News & Events

Beating Homelessness and Building Communities

 

Looking for a fun night out AND a great way to support young people living with mental illness? Please join us on Saturday, April 20th for our 6th annual Bash4Guild!

We’ll have something for everyone: appetizers, a signature cocktail, architect-designed games, including ring toss for bottles of wine, live music and dancing, a silent auction, and more! Best of all — funds from Bash4Guild will support Equilibrium (EQ), Guild’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Services for Youth.

Customized for ages 16-20, EQ helps youth with mental illnesses transition successfully into adulthood.

Bash4Guild was created by Guild Incorporated Board of Directors’ member Nik Larsen, and friend and fellow supporter, Matt Bollero. Bash4Guild increases awareness, smashes stigma, and raises funds for EQ.

When: Saturday, April 20th

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Where: International Market Square – 275 Market Street Minneapolis, MN 55405

Tickets: Get Yours Today 

Beating Homelessness and Building Communities

“My team of angels.” That’s how one person served by our Housing Access Resource Team (HART) describes staff that helped him finally get housing and leave behind a camper he called home.

Angela Kroyer-Hennen leads the team. She remembers another client who was homeless, but said that working with the team gave her more hope than when she had a place to live, but no support. It might seem like an unusual sentiment, but for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, a support system is critical.

Two Housing Support teams at Guild provide support to people experiencing serious mental illness and homelessness. Project for Assistance Transitioning from Homelessness (PATH) Outreach connects people with services like mental and physical health and to Coordinated Entry, the community-based system that helps people access housing services. The one-person team also serves as a community resource, collaborating with libraries, police departments, and others who encounter people seeking shelter.

Originally started as a pilot project, the Housing Access Resource Team (HART) helps people find and maintain housing. Members of the team work to develop relationships with landlords and connect clients to them.

“We tell people that we can’t guarantee housing, but we’ll try our best,” Angela says of the HART team. “They have to meet us halfway. They have to want it more than we do.” The team helps their clients do everything it takes to secure a place of their own, including helping with applications, associated fees, furniture and other household items. Once an individual has a place to live, the team continues to work with them to maintain their home through support and skill-building. Those who don’t need help for more than three months are discharged from services with a promise that – if they hit a rough patch — they can come back. Most don’t need to.

The approach is working. Eighty-two percent of individuals served by HART received or maintained stable housing in 2017. 

Angela attributes the success, in large part, to the team’s work with landlords. “We’re available to landlords,” she says. “We’ll come in and help them see if a person is eligible for services; we’ll help navigate situations with tenants; and we’ll help if there’s a crisis.”

The landlord of a large complex in West St. Paul recently commented that Guild was a necessity for the city and rental community, calling PATH Outreach Services “crucial in assisting our homeless population in Dakota County.”

Despite ongoing challenges of stigma and a significant lack of affordable housing – most rents are $100 dollars more than people have to spend – Angela sees progress in the community’s overall response to homelessness.

“We see how housing along with services is helping individuals, she explains. “We see growth in the communities we’re working in. We see how the police are working with landlords and we’re being brought into those conversations. More people are willing to say, ‘yes, this is happening in my city.’ There’s more openness to talking about mental illness and homelessness.”

 

You Can Help:

Know a landlord or property manager in Dakota or Ramsey County who might be interested in working with our housing support teams and the people they serve?

Contact: Angela Kroyer Hennen, Team Leader, HART

 

More About Guild’s Housing Access Resource Team (HART) and Project for Assistance Transitioning from Homelessness (PATH) Outreach : 

Provides:

  • HART helps people experiencing long-term homelessness, at imminent risk of homelessness, and those exiting institutions find and maintain housing.
  • PATH Outreach offers outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • Dakota County Housing and Stability Services provides housing search and stability services.

Counties served:

  • HART: Dakota and Ramsey Counties
  • PATH: Dakota County
  • Dakota HSS: Dakota County

Accepts referrals from: 

  • HART: Anyone can refer individuals for service, including self-referrals, case managers, Intensive Residential Treatment, and Crisis Services.
  • PATH Outreach: Anyone can refer individuals for service, including self-referrals, police departments, shelters, landlords, and concerned citizens.   
  • Dakota HSS: Suburban Metro Area Continuum of Care (SMAC) Coordinated Entry System, and Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) for individuals with Family Reunification Program (FUP) Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) or other subsidies

Payment for services:

  • HART:  Minnesota Housing Supports for Adults with Mental Illness (HASASMI) grant
  • PATH: SAMHSA’s Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) funds
  • Dakota HSS: Hearth Connection grant

 

 

March 22, 2019

Combating Homelessness with Housing First

Tim* was living in the woods. Fearful of having his footprints tracked, he designed a system – moving from tree to tree – so his feet didn’t touch the ground.

