees emergency housing and regular housing or find a shelter or hotel until she could find a place. I would refer the client to our local food bank for food. We have career advisors on site that could help the client find a job.
    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview discover barriers that a customer might be facing? During the intake interview we asked the client a series of questions and a lot of the times they will disclose if they need assistance with food, shelter. Etc.
    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you. I like the one on one approach. I think the client will feel more comfortable with you and tell you more about themselves. Also I do an assessment test that tells what interests they might have to help see which career might be the best for the client.

  68. Britney.harris says:

    We are a Community Action facility and have several resources within our building that would help a client in this position. When appropriate and beneficial I will refer the client for our ESG, TBRA, or CSBG. All of these programs can assist the client with either short term rental assistance, rental and utilities deposits, or long term housing assistance. For a client needing food, I first would refer them to our DCBS office to apply for SNAP benefits. Since this is more of a long term solution I always refer the client to one of our local food banks to make sure that their immediate need is met and that they receive food that day.
    When meeting with a new client I like to set down with them and have a conversation before we start filling out paperwork or anything else. I find that it helps them to feel more at ease and they open up to you more. I also depend on the pre-app stressors/challenges to employment section often. The majority of the time between either the initial conversation or that pre-app section the client will make their struggles known.

  69. courtney.akey says:

    1. When interacting with individuals who are in need of housing and food, I refer them to apply for the housing program through WTW. The county will place them in housing and pay their rent for 6 months if they cooperate with the program requirements. The CM’s for this program are also Employment Service Specialist and help them create an employment plan while identifying their barriers to overcome them with hopes that they can pay the rent themselves after their aid is up in 6 months. I also refer individuals to apply for CF for food assistance and I also have them text the word “tomato” to 888777 which texts them and notifies them the time and location for next upcoming food distributions from the Yolo County Food Bank. The word tomato is specific to Woodland, there different words for the different cities in Yolo County but I mostly serve residents in Woodland.
    2. We have a page inside our intake packets that asks them a variety of questions pertaining to different barriers to employment that helps me identify their specific barriers.
    3. I find that talking and asking a series of questions pertaining to their personal at home lives and employment, helps me identify their barriers as well. I like to ask questions about themselves and not just what is on the paper. I want my clients to feel a genuineness when I work with them. I use a variety of different techniques when talking to them in a way that does not come off as invasive and I feel the conversation as some people are more open in sharing their burdens and barriers than others because everyone is different.

  70. adhill says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    The Community Action Agency I work for has a homeless shelter and homeless case managers – so if the person was in immediate need of housing I would do a “warm” referral by contacting the shelter or homeless case manager while the client is in my office to help ensure that the contact is made, as in my experience just giving a number or email doesn’t always result in the client following through with contacting the shelter. If they aren’t in immediate need I would provide them with information for our local HUD program / office , and a list of local landlords or rental properties with openings. As for having a need for food – I would again refer to the Community Action Agency I’m employed by if we have a current food program going on, if not I have a resource guide that includes local churches, agencies, and food banks that distribute food – for a longer term option I would also refer to our local DCBS to enroll for SNAP benefits.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    The intake form we use for WIOA services has a section where the client can check off any barriers / issues they have which includes housing or food. This is helpful, but in my experience people don’t always mark any selection in that section – especially if it’s their first meeting with a career advisor. One of the best techniques I’ve found is to listen carefully to the client as they talk – because sometimes they’ll mention something that gives you an opening to ask more questions (open ended) to gather more information. People also open up more once they feel more comfortable with you – so talking with the client (not at them) , creating a relaxed atmosphere, and learning how to follow up to their answers with other questions that facilitate more discussion have been most beneficial for learning what their needs and concerns are.

    1. ramona.cortestoro says:

      Hi!! I think the warm referrals are very effective, we are helping individuals that might be in a crisis and as you stated, an email referral or handing off the phone number might not do the job. The warm referral assures the individual(s) get the help needed.
      I agree with your active listening statement, many individuals or families might not disclose all barriers, active listening can really drop the hints as to what might be going on, allowing us to navigate the conversation and introduce services as they open up and get more comfortable .

