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.

84 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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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