When an individual or family we’re working with moves into permanent housing, we’re often at a loss as to what our role is at that point. And sometimes, we’re surprised if people don’t take care of their new place the way we think they should.
That sense of belonging, of ownership and pride that we want for our clients doesn’t just automatically come when they get the keys to their own place. It’s often something that is developed as they’re able to make it their own. It seems that for most of us, creating a home is less about the building itself and more about the emotional connection and sense of comfort we’re able to create behind the doors. Last week I attended a case management workshop and came away with a list of simple ideas for case workers and advocates to help their clients begin to make a house a home.
- Give them a plant
- Buy a baking sheet and bake cookies together
- Give them a calendar
- Go grocery shopping together at their local grocery store and make a big pot of something that can then be divided into individual portions
- Give them some picture frames
- Provide them with activities to address boredom (books, magazines, or a library card; art supplies, etc.)
- Give them fun refrigerator magnets and dry erase markers
- Encourage them to introduce themselves to their neighbors
Most of these ideas are low cost yet they can make a big impact. What else do you do to help individuals and families make a house their home?
FYI – the workshop I attended was “Working to Achieve Excellence in Housing-Based Case Management” and was put on by Iain De Jong with OrgCode Consulting www.orgcode.com