“He was unable to engage with any kind of psychiatric or medical services because of mental health symptoms,” says Katherine, Program Manager for Delancey Street Case Management Services.

Without stable housing — the team knew — it would be difficult, if not impossible, for Tim to get help for his symptoms. “Housing comes before addressing other issues that people might be facing in their lives,” says Katherine.

It’s why Delancey Street takes a Housing First approach; which studies find highly effective. “If someone is homeless, they are much more worried about staying warm and safe and having food and clothing than about attending mental health or medical appointments,” Katherine explains. “Once you get someone inside, their ability to make a plan and follow through drastically improves.”

Connecting people who have experienced long-term homelessness with housing that’s a good fit for them is one of the primary goals of the team. They also work to provide hope, to help people find resources to meet their basic needs, and to get additional services that they need. “We might help with planning appointments, utilizing a food shelf, getting a cell phone,” says Katherine. “We might help them work on getting chemical dependency treatment or help with complex medical conditions like untreated cardiac disease or diabetes.”

Goals are set by each person the team works with, and it’s common for them to center around mental and physical health. Often – because of past experiences and sometimes active symptoms – individuals don’t trust easily, so the team does a lot of relationship-building. “The work can look a lot like conversations at first,” notes Katherine. “We’re learning about each other, so trust can grow.”

For Tim, trust came slowly. Because of the severity of his symptoms, he required both a psychiatric hospitalization and time in a residential treatment facility. Once he started taking medications, though, the team started to notice a difference. Tim did, too. “I feel like I was in haze, and the haze is lifting,” Katherine remembers him saying.

The path hasn’t been easy. Tim struggled with hoarding and had to re-learn what’s acceptable when you live in the community. Loneliness is an ongoing challenge. Yet, he managed to keep a place of his own for 5 years and then move into another place. He got a job with help from employment services. He continues to take his medications.

“It’s mindboggling how far he’s come,” Katherine says, a big smile spreading across her face. “It’s a teeny little bit every day.”

“We’re giving people the dignity of having a home, of having food and their possessions, and a place for their family to be,” she continues. “We’re all a couple of difficult circumstances away from the situation that the folks we work with are in. There’s no one type of person. There aren’t qualities that make homelessness more likely to happen to one person over another. People who are homeless respond really well to a person being warm and supportive and helping them move toward a higher quality of life.”

*The client’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.

 

More About Guild’s Delancey Street Case Management Services: 

  • Provides: Flexible services and support to help people with histories of long-term homelessness establish and maintain housing and improve their quality of life.
  • Counties served: 7-county metro area
  • Accepts referrals from: Hearth Connection
  • Payment for services:Insurance is billed. Additional funds come from Hearth Connection.

 

 

February 22, 2019

Creating Health Equity Through Care Coordination

Care Coordinators are good at cold-calling. Most of their work is done by phone. And often they don’t know much about the person they’re calling.

Coordinators call individuals referred by their health plans. The calls begin with a brief introduction, including an explanation that Care Coordination Services are a free health and wellness promotion tool offered by the individual’s insurance plan.

Then the conversation might sound something like this: “I hear you’ve had some hospitalizations.” From there, Care Coordinators work on relationship-building to understand the person’s health status, needs, and overall goals. Common questions are: “What kinds of things could you use help with?” and “How can we help?”

Care Coordinators see clients once a year to complete a full assessment of their health and needs, but mostly they get to know people by phone. “We act as a centralized telephonic delegate on behalf of the insurance company to answer questions, connect people to resources, remind them of appointments, schedule rides, and assure all of their health providers are on the same page,” explains Mel, one of the Coordinators.

To qualify, individuals must have a physical, mental health, or cognitive disability. Services aim to connect them with preventive services that will help them reach their goals in the most efficient, cost-effective way. Individuals receive assistance to develop and use an integrated plan for care, including their physical, mental, and dental health.