  71. Marisol Rodriguez says:

    Working with clients it is important to provide them with a safe space to talk, ensuring confidentiality. I find it best to have a casual conversation to begin building relationships. At my current program we use the Financial Stability: Economic Resiliency Measuring tool: this tool is used to track client progress towards economic resiliency. This tool is great for assessing barriers to employment. For clients with Housing needs I would make sure that they have a safe place to live currently, if homeless I will recommend a shelter. We work closely with homeless shelters, community action agencies and Hud. HUD helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants, Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8). Additionally, they work with The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has programs to assist home buyers and homeowners. For home buyers, they offer mortgages and down payment assistance to help your family achieve the American dream of home ownership. For home owners, they provide loans and grants for home repairs and energy efficiency improvements, as well as resources for those at risk for foreclosure. During the barrier assessment we also discuss savings and financial matters to ensure that I am making the proper referrals based on the needs.

    1. mblair says:

      I agree. Casual conversation seems to lead most clients into opening up on their own, some faster than others. I act as though I’m talking to a friend or my neighbor, but I make sure they understand that I am only there to help. I try to watch what I say sometimes to make sure I don’t come across as authoritative or judgmental. I think the casual approach has paid off. I have some clients that call the office and start chatting like we’ve been friends for years.

  72. marie.wells says:

    I’ll suggest applying to the Count DCBS or KYNECT to get food stamps and health insurance, also for a quick meal to go to the local food pantries/local churches where they provide food and for shelter refer to the local chruches– all depending on the circumstances and values of the person. On housing I’ll suggest applying to Homless shelter in the next county over for temporary housing and supporting services. If this has to do with Domestic Violence, then a referral could be done to assist the client thru the DOVES shelter. For clothing we use a vocher for a local church and the Goodwill. We refer to Gateway Community Action Agency to help with utility assisstance, childcare assistance and housing assistance.

  73. marie.wells says:

    2. What works well for me is showing the client they have a safe place to talk about whatever they needed it helped to build trust and show that someone was listening, so clients trust me with their concerns and knew I’ll assisted them. Encourge the clients, I tell them I will be your biggest cheerleader and tell them that they can do it, once they see they can do it they open up even more.

    1. Valrey.easterling says:

      I agee Maire, If a client feels safe and they are more likely to open up to you. This will allow you to find out what your clients needs are as well as what they are truly interested in. This will allow you to build a strong and trusting relationship with your client.

    2. mturner2 says:

      Marie, I think your interviewing style works well and clients need to feel comfortable and that their concerns are viewed as valid and their information will be kept confidential. Encouragement helps so much. More cheerleaders like you are needed.

  74. Valrey.easterling says:

    CCSP Homework
    Chapter 14
    Valrey Easterling
    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    When I have a client in need of housing assistance or food assistance. For housing assistance, I first refer inside our agency where we have the TBRA Program (Tenant Based Rental Assistance), if TBRA is not able to assist them we help with applying for assistance with the low income/ emergency housing complexes in our county or surrounding counties. If they are in immediate need our agency has used their general funds to pay their first month’s rent and to assist with utility hookups. If they are in need of food assistance. We link them with our Kynect worker who can help them apply for SNAP benefits. Then we contact our local food bank and churches on their behalf to get them immediate food assistance. We continue to work with the client to help them find employment as quickly as possible, after their basic needs are met.
    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?
    I have found that setting down in a quiet room with no distractions is one of the best ways to communicate with your client. This allows you to be focused on your client without distractions. You can use questions that require more than a yes or no answer as well as using your listening skills. You can take notice of their body language as well. By being focused on the client you can listen and empathize with your client. The client will be more likely to open up to your when they see you are paying attention to them and really want to assist them with whatever needs they have that prevent them from finding employment.
    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    Again focusing on my client. Being an active listener. I like face to face intakes because they allow you and your client to get a better understanding of each other. I like asking open ended questions that allow you to get to know your client’s needs. I also like reflecting because it helps with clarification of what your client is saying.

