When I first began working in the housing field, I was an Activity Director for an Elderly/Disabled subsidized apartment building in New Haven, CT. The building had 144 apartments with residents ranging from 24 to 94 years old. Within six months, my position evolved into a Resident Services Coordinator, better known as an RSC. I worked with local agencies to bring programs to the residents and connect residents with community resources. It was a challenging position, but also a very rewarding one.
What is a Resident Services Coordinator?
A Resident Services Coordinator (RSC) is an asset to any housing program. The RSC acts as a buffer between residents and management, and connects residents with local service agencies. They work with the property manager to ensure that residents are provided with programs to enhance quality of life. They work with residents to encourage self-sufficiency and promote inclusion and tolerance within the community. Their responsibilities often mirror those of a case manager, but the RSC is available to all tenants of a building or series of properties.
RSCs are mainly found at Elderly or Elderly/Disabled properties. For case managers and housing specialists, engaging with an RSC is vital to the successful housing of clients. The relationship allows greater communication and education, which enhances everyone personally and professionally.
Goal of Connecting with an RSC
Connecting with the RSC is for the benefit of the client and the property. The client will need assistance maintaining lease obligations as well as adjusting to being in an apartment of their own. The property staff may need education and support in working with clients who have been homeless with various mental health issues. Education can be provided to property staff in a number of ways that will not compromise the personal information of the individual client. Workshops will be held for staff giving general information on mental health disorders or substance abuse. Specific training for dealing with agitated or forgetful residents can provide a broad knowledge across a range of conditions.
In many situations, the RSC is the person who will alert the case manager of a situation with a client. This can be something as simple as a missed rent payment, or something more concerning like an apartment in unhealthy conditions.
A Process of Giving
Now that I am a Housing Specialist, I work closely with the Resident Service Coordinators at several properties and find that I worry less about my clients being on their own. The RSCs will contact me as soon as a rent payment is late, or at the first sign that something is not right in an apartment. We work together with the client to address the situation. At the same time, I support management with their properties and am always eager to assist in speaking with residents on various topics.
On a recent visit to a property, the RSC alerted me to a client who had begun hoarding. We were able to intervene and establish a plan that management could use to address any health and safety issues. In addition, I have begun to educate the staff about hoarding. In helping them to understand mental health issues, we in turn are protecting the wellbeing of our clients.
When There is No RSC
Many of the smaller properties that are not federally or state-funded will not be able to support a Resident Services Coordinator. At these properties, similar issues may arise for your clients and the property’s tenants. While our time is very valuable and often in high demand, a housing specialist or case manager can work with a landlord or property owner to provide education and direction.
The ultimate goal in any housing situation is to create a healthy environment for our clients, which will ultimately create a positive living situation for other tenants as well. Use the RSC as a resource or reach out to a landlord or property manager. You will find the rewards multiply with every successfully housed and happy client.
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