Housing Support Program

The Argument for Tenancy Support: 

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the Latinx community. In Durham County, Latinx people make up 14% of the population but 67% of new confirmed coronavirus cases (as of June 2020). Many factors contribute to this disparity, including pre-existing health conditions, occupations and cultural barriers. For example, the 2017 Durham Community Health Assessment reported that Hispanic/Latino patients were admitted to the emergency department for respiratory complications at twice the rate of non-Hispanic white patients. Latinx people also have higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity, rendering them more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. In Durham, those who work in construction and custodial services are more likely to test positive for coronavirus, and Latinx people make up 91% of cases associated with construction work. Importantly, Latinx households also experience food insecurity at higher rates than white households and are often overlooked when it comes to public health interventions. This exacerbates health disparities and has compounded the ability of the Latinx community to maintain social distancing practices and secure personal protective equipment.

Our Goals: 

In partnership with Durham Homeless Transitions, Alliance Healthcare, Healthcare for the Homeless, Duke Outpatient Clinic, Community Empowerment Fund, and Reinvestment Partners, the DukeMed student run Tenancy Support Program aims to improve the health of patients who have a history of chronic homelessness by pairing interdisciplinary teams of students with community members during the housing transition period to provide tenancy support. 

Our Members:

Students will be recruited through the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, PA School, and PT School and undergo a series of training sessions led by our community partners which will orient them to local resources, expose them to issues affecting the target population, and provide them with the specific skills they will need to best serve their clients. These trainings will include: 

  1. Voices from the Community - Personal experience of individuals who have experienced Homelessness

  2. Impact of Housing Transition - Training to provide overview of difficulties

  3. Community Resource Training – Reinvestment Partners 

    1. Navigating bus routes/transportation

    2. Nearby food, health, financial/financial coaching, and legal resources

  4. Healthcare Literacy - by DOC staff 

    1. Medication Management

    2. NCCARE 360 Utilization

  5. Motivational Interviewing 

After completing training, students will meet with clients at least once per month throughout the year, pending COVID19 restrictions, in the community. Clients will be referred to the program on an as-needed basis through both the Duke Outpatient Clinic and Healthcare for the Homeless Clinic at Lincoln Community Health Center. Students will help their clients formulate a goals list and check in regularly to support progress, and use the specific skills gained in training sessions to ease client transition to housing by developing an individually tailored plan that best fits their clients needs. Each team will receive a budget to assist their client by purchasing support items to increase the livability of their new home as needed, including, alarm clocks, planners, fans, and additional lighting. Throughout the year, students write monthly updates which include client status and reflections on progress, challenges, and successful strategies which will be reviewed with project leadership. In addition, each month the Tenancy Support Program will come together as a whole for group check ins and reflection to provide continued support to students and troubleshoot any difficulties.

The Project: 
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