Peer Navigator Program

Vision:

Agency Change -> Work with homeless service providers to develop paid opportunities for individuals with lived homeless experience.

Systems Change -> Work with health care and housing providers to help individuals access resources and create best practices for accessing resources.

Transformational Change-> Support peer navigators to stabilize their lives, provide career development, and assist in securing more permanent career opportunities.

Objectives:

  • Develop a better understanding of how to help individuals, families and youth experiencing chronic homelessness access housing, health care, and other services
  • Provide an opportunity for the voices of those in need to inform current policies and practices
  • Broaden conversation and collaboration between agencies
  • Build capacity for a regional coordinated assessment/single point of entry system

Peer Navigator goals:

  • Direct Service
    • Establish rapport with clients, especially those who may be reluctant to engage with staff
    • Connect individuals experiencing homelessness to housing resources, as well as other necessary services (healthcare, employment, benefits, etc.)
    • Assist formerly homeless individuals with housing retention
  • Professional Development
    • Ongoing training, support, and team-building through MDHI and partner agency
    • Transitional employment support (temporary, part-time positions)

Current and Past Partner Agencies:

  • Bridge House
  • Our Center
  • Francis Center
  • The Gathering Place
  • Urban Peak
  • Volunteers of America
  • Catholic Charities
  • Regional Libraries
  • Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN)
  • The Action Center
  • H.O.P.E.

Project Outcomes:

Over 300 (unique) homeless individuals have been assisted with housing, benefits, and other services through Peer Navigators. The following lists the primary services provided to these individuals:

  • Benefits (WIC, SNAP, SSI, etc.)
  • Housing
  • Immediate Needs
  • Housing Documents, such as birth certificates and photo IDs
  • Mental Health Services
  • Medical/Medications
  • Legal Issues