Phase 4 kicks in when members receive their housing match, and it lasts until the member has fully transitioned into their new home.
Individuals will react to their housing match in a variety of ways. Some may attempt to emotionally disconnect from staff in preparation for leaving the program. Some may feel confident about their ability to live independently, while others may struggle with anxiety and uncertainty about whether they will be successful on their own. The important thing to keep in mind is that, regardless of a person’s time in the program or their level of comfort with independent living, members transitioning to housing are entering a period of significant vulnerability.
A housing match can sometimes happen quickly, before a member has established a firm foundation for recovery and wellness. Research shows that the risks associated with a transition into housing can be substantially reduced if individuals have adequate support. So our main objective for this phase is to ensure that members have sufficient clinical and nonclinical community-based support in place before they leave the residence. While promoting self-determination and multiple pathways to recovery, we also want to remind members that they can stay in the JOH residence until they feel ready to move to their new residence. If they accept housing, remind them of the program’s commitment to serve them after they leave the residential treatment phase, and ensure they have a plan to stay engaged with the JOH Project during and beyond the transition.
The participant’s peer specialist and case manager will play a large role in delivering the supports that achieve Phase 4 goals.
Why is Phase 4 important?
Whenever members are matched with housing, it’s important to work with them to think critically about whether they should accept the housing offer. Understanding that no housing may be perfect, it may be better for a member to wait until a more suitable housing opportunity arises rather than to leap at the first opportunity that comes along. Ideally, you would have already worked with members to envision the kind of home situation they would like to have and the community that would suit them best. That information can be used to help assess how close the housing match aligns with their needs.
Although continuing care is not a requirement for receiving housing, it should be strongly encouraged. Work with the member to determine the level and type of support the person wants and needs. Many individuals will assert that they no longer need support, so be ready to use your motivational interviewing skills and the strength of your relationship to help them identify a level of support and continued engagement that would be comfortable for them. For some, it may mean participating in the full JOH program for a week or two. For others, it may mean participating in a couple groups a week, having dinner with the community, or continuing to work with a JOH certified peer specialist.
Many people will feel that they do not need to stay connected because they view JOH as only a treatment program. Be prepared to share the benefits of continued engagement. Here’s how:
Whether the person has achieved recovery or other goals, moving into a permanent home is a major transition in their lives. Even a positive change can be challenging to cope with, so ensure the person leaves knowing that you understand the significance of their move and that you remain committed to supporting them through their familiar and new challenges.