The Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) has successfully acquired formerly outsourced CASCAP service coordinators to continue serving at CHA senior development sites following a property merger between Homeowners Rehab, Inc. (HRI) and CASCAP.
Previously, CHA and CASCAP enjoyed a nearly 28-year long partnership to help boost support services for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
The Service Coordination Program is designed to assist residents with access and coordination of local supportive services. The goal of the program is to enable residents to live independently for as long as possible. All Service Coordinators are master’s level professionals and have enjoyed a seamless transition in becoming full-time CHA employees.
Yaw Adjei-Koranteng has been a service coordinator for 14 years and is currently based out of Millers River Apartments and Truman Apartments, respectively. “I love working with the tenants,” he said. “CHA has been like a second family to me all this time. The residents always assumed we were CHA employees to begin with, so we had to explain the CASCAP partnership so many times, and now, we’re officially included on the team and very happy about it.” Adjei-Koranteng added.
Director of Service Coordination, Kenneth Hebert, helps to oversee the program and agrees with Adjei-Koranteng’s sentiment.
“We have always been a team of seven or eight and now we get to serve on a much larger team at CHA, it’s exciting. This agency is doing some amazing things and we are so happy to be a part of where it’s going,” Hebert said.
“Serving under CHA’s Resident Services department is also such a great opportunity to cover more ground together, given our focus on seniors and their incredible work with youths as well.” Hebert added.
The service coordinator model at CHA senior development sites has proven to be successful and is very much appreciated by property managers as well, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
Some of the everyday issues service coordinators can expect to see, but are not limited to, include helping tenants to deal with anxiety, providing assistance with Mass Health or with food stamps, finding and scheduling transportation for basic needs and appointments, helping with benefit letters, or working to identify potential phone or email scams to protect the resident.
“I don’t know what I would do without our service coordinator, Yaw,” said Millers River Apartments property manager, Tonya White. “He helps to keep our residents organized and housed. He is a big part of what we do here.”
Jennifer Chisholm is a service coordinator at Daniel F. Burns Apartments and has been in her position for 13 years. Chisholm’s efforts have been especially helpful to Property Manager Gerard DiStefano and his team as they weather both a pandemic and ongoing construction at the property to modernize the site.
“Having Jennifer around makes things so much easier,” explained DiStefano. “Assisting residents with their social security, their cab rides, anything. I’m so happy she’s here. She does so much for our residents, whenever she can, however she can. It goes a long way.”
“It has been a natural transition becoming a part of the CHA team.” Chisholm said.
All negotiating parties were thrilled and equally committed to ensuring there would be no interruption in services for residents during the acquisition process.
Currently, the program is being piloted at a CHA family site, as the agency eyes growth of in-house support services during a crucial time for many of its residents. Other languages spoken by members of the service coordinator team include Haitian Creole, Spanish, Shona, and Twi.
To learn more about the program, email Kenneth Hebert at firstname.lastname@example.org.