Friday, May 16, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Wrap Around Services

Wrap Around Services is the term given to the practice of providing, or making available, all the various services that a person might need.  In the case of homelessness, wrap around services are provided so to stabilize and house a homeless person.   Often, the terms "wrap around services" and "continuum of care" are used interchangeably.    Continuum of Care is the name given to the official US government program whereby communities can get funding for the wrap around services they provide.

It seems that the term "Continuum of Care" came from the health care industry in reference to major illnesses such as cancer, where as the term "Wrap Around Services" was developed in the psychiatric field, namely for children with mental health issues and their families.

A difference could be made by saying that Continuum of Care consists of housing and wrap around services, and that Wrap Around Services could be the designation for everything done for the homeless person outside of housing.   But again, it does not seem that homeless services do not make such a clear distinction.

Because so many different professions and different government departments have worked on the homeless issue independently of each other, they have inevitably developed different jargon and definitions.   Homelessness care is still in its early stages of development so it will be a while before the language of the work is honed down to single specific terms.

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