ImmaCare Inc. has much to offer its clients in the way of shelter, food, clothing, medical assistance, case management, government assistance, education, employment and housing services. In addition, services targeting clients with debilitating illnesses, such as heart/lung disease, kidney/liver failure, or HIV/AIDS who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are also provided in the programs below.
The Emergency Shelter is a year-round program, open daily, 24 hours a day. Most of the individuals served through this program are under-employed or unemployed, ineligible or not yet signed up for government benefits and lacking formal education. Many also have serious mental or physical health problems, issues with substance abuse and often are estranged from their families. The shelter provides a safe place to sleep, a healthy meal, and access to clothing, showers, laundry, and referrals for mental health and substance abuse counseling, medical services, transportation assistance, entitlement assistance, and comprehensive case management. In addition, groups that focus on personal growth will be offered, such as Job Training, Activities of Daily Living, Building Social Skills as well as groups focusing on substance-free socialization including dominoes, card games and other board games. ImmaCare’s shelter is intended to be a short-term, emergency intervention focused on assisting men to gain more permanent tenancy of some sort in non-shelter housing in our region.
Five days a week, ImmaCare’s Mobile Outreach Case Manager travels throughout Hartford in an attempt to connect with individuals experiencing homelessness and living in the most dangerous areas of the city. In addition to building trust with individuals living in parks, abandoned buildings and under bridges, the Mobile Outreach Case Manager also offers food, blankets and basic necessities. The goal is that through consistent visits, the Case Manager can establish a trusting relationship with these individuals and have the ability to make assessments and referrals to case management, health and counseling services. Most importantly the Case Manager is equipped to complete Universal Housing Applications in the field. This connects clients to all of the participating housing programs offered in the Greater Hartford Coordinated Access Network.
Permanent Supportive Housing
The Permanent Supportive Housing program operates under a Housing First Model, in which individuals are moved from the streets and shelters directly into their own homes. Through this program, clients are also offered intensive and inter-connected case management services both at the main office and in their own home settings. Research has proven that Housing First is the most cost-efficient housing model for people who have been defined as chronically homeless. ImmaCare believes that having a home is not a luxury, but a human right and a foundation through which fragile and vulnerable individuals can, with proper support, begin to focus on personal path of recovery. Some of this is accomplished through groups which include Healthy Living, Harm Reduction based Recovery Group, and also a well-attended Bingo group that teaches social skills, as well as provides apartment goods as prizes. In 2010, ImmaCare opened Casa de Francisco, a 50-unit, state-of-the-art supportive housing apartment building. Currently, the Permanent Supportive Housing program and its intensive case management services are offered to more than 125 individuals housed both at Casa and in scattered-site apartments throughout Hartford.
Education & Employment
Through the Education & Employment Program, clients are given the chance to achieve goals and get back on their feet financially. Unemployment is one of the leading causes of homelessness, and one that ImmaCare works hard to alleviate. Clients are referred to educational and job training program opportunities by ImmaCare’s Education and Employment Manager, who has the ability to link clients to the city’s job centers. Clients may also take part in “Job Club” to work on their resumes and applications in a supportive environment or use ImmaCare’s computer lab, which offers individuals the opportunity to grow and succeed with curricula that are designed to meet individual needs. Individual tutorials are also offered in the following areas: General Educational Development (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL), Basic Adult Education, computer and typing skills, job search and resume writing.
In addition, in the fall of 2014, ImmaCare embarked on a new comprehensive approach to the program. During the first year of the program, participants take part in internships at the shelter while gaining self-esteem, work experience and providing services necessary to the shelter’s operation. Participants also take part in an eight week course called, “Tackling the Tough Skills,” which teaches participants about gaining employment, helps them manage stress and forces participants to examine the role their attitudes and choices have played in their lives. During the program’s second year participants work either at a property management social enterprise business within ImmaCare, or are placed at an external business.