Lantern Group



Rustin House


Program overview

The Rustin House Housing Placement Team, consisting of the Clinical Director, Program Director, and Tenant Services Coordinator in consultation with the Leasing Manager, will lead role the selection process for placement of formerly homeless and/or employed prospective tenants, whether or not they are living with special needs.


1)      Special Needs Referrals

Seventy-four units will be set-aside for single adults with histories of recent homelessness and mental illness. Corresponding to the renovation schedule, new tenants will move in over a several month period beginning in November 2012 and ending in September 2013, when the building should be fully occupied.

A.    Target Population

Rustin House will target single adults referred by the New York City Department of Homeless Services, aged 50 and over, who meet NY/NY III Population Option I requirements.

 NY/NY III Population Option I is defined as DHS-referred single adults with a designated mental illness diagnosis and one of the following: SSI/SSDI due to mental illness; extended impairment in functioning due to mental illness, as experienced by at least two or more of the following functional limitations over the past 12 months on a continuous of intermittent basis: marked difficulties in self care; restriction of activities of daily living (ADL); difficulties in maintaining social function; frequent deficiencies of concentration resulting in failure to complete work/home/school tasks in a timely manner or reliance on psychiatric treatment, rehabilitation and supports. 

B.     Referral Process

 Referrals to Rustin House will be received from DHS-authorized community agencies working with individuals who are likely to be eligible for admission.  Prospective tenants, community agencies, and/or advocates acting on behalf of prospective tenants may submit applications to HRA.  HRA conducts the necessary assessments and evaluations to determine whether prospective tenants are eligible for housing and determines which among the several housing options is most appropriate.  Once HRA has approved program eligibility of particular individuals, DHS forwards the approved application to Rustin House for housing placement consideration.  The housing placement team will interview and screen applications to ensure consistency with the targeted population criteria.   Preference, to the highest extent possible, will be given prospective tenants who are aged 50 and over, have associative ties with the neighborhood in Community Board No. 7, and indicate a willingness to participate in the Service Plan, residential community, and agree to live by the rules of Service Plan and Community.

C.    Housing Application

 Housing placement priority will be given to income and program eligible tenants of the Upper West Side who are in need of housing and on-site supportive services.  Housing placement criteria includes the following:

§  Most recent permanent residence in the community surrounding St Louis Hall or whether the prospective tenant currently has family, friends, or close associations, including associations with health care or service providers in the area. 

§  Mental Illness as currently defined by New York City Dept Of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), (i.e. DSM IV psychiatric diagnosis other than alcohol or drug disorders, developmental disabilities, organic brain syndromes, or social conditions)

§  Registered, as appropriate, with the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA).

§  Ability to manage one’s life with an adequate degree of independence.  People who are in need of highly specialized and/or acute care would not be eligible for housing placement.

§  Willingness and ability to participate in his/her own individualized Service Plan

§  Willingness and desire to be an active participant in a supportive housing community and comply with House Rules.

§  Willingness and desire to engage with on-sight psychiatrist for medication management or other psychiatric needs.

§  Enrollment in an appropriate substance abuse treatment program if the prospective tenant is abusing substances.

Rustin House does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, martial status, familial status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status or political beliefs.

D.    Interviews

The Housing Placement Team will conduct two interviews to determine the basic income and programmatic edibility of prospective tenants and assess their ability to live independently within the facility, fulfill the obligations of tenancy, benefit from the supportive service program, and work toward housing permanency, community participation, and achievement of personal goals. 

i.            Intake Interview

The Tenant Services Coordinator conducts the initial intake interview. 

During the initial interview, the Tenant Services Coordinator (TSC) will determine whether the prospective tenant meets basic eligibility requirements.  The Tenant Services Coordinator will also obtain a release for third-party verifications of financial, medical, and drug treatment information provided on the application.  To be eligible for admission, a prospective tenant must be in possession of the following:

 §  Completed Rustin House Housing Application;
  HRA approval Letter;
  DHS referral packet;
  Evidence of current receipt of public entitlements or other income;
  Evidence prospective tenant does not have active infectious tuberculosis;
  Documentation of employment/financial status and source of income;
  Rent payment history, and
  Evidence of ability to live independently.  

ii.            Program Interview

If the prospective tenant is deemed eligible based on the Initial Intake Interview, the Program Director and another member of the Housing Placement Team will conduct a thorough program interview.