  75. legenevieve says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    If a youth was seeking housing and meals, these are the organizations that I’ll refer them to for assistance:
    —Detroit Phoenix Center (housing and meals)
    —COTS (housing)
    —Covenant House (housing)
    —Cass Community Social Services (housing and meals)
    —Ruth Ellis Center (housing and meals)
    —Neighborhood Service Organization (housing and meals)
    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?
    The techniques that I have found to be especially helpful during an intake to discover barriers has been attending, listening, questioning and reflecting skills. These skills help to get in-depth information about their barriers, needs, challenges & services so that I can match them with an organization that can help them with access & resources. It would be done best during an in-person session so that they have privacy to discuss.
    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you
    The best technique that works for me as it relates to the client would be using helping skills such as reflecting & open ended questions. It’ll be easy to want to jump in and make assumptions to try to fix the situation right away; however, with reflecting you have to take the time to focus on what the client is really communicating so you can take notes. In addition, encouraging would be another great skill to use during this time for the client, with some next steps of setting some goals and implementing an action plan to move forward.

  76. rball says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    The Community Action Agency I work for has a homeless shelter for Adult Males and Females, as well as families, where they also have access to a homeless case manager- if the person was in immediate need of housing I contact the shelter or homeless case manager while the client is in my office to help ensure that the contact is made. If they aren’t in immediate need I would provide them with information for our local HUD program / office , and a list of local landlords or rental properties with openings. As for needing food, I have a resource guide that includes local churches, agencies, and food banks that distribute food – for a longer-term option I would also refer to our local DCBS to enroll for SNAP benefits.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    The intake form we use has a section where the client can check off any barriers/issues they have which include housing or food. This is helpful, but in my experience, people don’t always mark any selection in that section – especially if it’s their first meeting with a career advisor. One of the best techniques I’ve found is to listen carefully to the client as they talk – because sometimes they’ll mention something that gives you an opening to ask more open ended questions to gather more information. People also open up more once they feel more comfortable with you – so talking with the client, creating a relaxed atmosphere, and learning how to follow up to their answers with other questions that allow you to learn more about not only them, but their situation as well.

    1. tony.chan says:

      I agree the intake forms (questionnaires) are essential to collecting data and quantifying the needs of the client, but by nature it lacks “soul” and the Client is less likely to give full disclosure and transparency.

      I see we both also agree in the asking Open Ended questions to the clients as a preferred technique. Clients when they participate in the intake process need to feel secure and nurtured. Questionnaires are too cold and leaves the clients feeling vulnerable and even ashamed of their circumstances. I believe the process can be successful if as a provider you give intake interview to the client first and build the rapport with nurturing and nonjudgmental approach, then give the questionnaire. I believe this order will facilitate more transparent and honest answers.

  77. tony.chan says:

    The City of St Petersburg does not offer these services however I would access my Asset Map and refer them to these sites for housing:

    St Petersburg Housing Authority –

    Hope Villages of America –

    St Vincent de Paul –

    2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares –

    Homeless Leadership Alliance –

    And these sites for Food:

    St Pete Free Clinic –

    Mercy Keepers –

    Pinellas County Lunch Program –

    Meals on Wheels of Tampa –

    Feeding Tampa Bay –

    The 2 techniques I use that work well for me in an intake interview to discover barriers a client may face are:

    Open-ended questions in an intake interview play a crucial role in uncovering client barriers by allowing clients to express themselves freely and share detailed information. Here’s how open-ended questions can be beneficial in this context:

    Encourages Expression: Clients can provide detailed and personalized responses, expressing thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to potential barriers.

    Promotes Client-Centered Conversations: The focus on the client’s perspective fosters a client-centered approach, allowing them to articulate concerns and barriers based on individual experiences.

    Builds Trust and Rapport: By allowing clients to openly share stories and concerns, open-ended questions contribute to building trust and rapport, crucial for disclosing sensitive information.

    Identifies Root Causes: Open-ended questions delve into underlying reasons behind barriers, revealing not just surface-level challenges but also root causes for a nuanced understanding.

