Solutions: Intensive Case Management (ICM) Teams

York University
November 17, 2014
Categories: Solutions

Intensive Case Management (ICM) teams are a team-based approach that supports individuals through a case management approach , the goal of which is to help clients maintain their housing and achieve an optimum quality of life through developing plans, enhancing life skills, addressing health and mental health needs, engaging in meaningful activities and building social and community relations. It has a moderately strong evidence base. It is designed for clients with lower acuity, but who are identified as needing intensive support for a shorter and time-delineated period.

The At Home/Chez Soi project has identified that for many clients, the first three months can be most challenging, and providing appropriate levels of support may be crucial for recovery and retention of housing.

The following are characteristics of ICM:

  • Participants’ needs will vary considerably with some individuals requiring minimum supports while others might require intensive supports for the rest of their lives.One-on-one case manager to client relationship using a recovery-oriented approach (the team of case managers many include Housing and Complementary Support Workers).
  • The case manager brokers access to mainstream services that the client identifies as needed to attain his or her goals.
  • The case manager often accompanies clients to meetings and appointments in support of their goals/needs.
  • Case managers are available on a regular schedule; caseloads are often shared to assure coverage of 7 days per week/12 hours a day.
  • The staff to client ratio is generally 1 case manager per 20 clients.
  • The duration of the service is determined by the needs of the client, with the goal of transitioning to mainstream services as soon as possible.

In the At Home/Chez Soi project, the average annual program costs (for housing and support) was $14,000 for ICM participants.

Based on the work of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Excerpted from Housing First in Canada: Supporting Communities to End Homelessness.

Stephen Gaetz is a Professor in the Faculty of Education and is the Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub. He is also President of Raising the Roof, a leading Canadian charity that focuses on long term solutions to homelessness. 

Dr. Gaetz is committed to a research agenda that foregrounds social justice and attempts to make research on homelessness relevant to policy and program development. His research on homeless youth has focused on their economic strategies, health, education and legal and justice issues, and more recently, he has focused his attention on policy and in particular the Canadian Response to homelessness.  He has recently edited two volumes on homelessness in Canada, including: Housing First in Canada – Supporting Communities to End Homelessness. (2013) and Youth homelessness in Canada: Implications for policy and practice (2013). In addition, he has published a book on community-based responses to youth problems in Ireland and written numerous reports and articles published in a wide range of peer reviewed journals. Dr. Gaetz was Associate Dean of Research and Professional Development in the Faculty of Education Prior to his time at York University, Dr. Gaetz worked in the Community Health Sector, both at Shout Clinic (a health clinic for street youth in Toronto) and Queen West Community Health Centre in Toronto.

Dr. Gaetz has played a leading international role in knowledge dissemination in the area of homelessness. York played host to 2005’s Canadian Conference on Homelessness – the first research conference of its kind in Canada. In addition, York University now hosts the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub the first comprehensive and cross-disciplinary web-based clearinghouse of homelessness research in the world. The focus of this network is to work with researchers across Canada to mobilize research so that it has a greater impact on homelessness policy and planning.  Through the CHRN Dr. Gaetz is publishing policy relevant research, including two recent reports on youth homelessness: A Safe and Decent Place to Live: Towards a Housing First Framework for Youth. (2014) and Coming of Age:  Reimagining our Response to Youth Homelessness in Canada. (2014), as well as The Canadian Definition of Homelessness (2012), The Real Cost of Homelessness. Can we save money by doing the right thing? (2012), Can I See Your ID?  The Policing of Homeless Youth in Toronto (2011), and  Family Matters: Homeless youth and Eva’s Initiatives “Family Reconnect” Program. (2011).

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The analysis and interpretations contained in the blog posts are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.