Coordinators work with the individual, the health plan, the primary care physician, and others as needed in support of the individual’s goals. “We don’t push our idea of what our goals are on those we work with,” says Melissa Mikkonen, Program Manager. “We really make sure that it’s tied back to their overall goals.”

This level of coordination assures that people are knowledgeable about their health plan and that they know how to access and utilize their benefits. Another Coordinator on the team, Molli, describes the value of Care Coordination Services this way: “We put a human face on what can be a behemoth of an industry. Insurance in general is often confusing, overwhelming and time consuming. When individuals experience this, they don’t access the full benefits available to them. Meaning only their minimal health needs are met, if that. By helping people connect to services and providers consistently to meet their needs, it allows people to more easily attain optimal physical and behavioral health.”

It’s the personal connection that makes a difference. Recent outcomes from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), used by health plans to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service, reflect excellence. The Care Coordination team’s outcomes are exceedingly higher than the national average. “The reason we’re far exceeding national standards,” comments Melissa, Program Manager, “is because we really take the time to build those relationships.”

“The significance of Care Coordination is really health equity,” she says. “It’s really rewarding to get people connected with health services.”

 

More About Guild’s Care Coordination Services 

  • Provides: Primarily telephonic services with some face-to-face services, including an annual assessment, to help people develop and utilize an integrated plan for care (physical, mental health, and dental) that includes coordination with the health plan and primary care physician, so individuals can meet their goals.
  • Counties served: 7-county metro area
  • Accepts referrals from:  Individuals must be referred to Guild by a health plan we’re contracted with to provide Care Coordination Services.
  • Payment for services: Medical assistance

 

January 25, 2019

No Caller Turned Away: Helping the Community Get Mental Health Services

Lots of dead ends. Nowhere to turn. Loss of hope. This is how people often describe attempts to get help with mental health. Community Access Services were created to give them somewhere to turn.

“Ultimately, the mental health system tends to be very fragmented, and access is so difficult for so many,” says Melissa Klein, Program Manager. “Ten years ago, Guild recognized this need and responded.” A grant provided start-up funds and a small team began providing 20 free days of service to callers. No caller was turned away. The team received 239 calls in 2009.

As the new Community Access Services moved forward, Melissa noticed that people were still having difficulty getting connected to services. Something was missing: a diagnostic assessment. “You can’t really get access to services without one,” Melissa explains.

Her observation helped services evolve to include completion of a diagnostic assessment. Conducted face-to-face, the assessment helps Guild staff gain a full understanding of an individual’s needs. “We’re not just giving people a diagnosis and then just letting go,” Melissa describes. “We really listen to them and to their family to understand and make recommendations based on needs. We might recommend them to a program that Guild has – Targeted Case Management, Behavioral Health Home Services, or Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). If we don’t have a service that meets their needs, then we recommend them to another provider or resource that does.”

In 2017, the Community Access team:

  • Responded to 1,229 calls (a 32% increase over 2016)
  • Completed over 300 diagnostic assessments (a 98% increase over 2016)
  • Referred 97% of the individuals referred to them for assessment to one of these Guild service teams: Targeted Case Management, Behavioral Health Home, or Assertive Community Treatment

Community Access Services still operate under the same principal they did when they started: no caller is turned away. Eligibility issues are addressed by helping people figure out how to enroll for medical insurance. A private pay option is offered for those who don’t qualify or have private insurance that doesn’t cover services.

“To have a significant number of people getting that comprehensive assessment and getting connected to services is really exciting,” Melissa says of the impact of services. “I get the opportunity to see people that came through Community Access getting service from one of our teams, and I see how far they’ve come. I also think about our private pay clients, and that they might not have services at all if we didn’t provide this.”

More About Community Access Services:

Provides:  Assistance to general inquiries about Guild services and navigating the mental health system; Completion of Diagnostic Assessments for appropriate referral to Guild’s Targeted Case Management, Behavioral Health Home, or Assertive Community Treatment or to a community resource that fits individual needs; and Service directly to individuals and families (through private pay) that want services but aren’t eligible due to insurance or other requirements.

Number of teams: 1

Counties served: All 7 metro counties

Accepts referrals from: Anyone can call the Community Access team for help.

 

 

 

December 20, 2018

You Can Help:

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