2. Outreach and Goal-Setting
3. Case Management / Coaching
4. Increasing Earnings
5. Building Financial Capability
6. FSS Infrastructure
2. Outreach and Goal-Setting
As the principal front-line staff responsible for implementation, FSS program coordinators are the backbone of the FSS program. FSS coordinators coach program participants, conduct needs assessments, provide referrals to services and trainings, and help participants stay on track to achieve their goals. FSS coordinators also maintain program records, build partnerships with service providers, report on program outcomes, and perform other tasks as required.
FSS programs use different names to describe the program coordinator, including case manager and coach. In this online training, we will use the terms “FSS program coordinator,” “FSS coordinator,” “program coordinator,” and “coordinator” interchangeably.
Staffing for the FSS program can be structured in many ways. In some organizations, the FSS program coordinator is responsible for all functions associated with the program; in others, responsibilities are divided among staff, where one coordinator handles the design and implementation of the program, while other coordinators are primarily responsible for case management and coaching. Some programs choose to work with outside contractors to administer the program.
Watch this video clip on the scope and importance of the FSS “case manager.”
FSS © 2017 | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
FSS coordinators execute many functions, including:
While FSS program coordinators assume many important roles, the case management or coaching that they provide to help residents achieve their goals is central to the FSS program design. One question that often arises is how many participants should be in the caseload of each FSS coordinator. There is no hard and fast rule for determining the ideal case load size for FSS coordinators. However, HUD’s annual Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) for Public and Indian Housing FSS Programs provide minimum guidelines for the number of FSS participants that programs must serve to qualify for specific levels of coordinator funding from HUD.
The FY 2016 NOFA, for example, says:
Eligibility for funding will be based on the number of FSS program participants in your entire FSS program during the target period, according to a formula that requires 15 families to support one part-time position, 25 families to support one full-time position, and an additional 50 families to support each additional position beyond the first full-time position.”
Because total funding is limited, however, having the caseload to qualify for a certain number of coordinator positions is no guarantee that a PHA will be funded at that level.
Some FSS programs report average coordinator caseloads that are larger than these minimums. Larger caseloads allow for enrollment of more families in FSS, but at some point, caseloads may get so high that they diminish the ability of the FSS coordinator to provide effective support.
When hiring FSS coordinators, FSS programs look for a variety of qualifications, including:
This video emphasizes the importance of hiring coordinators who believe in the clients they serve.
Ongoing training can help FSS coordinators learn about new approaches or techniques and stay informed of program regulations. Trainings may be conducted in-house, remotely via webinar or other computer-based training or, where appropriate, programs may send staff to available trainings.
Areas to consider for training include (click the arrows to expand the content):
Basic Requirements of FSS
Overview of all aspects of the program, including the Contract of Participation, Individual Training and Services Plan, and the escrow account (including how it is calculated).
Conducting FSS Participant Assessments
How to conduct thorough and thoughtful assessments that enable FSS coordinators to identify strengths, service needs, and barriers to education, employment, and financial management.
Helping Participants Stay on Track Toward their Goals
Training that prepares FSS coordinators to help participants define and achieve their goals, particularly in the key areas of education and job training, employment, and financial capability.
Finding Local Resources
FSS coordinators should have some knowledge of available community services, as well as access to a PHA-maintained database of local resources and services for referrals. As a supplement to these resources, FSS programs can train staff on how to locate and effectively connect participants to additional services in the community.
A well-maintained referrals database will allow staff to quickly and easily identify organizations that provide resources and services requested by FSS participants. The database should contain the program’s name, services offered, and other basic information about how to access the services. It should also note whether programs have current openings, accept FSS participants, and have been successful in helping other FSS families.
Developing Trusting, Supportive Relationships with Participants
This skill may take time to build through experience working with participants, but FSS coordinators may benefit from trainings in best practices for relationship-building.
Helping Participants Overcome Challenges
FSS participants often face a broad array of challenges—from limited or inconsistent employment history to debilitating health issues. Training can prepare FSS coordinators for working with participants to overcome these challenges.
Providing Crisis Intervention
Training can prepare FSS coordinators to support participants experiencing crises, including urgent medical or mental health problems, physical safety issues related to domestic violence and other factors, and immediate financial needs.
Advanced Case Management and Coaching Techniques
In addition to HUD materials, including this online training and the accompanying guidebook, there are many training resources available through consulting firms and other organizations. (Note that inclusion on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not imply the endorsement of HUD or any other organization.)
This video clip describes the range of training opportunities that can benefit FSS coordinators.
In addition to HUD materials, including this online training and the accompanying guidebook, there are many training resources available through consulting firms and other organizations.
Advanced case management and coaching training may cover specialized techniques such as trauma-informed care, Motivational Interviewing, and Co-Active Coaching. Click the arrows to expand the content.
MINT is a professional non-profit organization of independent Motivational Interviewing trainers. MINT maintains a list of trainers, training events, and other resources.
Coaches Training Institute offers trainings as well as a free webinar on the Coach Training program.
Note that inclusion on this page is for informational purposes only, and HUD does not necessarily endorse or recommend these training resources.
Please complete this quiz before you proceed to the next module. To take the quiz, use the arrow keys or click the correct answer choice. If you answer incorrectly, you will be able to try again until you select the correct response.
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