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What Is Case Management & Why Is It So Important?
Last week, we talked about the importance of food in our work, particularly as it relates to building relationships with our guests. It's because of those relationships that we're able to serve our guests most effectively with case management services.
So, what exactly is case management?
Here's what it means at Miriam's Kitchen:
Our Case Management Program is staffed by three clinical social workers, an Art Therapist, two case managers, three year-long volunteer corps members/case managers, one social services intern (funded by the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program), and one psychiatrist.
We provide case management services whenever our doors are open: Monday through Friday from 6:30-9:45 am and 2:30-5:45 pm, and Wednesdays from 6:30-9:45 am and noon-5:45 pm.
Our services include everything from providing clean clothing and assistance obtaining identification cards to mental health care and links to available housing.
And sometimes the best way we can offer services is to partner with organizations like the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Unity Health Care to bring their services to our dining room. That way, our guests have access to everything they need in one central location.
Here's what case management doesn't mean at Miriam's Kitchen:
We don't force services upon our guests. While we may suggest services that we think would be beneficial, our guests are free to choose when and how they receive support from us (which is why the trust they have in us is so important). While case management may sound like we're setting goals for each of our guests and selecting the paths they will take to reach those goals--that's not how case management at Miriam's Kitchen works. It's about our guests choosing their goals and us helping to achieve them.
And why is case management so important?
Because through our Case Management Program, we can not only provide our guests with the services they need to survive while homeless but we can also end chronic homelessness in Washington, DC.
With the insight we've gained by building relationships with people who are chronically homeless, we're in the best position to not only advocate for the housing our guests need, but to also help our guests transition from a life on the streets to a new life in housing.
How can you help?
Join us for a day! The best way to understand the power of case management is to volunteer with our case managers, whether for an hour or for a monthly shift. We'd love for you to join us to experience our work firsthand and hope you'll consider sending us an email to set up a visit.