What does goal-setting look like in the ROSS program?

The overall purpose of the ROSS program is to help participants make progress towards economic independence and housing self-sufficiency. These terms will mean different things for different clients.  Therefore, it is important that the Service Coordinator work with clients to establish individual goals appropriate to his or her stage of life.  For a client with children, this may mean completing a degree program or professional certification to increase earned income and reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance. For elderly participants and persons with disabilities, increasing earned income may not be a priority, but goals could be established that will help participants improve mobility and continue to live independently.

Goal-setting should be led by the needs of the resident

Making it a collaborative effort between the Service Coordinator and the client, by using a client-centered approach, allows the Service Coordinator to utilize coaching techniques. The goals will be informed by what the needs assessment reveals.  Goals should be measurable, and clients and Service Coordinators should be able to break them down into individual steps.

For example, a client may identify securing a full-time job as a goal.  Related interim steps could include referring the client to a relevant job-training program or the client submitting an application for a part-time or entry-level position in their desired field.

How does an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP) help with goal-setting?

Once the Service Coordinator has conducted initial assessments, an ITSP can be a useful tool to chart a participant or family’s goals and overall plan for self-sufficiency. The ITSP includes a series of short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals with corresponding steps for the household to achieve those goals.  The ITSP also identifies services and resouces that can help the client make progress towards identified goals. Using an ITSP, ROSS Service Coordinators can develop a record of client-centered steps.   The ITSP can be used as a motivating tool – as clients complete interim goals, the Service Coordinator can show the client that these have been completed. 

NOTE: ITSPs are also used in HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency program; guidance on ITSPs and goal-setting is available in Chapter 2 of HUD’s FSS guidebook on promising practices.

How can goals be designed to overcome barriers or road blocks?

If serious barriers were uncovered during the needs assessment process, Service Coordinators may wish to schedule a separate session to begin implementing a plan that will help the client overcome those barriers.  Service Coordinators can work with households to identify short-term or interim goals to address these roadblocks and make progress toward the household’s long-term goals through a series of manageable steps. Accomplishing these interim goals can also be a source of motivation and positive reinforcement. 

For example, a participant who wants to reinstate her driver’s license may have unpaid traffic tickets as a barrier.  The Service Coordinator can help the client chart the process for reinstating the license into smaller goals:

  • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to arrange a payment plan to pay the fines; and/or
  • Develop a saving plan to pay a license reinstatement fee.