    Provides a Platform for Empowerment: Clients are empowered to actively participate in conversations and decision-making, enhancing their sense of agency and ownership over solutions to overcome barriers.

    Once you’ve asked the open-ended questions and after rapport is established, then you give the client a questionnaire (2nd technique) that dives deeper into the potential barriers and solutions which takes the quantitative direction . Doing the Intake solution first is essential to help the client feel more “humanized” and not just “another number.”

    1. ramona.cortestoro says:

      1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
      -I would refer them to our local HHSA, which offers resources and support. Individuals in need can apply for SNAP and be referred to local food banks around the area. For housing assistance, I would connect the individual with organizations like the Yolo County Housing Authority, which offers various housing subsidy programs and resources.

      2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?/ 3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
      – I have found various techniques helpful when trying uncover barriers the customer might be facing. I try to create a welcoming and non-judgmental environment; building trust and rapport is an essential start. Active listening is important, allowing customers to express their concerns and challenges openly. Open-ended questions help delve deeper into their situation and understand their unique circumstances.
      -I would rely on using a strengths-based approach, allowing me to focus on the customer’s transferable skills, experiences, and abilities. This approach helps empower the individual and remind them of their potential while identifying areas where additional support is needed to achieve their employment goals. Learning and understanding this information allows us to create a customized action plan that works for individuals and around their goals and barriers.
      -Lastly, motivational interviewing techniques, such as asking open-ended questions and using reflective listening, to encourage clients to identify and discuss their own barriers. These techniques help clients discover potential obstacles, such as transportation issues, childcare responsibilities, or the need for additional training, enabling us to develop a customized action plan that addresses their specific needs that the client uncovered on their own throughout the conversation.

      1. Lakita Green says:

        Ramona much like you I use various resources. I do think it is important to create a space that is non-judgmental and empathetic. I am currently in a coaching class and open ended questions seem to be the thing most used so I am really learning to implement this when interacting with others. It is certainly something that has to be practiced. Finally I like that you mentioned motivational interviewing, this is another technique that seems to be used often.

  78. Lakita Green says:

    To assist someone with housing needs and food I would use the following techniques.
    It is important to approach the situation with empathy, sensitivity, and a client-centered approach. Here are some techniques that can be helpful:

    1. Assess and understand their needs: Begin by having a conversation with the person to understand their specific housing and food needs. This could include preferences, budget limitations, dietary requirements, and any barriers they may be facing.

    2. Provide information and resources: Research and compile a list of available housing options, including affordable housing programs, shelters, or rental assistance programs in the area. Similarly, gather information about local food banks, community meals, or government assistance programs that can provide food support.

    3. Offer guidance and support: Guide the person through the process of accessing housing and food resources. Help them with applications, paperwork, and navigating any necessary systems to secure housing or food assistance. Provide assistance in contacting relevant agencies or organizations to ensure they are receiving appropriate support.

    4. Establish connections and referrals: Utilize your network to connect the person with relevant agencies, community organizations, or support services that specialize in housing and food assistance. Referrals can provide additional resources, advice, and guidance to help them find suitable housing and access nutritious food.

    5. Assist with advocacy: If needed, advocate on behalf of

    1. jcooper says:


      This is a great way to assist a client – most individuals are in a very vulnerable state and need someone who shows empathy and understanding. The process also shows structure and efficiency when supporting the client and their needs.

  79. mblair says:

    For housing I would definitely refer the client to CSBG. For more immediate housing situations I would refer them to one of the many homeless shelters in the area. I would first assess the situation to see which shelter would be the best option as there are a couple shelters that are domestic abuse shelters for women. If the client was homeless because of leaving an abusive relationship, I would make the referral to one of these. When it comes to meals, I would first direct the client to the local DCBS office but, again, if the situation was more dire, I would refer them to a few local churches and soup kitchens that provide meals every day. The best way that I have found to discover barriers people have is to just be genuine and understanding in conversation. Being empathetic to their situation helps a lot and a smile goes a long way too for a lot of people.
    Just being genuine and supportive seems to work best for me. The last thing I was to do is to seem dry and judgmental or to put off a vibe that I am any better than anyone sitting in front of me. I am there to help and that’s what I want to come across. The helping skills in Chapter 1 helped me to consider the interactions from the other side of the desk though.

