This simple approach can help you avoid a culture of ‘Enabling’
People have an instinctive, human desire to help others. Yet this well-meaning impulse can actually perpetuate rather than solve a problem when you don’t stand up to wrong behaviors. You worry a promising resident will walk away if you don’t forgive an unexplained absence…and so the absences continue.
We call this “enabling.” Fortunately, there are tools that can empower — rather than enable — your residents. One of these tools is a software platform that tracks resident activity throughout their time in your mission. You are able to note positive behaviors like family reunification. You can also note problems like unruliness or missing a check-in. Since all features are customizable, missions can design WellSky Community & Missions (formerly Spero) to fit their environment.
Empower your residents
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When every staff member can log and view these activities, you create a more consistent experience and a sense of community that can instill personal responsibility in a safe, measured setting. Here are three examples.
Privileges are earned and enjoyed
Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles is one of the nation’s largest RMs, providing 250,000 nights of shelter every year. Scannable ID cards for residents allow for high-volume check-in and quickly allow staff to check clients into beds, meals, classes and work assignments.
Just as important, the cards encourage personal responsibility. Residents are credited with points for work they do around the mission or classes they attend. This has helped instill a culture of achievement that may translate into better outcomes. The points can be used to attend special events or other activities.
Now the mission is exploring how to use small, affordable computing devices that could be distributed throughout the facility to speed check-in of all events. In the future, this may also lead to self-service features that would give residents even more personal accountability.
Greater community involvement helps residents integrate faster
You can also open accounts for people other than residents, such as volunteers or law enforcement. For example, community members can use their points for meals at the mission’s culinary kitchen, or for vocational classes that the mission offers. You can also give limited access to the WellSky Community & Missions to local law enforcement and other community agencies that serve the same clients. An officer or agency staff member can use their smartphone to gain basic facts about the person, such as name and current living status at the mission or any alerts or notifications entered in WellSky Community & Missions.
Enhanced safety and discipline & positive activity
Tracking activity in a centralized platform also lead to more consistent enforcement of policy. If a resident violates house rules, any staff member can enter that information in the system. Then on check-in, the staff member on duty is instantly alerted of any precautions or disciplinary actions to be taken, such as losing a bed assignment bed or being removed from the facility. While scannable ID cards are very convenient, missions can use most of WellSky Community & Missions’ features without them.