The program interview assesses the service and mental health needs of a prospective tenant and the ability to fulfill the obligations of tenancy.  The interviews address healthy lifestyle, health maintenance, nutritional needs, safety procedures, house rules, interest in work, training opportunities or employment services, and mental health service needs. In addition, the interviews explain that a tenant can be discharged for failure to comply with house rules or lease obligations, such as failure to pay rent, abusive or disruptive behavior, and/or persistent use and/or sale of illegal substance(s). 

During the program interviews, bio-psychosocial information is gathered in the following areas:

§  Service needs;
  Physical/mental health status;
  Activities of daily living skills status;
  Substance abuse status;
  Family/social support status;
  Education history;
  History of independent living, and
  Employment status.

The prospective tenant will be shown a model dwelling unit.  The Tenant Services Coordinator/Program Director will review the House Rules with the prospective tenant and ask the prospective tenant to sign an acknowledgement that he/she has read the House Rules or has heard them read, understands them fully, and agrees to abide by them.

The prospective tenant who—after becoming familiar with the residence, its services and objectives and acknowledging his/her obligation to abide by the House Rules and other obligations imposed by living in a residential congregate setting, is accepted after successful conclusion of the program interview. Prior to move-in a tenant must sign an annual rent-stabilized lease and submit income information.

2)      Employed Single Adult Referrals

Thirty units are set-aside for single adults experiencing housing hardship as defined by HUD and who are employed at the time of referral and placement. Interviews of these tenants focus on their source of income, income level, and appropriateness for tenancy in St Louis Hall. Community tenants may not earn more than 60% of the average median income upon moving into the building. Preference, to the highest extent possible, will be given prospective tenants who have associative ties with the neighborhood in Community Board No. 7.

A.    Intake Interview

The Program Director and/or Tenant Services Coordinator conduct the initial intake interview. 

During the intake interview, the Tenant Services Coordinator will determine whether the prospective tenant meets basic eligibility requirements. The Housing Coordinator also may obtain a release for third-party verifications of financial and employment information provided on the application.  To be eligible for admission, a prospective tenant must be in possession of the following:

§  Completed Rustin House application;
  Evidence of current employment;
  Evidence prospective tenant does not have active infectious tuberculosis;
  Documentation of employment/financial status and source of income;
  Rent payment history;
  Willingness to abide by house rules, and
  Evidence of ability to live independently.

Prior to move-in tenants must sign an annual rent-stabilized lease and submit income information.

Service Plan

1)      Staffing Plan

The St Louis Hall program staffing plan will provide supportive services to enable tenants to achieve greater levels of self-sufficiency and ensure housing stability. The staffing plan is designed to ensure clients have access to a full range of supports, both on site and off site.  The staffing plan is designed to allow residents to live as independently as possible within a supportive community-based setting while at the same time recognizing and addressing the needs of single adult tenants with serious and persistent mental illness.  

The building will have 24/7 on-site resident and reception monitors trained to respond to crises and incidents and interact with residents in a positive and community-appropriate manner and an on-site, live-in superintendent. 

Proposed program staffing lines for this project are as follows:

§  Program Director
  Clinical Director
  Case Managers
  Employment Specialist
  Life Skills Coach
  Tenant Services Coordinator
  Program Assistant
  Director of Food and Nutrition Plans
  Food Service Worker

2)      Staff Qualifications

§  Program Director must have a Master's degree in Social Work or a related field and several years of experience working with homeless individuals with mental illness.

§  Clinical Director must have a LCSW or LMSW and a minimum of five years’ relevant experience supervising multiple housing programs serving formerly homeless adults with serious and persistent mental illness.

§  Case Managers must be master’s level social workers with relevant, hands-on clinical experience and effectiveness with de-escalating problems, handling crisis or a bachelor’s level social worker with several years of relevant experience.

§  Employment Specialist must have a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s preferred, in Human Services or a related field, or equivalent work experience. In addition, the position requires 2-4 years of proven experience assisting similar populations find and maintain employment.