  80. jblevins says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for assistance with housing and food?
    If a client comes into our office looking for a job and we find out they are homeless and need food, we immediately contact our Homeless case manager with the ESG program. If funding is available she can pay a deposit and up to three months rent. If no funding is available, we then refer or contact the local Housing Authority and HUD. Sometimes local churches are able to assist homeless clients with temporary housing like being put up in a motel for a few days. Clients are also referred to Christ Hands for housing if during the months of operation. If none of these referrals can provide assistance and immediate housing is necessary, we refer to the homeless shelters in Bell and Knox Counties. Our homeless case manager transports the clients to the shelters for immediate housing.
    When clients ask for food, we will refer the client to CSBG for food vouchers or food available in the agency. We also make referrals to Christ Hands who have a food pantry and serve one hot meal a day five days a week. Referrals are also made to other food pantries throughout our county.

    I feel the best techniques I have found to discover barriers in an intake interview are asking open ended questions and building a trust relationship with the client. Listening intently shows the client that you are interested in what they are saying. I feel this is a way to gain their trust. They see you are interested in what they are telling you. We also have an assessment called the BESI that I have found to be helpful in allowing the client to really look at their barriers and also see suggestions and goals with timelines to remove those barriers and eventually lead to employment.

  81. fwattenberger says:

    1. When a customer comes into the office the first thing I do is Intake to find out what they need and explain WIOA services to them. For a customer who is in need of assistance with housing and meals I would make several referrals, and even assist the customer by contacting partners who can provide the service they need: Community based services, 2. Housing authority, 3. Homeless services, 4. Local churches, 5. Homeless shelter.
    2. The best techniques that I have found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing is showing compassion and sincere interest toward them. Once they know that you are listening, and not being judgmental, they begin to open up and share their barriers.
    3. Informal interview is used because it allows for communication, listening, gaining trust, and understanding their barriers.

  82. mturner2 says:

    1 Upon speaking with the customers to determine the reason for their visit to our office, I have them complete a pre-application for services. Then one-on-one with each of them I ask questions regarding responses to questions and assess any clues to barriers and if I cannot tell from the pre-application I ask the direct questions regarding barriers. Public assistance is one of the questions on the pre-application and if SNAP is not marked then I tell them that they may possibly qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and ask if they would like information on how to apply. When in need of food, I refer to Christ’s Hands Homeless Shelter which provides meals every day, this would meet an immediate need. I then refer to the community based services office for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and medical assistance. Upon assessing the area in Harlan County where they reside, I refer to Missions and Food Banks closest to their residence.
    If assistance with housing is needed, I refer to the Housing Authority, HUD office and if they are homeless then the Southeast Kentucky Housing and Homeless Alliance (SKHHA) with the Harlan County Community Action Agency.

    2 The techniques that I have found useful to determine barriers is by assessing the pre-application which address several of the barriers and then asking direct questions related to education, basic needs, income and transportation which may lead the client in the direction of barriers. When placed in an environment where the client has privacy and feels comfortable to speak and that the information is confidential, they feel more free to disclose barriers. In many cases when the client becomes comfortable and trusting of my methods, asking about one barrier or another will lead to the client’s addressing one barrier and then another until all have been revealed. Occasionally, the client will leave out valuable information by not considering a barrier or preferring to keep it undisclosed. If I suspect that, I will say if you think you have a need in any of these (state the barriers) then please let me know, there may possibly be additional funding related to barriers. That will sometimes prompt a response.

  83. jcooper says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?

