HUD Publishes Guide for Virtual Service Coordination
Regulation | June 11, 2021 | by Juliana Bilowich
HUD's new guide for "virtual Service Coordination" reviews technology and equipment needs, and outlines methods for maintaining resident connection throughout remote Service Coordination.
After a year of pandemic-adapted Service Coordination programs at affordable housing communities, HUD has published an appendix to its Service Coordinator Resource Guide that reviews strategies and considerations for virtual Service Coordination.
"In spring 2020, many properties had to abruptly transition to virtual service coordination in order to continue supporting residents while adhering to their state or locality’s social distancing guidelines in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Other circumstances such as a weather emergency may also trigger the need for a virtual service coordination protocol," reads HUD's publication.
In its guide, HUD emphasizes the increased risk for social isolation, loneliness, and depression for older adults in HUD-assisted housing during a pandemic or other event that necessitates physical distancing. The 6-page document discusses technology and equipment needs and outlines methods for maintaining resident connection throughout remote Service Coordination, focusing on the following four areas:
- Ensuring that Service Coordinators have the Technology and Equipment to Work Off-Site
- Determining What Aspects of Service Coordination Can or Should be Done Virtually
- Maintaining Connection with Residents
- Using Technology to Engage with Residents
To maintain a strong virtual connection to residents, the new guide includes a sample resident "check-in" schedule for Service Coordinators working remotely. The guide also recommends that housing staff ask residents questions about their access to doctors, prescriptions, and food; their physical and emotional health; and the level of support they receive from friends and family to help with daily activities.
While HUD encourages housing communities to adapt Service Coordination programs during any event that shifts staff and activities off-site, the new appendix warns grant-funded Service Coordinators that they are not currently authorized to increase the overall cost of the program to enable virtual Service Coordination.
The new virtual Service Coordination guide is available here. More HUD resources are available on the HUD Exchange webpage for Multifamily Housing Programs for Vulnerable Populations.