§  Life Skills Coach position requires a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and demonstrated experience providing social and educational activities that promote the development of independent living skills in tenants.

§  Tenant Services Coordinator position requires a Bachelor's Degree, a minimum of three years experience in human services or an equivalent combination of education and experience, specifically in a congregate residential setting with responsibility for eligibility activities. Knowledge of special needs populations and related services desirable. Proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel are required.

§  Program Assistant position requires a high school diploma, excellent oral and written communication skills, and preferably experience working in a housing setting with consumers living with serious and persistent mental illness.

§  Director of Food and Nutrition Plans position requires a graduate of a culinary institute plus 5 years of experience working in the food service industry, preferably in an institutional setting or equivalent experience.

§  Food Service Worker must have 1-2 years experience working in a commercial kitchen and a food handlers certification.

§  Dietician must have registration from a school accredited by the American Dietetic Association.

3)      Program Services

On-site supportive services will be provided by Lantern Community Services (LCS), which has extensive experience serving the NY/NY III single adult population in five other programs throughout NYC.

St Louis Hall staff will establish clear programmatic structures and boundaries in the context of a welcoming and creative engagement approach. Program staff will ensure service consistency through weekly staff meetings to ensure all staff are apprised of significant developments and made aware of situations of concern. Weekly clinical meetings with the Clinical Director will address difficult to engage tenants, clinical interventions and emerging/continuing difficult clinical matters. The core program service is built upon strengths-based case management.

Case Management: Each tenant is assigned to a case manager. Initial and continuing tenant assessments will evaluate psychological and psycho-social status and history, including experiences of trauma; educational history and aspirations; general familial history and relationships; domestic violence; substance abuse history/status; mental health needs, medication history, economic and employment history/potential; physical health and medical history; and financial status and other relevant issues. Working together, the tenant and case manager will create an individualized service plan that outlines specific tasks and activities with measurable goals and objectives. The service plan will include a timeline for achieving the goals and objectives. Each resident will sign off on his or her individual service plan within 30 days of admittance to the program. Staff will provide ongoing assessments at least monthly or more frequently as goals are achieved or circumstances change.

Two primary goals of case management are the attainment of housing stability and increased self-sufficiency. Case managers will work with tenants around their needs in many areas, including but not be limited to counseling, accessing community resources, primary and specialty medical care in the community, budgeting and other life skills. Referrals will be made to day programs vocational training centers and medical facilities. 

Employment Counseling:   Tenants will work with the full-time Employment Specialist who will provide all residents with relevant job training and placement services.  Once a resident is placed in a job, the case manager and Employment Specialist work together to provide job retention services.  Assistance with gaining and maintaining employment and building a work history is especially important for individuals who may have been out of the workforce for an extended time.  Case managers will work with tenants to ensure that small issues do not derail hard-fought employment gains.  Within the scope of employment services, residents will benefit from on-going employment and world-of-work workshops.

 Educational Services:  The Employment Specialist also will provide tenants with information and assistance about educational opportunities.  Referrals will be made for GED preparation and testing, vocational and collegiate programs and ESL and other educational options as appropriate.  Educational services will be sensitive to tenants’ past experiences in school, which may not have been positive. 

Food Program and Nutritional Counseling Using a whole-foods, plant-based and seasonal approach to menu planning, St Louis will provide nutritious and delicious lunches as part of a health and nutrition program.  In compliance with the New York City Food Standards, the menu will consist of sandwiches made from freshly roasted meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, soups and salads.  Menu items will change seasonally, focusing as much as possible on locally available items, and will exclude preservatives, unnecessary refined sweeteners, refined flour, saturated fat and sodium. 

A part-time dietitian will coordinate several nutrition-based activities for tenants each week beginning in the summer of 2013. These activities will include group outings, such as grocery shopping excursions or visits to a farmers market, group workshops in the building focused on a health topic such as sugar, fiber, or fat, along with individual nutrition counseling for tenants.  The dietitian will also coordinate weekly community meals, where the dietitian conducts a simple cooking class using inexpensive, nutritious ingredients and the group prepares a healthful meal which residents can then eat together in the community room.

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