Conversations over Coffee with Pillars: Diversion services provide alternatives to shelter

August 1, 2019

This morning we welcomed Pillars Diversion Case Manager, Luanne Witthuhn to lead our Conversations over Coffee. Pillars began offering Diversion in February of 2018 and Luanne started with the organization in August of 2018.

Diversion is both proactive and preventative in nature, with the primary goal being to help households facing homelessness avoid having to enter shelter by finding alternative solutions. Luanne discussed how households (either individuals or families) must first be actively seeking shelter in order to be eligible for Diversion services. If a household is seeking shelter, they are referred to Pillars Adult & Family Shelter, where they will complete the Diversion Assessment with a Shelter Client Advocate. The Diversion Assessment asks a series of questions that try to reveal more about the household’s housing situation. Based on the results of the assessment, Shelter Client Advocates will begin the intake process for entering shelter, connect the household to Street Outreach services, or connect the household to Luanne for Diversion services.

Once a household has been connected with Luanne for Diversion services, she will meet with them to get to know them better. Luanne’s primary goal with Diversion participants is to help them find affordable housing that fits their needs. After participants have secured housing, they meet with Luanne to identify at least three goals. Luanne describes this step as the real “keys to success.” She has seen how setting these goals with participants keeps them motivated and focused on maintaining their housing. Over the next 30 – 90 days, Luanne continues to meet with participants to check-in on their goals and address any challenges they may be facing. After 90 days, participants can elect to continue receiving other services from the community or move forward on their own.

Listening to Luanne describe the impact of Diversion was inspiring everyone who was around the table. She shared that providing Diversion services to people who are in crisis and in need of housing has changed her life. She described helping a participant move into his own home on Christmas and the tears of joy they shared knowing he had a home of his own for the holidays and beyond.

Pillars is fortunate to have Luanne providing Diversion services to people facing homelessness. As we continue to see our shelters operate at capacity, Diversion is sure to grow its impact in our community.

Diversion Program Flow Chart

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