This year, Eva’s revamped its intake system by making it centralized. Any young person applying for shelter or any of our programs now has a single entry point. For youth looking for help, this makes an already stressful situation much less taxing, while allowing Eva’s staff to create a circle of care around them.
Previously, young people applied each of Eva’s shelters or programs separately. Imagine a young person finding themselves in a precarious situation and being referred to Eva’s. They may be exiting a traumatic situation. The new system allows for a simplified and easier navigation. “It reduces youth having to tell their story many times, every time they apply,” says Asmaa Mohamed, an Intake and Assessment Worker “Plus sometimes the youth does not realize the supports available. For example, I recently had a youth that applied to Phoenix but in talking with them I realized that the youth just needed some family work, so I redirected them to our Family Reconnect program.”
The system allows the Assessment and Intake staff to help the front-line workers by letting them know what to expect and helps them to set up supports in advance. “If a youth is transitioning, for example, we can have a conversation with their future roommates and start having those dialogues and ironing out any oppressive thoughts or potential problems.” Says Annik Scholz, an Intake and Assessment Worker.
The new process is now more clinical. “We take an in-depth look at a past diagnosis the youth may have. For example, if it is noted that the youth has schizophrenia, I will ask them what that means to them? Do they agree with the diagnosis? ” Says Rebekah Otim, an Intake and Assessment Worker. “We can really get to the root of it, so that youth are not walking around with labels that are inaccurate or do not serve them.”
“We have a lot more training when it comes to intersectionality,” says Asmaa “We take into consideration their the sexual orientation, their race, their country of origin, etc. and how that impacts them.”
Even if the young person doesn’t meet Eva’s eligibility criteria they may still get guidance so that no youth falls through the cracks. “Maybe they are too young or too old or we don’t have the appropriate service for them, we still make every effort possible to provide them with resources,” says Rebekah. “We are extremely well versed on what is available outside of our agency.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic protocols, Assessment and Intake workers no longer see the youth in person but do case conferences by phone or by video calls online. “It has been a smooth transition for the most part,” says Asmaa. ” The youth have been quite flexible.”
The system is more transparent and efficient. The files are now all centralized. But the true benefit of this new intake system is that it allows Eva’s staff to make an already difficult situation a little bit easier while making sure that the young person has all the appropriate resources available to them.