October 16, 2023
People Incorporated’s Access and Recovery Center (ARC) Outreach Team (formerly Street Outreach) has long provided over 2,500 individuals per year with services like case management, housing referrals, access to shower and laundry facilities, and much more. This year, the program has been revamped, integrating Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS), Behavioral Health Home (BHH), and Outreach services. This wraparound, low-barrier service connects those experiencing homelessness to support, mental health skill-building, housing, and resources.
ARMHS aims to help individuals develop independent living skills, work on interpersonal communication, secure and maintain employment, manage their mental health symptoms, and build a healthy lifestyle. These specialized services are useful for individuals who have experienced decreased functioning abilities due to mental health concerns, and it’s an ideal service for those integrating back into their community.
What is BHH?
BHH is a model of care that focuses on integrating primary care, mental health services, and social services for individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. The multidisciplinary approach of BHH creates a care plan that is person-centered and tailored to the individual’s needs, which is much aligned with People Incorporated’s mission. BHH services aim to help the individual reach their personal health and wellness goals.
What is the benefit of integrating these services within ARC Outreach?
While the ARC Outreach Team will still offer its standard drop-in and street outreach services of assisting in finding housing resources, the additional integration of ARMHS and BHH creates an innovative approach that is uniquely tailored to this demographic. Fusing BHH and ARMHS with Outreach creates access to services that are typically challenging to connect to for people who are living on the street or experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
“Homelessness is a mental health crisis. The embedded integration of Outreach, BHH, and ARMHS allows us to address the immediate need of the housing and safety crisis while also working on mental health,” said Jessica Hill, Director of Operations. “This will assist in greater stability for someone once housing is secured. It offers hope that a person can feel better and find pathways to a safer living environment. These staff members are already experts at helping people who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness. This approach enhances our ability to serve people with high-complexity and high-acuity needs who have struggled with typical services in the community due to their current living environment.”
One of the biggest barriers to reaching individuals experiencing homelessness is trust. However, the ARC Outreach Team is already out in the community building relationships with these individuals, creating a sense of trust that allows for a seamless transition from outreach services to ARMHS and/or BHH services. This creates longer-term solutions for clients, prioritizing their personal wellness and independence.
“Folks experiencing unsheltered homelessness experience much more mental health complexities, and this type of approach is way more effective with this population,” said Dave Katzenmeyer, Program Manager. “But you have to build trust before jumping into paperwork or service components. That’s where these services meet up.”
“This is a newer approach to outreach, and no one else is doing it in this way,” said Hill. “A lot of people do ARMHS/BHH concurrently but don’t have the homeless outreach component. We created an integrated position, where a person like Dave could do both. This is helpful for clients because they don’t have to remember different staff members – it’s one touch point for them – which can be so much easier. It creates robust service integration, which aligns with People Incorporated’s mission.”
Hill and Katzenmeyer have big dreams for this program in the future. Although People Incorporated’s ARC Outreach services are currently offered in Ramsey County only, they hope to grow to serve Hennepin County and others who are experiencing a need. The ARC Outreach Team is one of People Incorporated’s programs that relies almost exclusively on donations. To support this revolutionary work and its growth to come, consider giving a gift through the Give page on our website, ensuring to click “Homeless Services” for your gift designation.
Source utilized for this article: Minnesota Department of Human Services, https://mn.gov/dhs/.