Navigating the complex human services delivery system can be difficult for clients- particularly those with many barriers. The homeless population often has a variety of challenges including metal health diagnoses, physical disabilities, substance abuse, domestic violence and poverty. Linking these individuals and families to the necessary services is paramount to their achievement of self-sufficiency. Case management is the cornerstone of homeless service delivery at the Salvation Army and has proven to be the model for success. Both the Social Service Center and Austin Shelter for Women and Children provide on-site case management for both individuals and families in shelter, as well as those living in transitional and permanent housing. Case manager help address basic need related to income, medical coverage, housing and benefits while setting up permanent support to address mental health, substance abuse and child care needs.
Without the guidance of case management, homeless individuals and families have a difficult journey to self-sufficiency and have higher levels of returning to shelter and relying on government systems for the long-term. While the value of case management can be immeasurable for the families whose lives they change, their success has been consistently shown in current programs within the Salvation Army. Just one case manager with a three to four month caseload of twenty-five, can serve almost one hundred households in a year. With a typical success rates above 75% for obtaining safe and stable housing, increasing income, and improving personal stability their value is unmistakable.