We have been providing a wide range of services to homeless mentally ill individuals over age 18 since 1989. These services include outreach, advocacy, case management and other interventions. We practice a “housing first” approach, getting individuals “off the streets” as our first priority. Once stable housing is achieved, our mobile team helps establish links with other services, including:
• Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Counseling
• Psychiatric evaluations
• Medication Therapy
• Crisis intervention
• Vocational training
Homeless Outreach Team
Since 2008, BestSelf’s Homeless Outreach program received additional funding from the Erie County Department of Mental Health to engage the street homeless population. The mandate of the Homeless Outreach Team is to identify and engage the homeless population with mental illness. The Outreach team works with area shelters as well as actively seeks out this difficult population under bridges, in alleys, on railroad tracks, park benches and other places not meant for human habitation.
• Screening, assessment, advocacy, and linkage to all necessary basic supports, mainstream resources, care coordination and treatment services.
• Crisis intervention including emergency assessment, stabilization, and linkage to the needed level of care.
• Continued therapeutic and supportive contact delivered at the location of need, including psychotropic medication management.
• Linkage to appropriate community housing and the supports necessary for maintaining residential stability.
• Linkage to ongoing mental health and MICA treatment services.
• Linkage to primary care with or without insurance.
• Assessment and identification of skill deficits impeding maintenance of stable housing and provision of direct skills teaching.
• Vocational planning and readiness services and linkage to appropriate vocational programming as dictated by need and choice.
• Follow-up services include continued monitoring of psychiatric and residential stability, case management, supportive counseling within the client’s natural environment, and facilitation of linkage and referral to continued, and long term treatment within the community mental health system.
The HSP has 156 permanent housing slots providing case management and rental subsidy to homeless mentally ill individuals and a 16 bed residence for chronic homeless individuals with a mental health diagnosis.