    There are a number of social service agencies in Evanston that will assist residents with housing and meal needs. Internal city divisions such as Human Services, will help with housing needs. Individuals that fall within a certain income threshold are eligible for housing assistance under General Assistance. General Assistance provides subsidized housing support and also supports financial instability through a monthly stipend residents can use for their needs. Community Development is another internal city department that assists residents with affordable housing.
    There are various community organizations that provide housing and meal assistance such as Connections for the Homeless, the McGaw YMCA, The Salvation Army, Interfaith Action of Evanston, Vineyard Food Pantry, Faith and Food Bank.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? 3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.

    My division has designed an intake assessment that details the individual’s economic status, basic needs and also workforce desires. From this, we are able to deduce the prospect’s needs and connect them with the proper resource provider.
    Additionally, we have a career development coordinator who conducts these assessments, to provide a more personalized experience. Some residents express their vulnerability and immediate need for help and the career development coordinator is able to promptly direct them to where they need to go. Evanston WorkforceCONNECT is a social platform that job seekers can use to connect with employer partners that have vacant positions. We first complete the assessment to vet the prospect before assisting them in creating a profile to connect with employers. If they need other professional development services, we then direct them to our resource partners.

  84. justin.siemens says:

    The Economic Support Staff compiled a list of area resources to include the surrounding areas. This list provides resources to include local food pantries and food resources and housing/ utility assistance. In addition, it lists resources for clothing and household, health services, transportation providers, counseling services and much more. I refer to this list to correctly identify the needed support that would be most available to them. After providing immediate resources, I provide the client is connected to our Consortium where they can apply for Food Share, Healthcare or other programs of assistance.

    To identify the needs of the client we have assessments in place to initially address possible needs. Once the assessment is complete, having an open conversation is best to learn more. Having this conversation also lets the client know that even if they do not have any immediate needs, the dialog is already open in case their situation changes.

  85. sjones1 says:

    I meet with several clients in our area who are in need of housing and meal assistance. During our first initial career advising appointment we will discuss clients’ barriers. First off, I like to refer my clients to DCBS (Department for Community Based Services) for SNAP and other state services. I will also refer them to our local Housing Authority. These will help with long term housing and meals. For short term assistance I refer clients to Pinnacle of Purpose which offers two-night stays, access to a food pantry, and warm showers. I also refer them to Lighthouse Misson Food Pantry and local churches.

    I often start by building rapport with the client to create a comfortable environment. This helps them open up about any barriers they might be facing. I then use open ended questions to encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings freely. After establishing trust, I like to use active listening to understand the clients concerns and barriers better. This approach helps me provide tailored career advising and support to help address their specific needs and barriers.

  86. tcampbell says:

    1. For assistance with housing, we have a local landlord list provided to us by our CSBG department that I refer to. I also refer clients to the nearest HUD housing agency. For an emergency/immediate housing situation, we unfortunately do not currently have a homeless shelter in our county, however, I have referred clients to homeless shelters in nearby counties (Knox) until other arrangements could be made. There is a local business in our Middlesboro community, Pinnacle of Purpose that will provide shelter, clothing, food and a shower for two nights, also. For food assistance, I always refer clients to apply for SNAP benefits online and to our local food pantries such as Cooperative Christian Ministries in Middlesboro or Lighthouse Mission in Pineville. There are also a few local churches in our area that give out food baskets weekly that I give my clients information for.
    2. I have found that the questionnaire that we use during intake is useful in identifying barriers initially since it asks many of the essential questions about things we have to know, such as housing situation, employment, public assistance…etc Most clients will take their time and answer the questions carefully, however I do feel that other times, clients seem to rush through it. It is important to look over all forms carefully while the client is still present, with you so you can go over any questions you have about what they have written down.
    3. Even with the most thorough forms and questionnaires, I still feel you cannot replace a one on one on conversation with someone. I’ve found this to be the most useful way to obtain the vital information needed You gain a clients trust when they see you listening what they have to say and hear you relating to them. It breaks down barriers and intimidations that a piece of paper cannot. The situations that many of our clients are coming to us from have them feeling very vulnerable and you cannot attach empathy and kindness to a form. Relating to them and reaching out to them can make all the difference in the world. Once you’ve had a one-on-one conversation you will know more about what their specific needs are and how time sensitive those needs may be.

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