Private Organization Accreditation

Lutheran Social Services of New England is a high-performing nonprofit organization. LSS is a powerful difference maker and go-to resource, driving ourselves to constantly anticipate futures that are different from the past. For 140 years, LSS has been caring for people in need in New England.


Mike Angstadt

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. read more>>


Individuals and families that use Housing Stabilization and Community Living Services obtain and maintain stable housing in the community and strengthen personal support systems in order to live as independently as possible.

HSCL 6: Service Components

The organization provides services that meet immediate needs and encourage the development of personal support systems and independence in community-based, safe, minimally intrusive, and accessible housing.

Interpretation: Programs that provide some or all supportive services listed in HSCL 6 through collaborative arrangements with other service providers need to show evidence of coordination with and monitoring of services received from collaborating organizations.

Research Note: Research suggests that programs without prerequisites for service are effective at achieving positive housing outcomes for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. For example, programs utilizing a Housing First approach have yielded high housing retention rates, low recidivism rates, and reduced utilization of crisis and emergency medical services among program participants.

Rating Indicators
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • A description of services
    • Procedures for recruiting and retaining landlords
    • Documentation of case review
    • Procedures outlining how to make appropriate referrals
    • Written agreements with collaborating organizations
    • Documentation in case records for referrals made in response to identified service needs
    • Evidence of coordination with and monitoring of services received from collaborating organizations
    • Criteria for making group assignments
    • Interview:
      1. Program personnel
      2. Program director
      3. Individuals or families served
    • Review case records
    • Observe facilities and settings

  • HSCL 6.01

    Housing Stabilization and Supported Community Living Services are provided in community settings that are readily accessible to public transportation, shopping, and community-based services and resources.

  • HSCL 6.02

    The organization considers the unique characteristics of service recipients when grouping people together.

    Interpretation: Characteristics that may be considered can include the number of individuals grouped together, age, special needs, gender, gender identity, and gender expression. All service recipients should be treated according to their self-identified gender, meaning that transgender and gender non-conforming service recipients should be given access to sleeping quarters, bathroom facilities, and services based on their stated gender, not their assigned sex at birth, in accordance with applicable federal and state law. 

    NA The organization only provides homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services and does not offer housing services directly to service recipients.

  • HSCL 6.03

    Housing services include:

    1. information about community housing options;
    2. assistance obtaining a safe, stable living environment, including housing search support;
    3. assistance applying for rental subsidy or other financial aid programs;
    4. education on tenant rights and responsibilities;
    5. a process to alert service staff when an individuals’ rent is overdue and to help prevent rent arrears from mounting;
    6. advocacy for safe, affordable, appropriate housing;
    7. tenancy supports; and
    8. the coordination of landlord supports, if applicable.

    Interpretation: Housing is the primary focus of homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services. Homeless and at-risk households face a number of barriers to obtaining and maintaining housing, two of the most significant being tenant screening barriers and housing retention barriers. Individuals struggle to obtain housing when they have poor credit histories, past evictions, unpaid debts, or criminal involvement (tenant screening barriers), and previous housing issues such as the inability to pay rent or fulfill lease requirement (housing retention barriers) make it difficult to maintain housing. 

    Homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs offer tenancy supports to individuals to not only help them resolve past housing barriers and current housing crises, but also avoid accumulating new barriers (e.g. evictions or lease violations). Tenancy supports assist individuals in understanding the requirements of their lease; budgeting; basic landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities; and conflict avoidance or resolution.

    Note: Element (h) does not apply to organizations that own, lease, or manage any apartments, or other community living arrangements.

    Note: Programs providing homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services should refer to the Interpretation at HSCL 5.02 for information about housing-specific service goals.

    NA The service population is limited to children and youth for whom living independently is not an alternative.

  • HSCL 6.04

    The organization provides case management and services that are individually tailored to the needs and preferences of individual service recipients.

    Interpretation: One of the most important aspects of care for victims of human trafficking and other forms of trauma is to be able to develop a consistent, trusting relationship with one staff person who serves as the central coordinator for the full myriad of needed services.

    Interpretation: In rapid re-housing programs, service recipients choose when, where, and how often case management meetings occur. Services should be delivered either in the service recipient’s home or in a location of their choosing whenever possible.

  • HSCL 6.05

    Skills training is offered to service recipients, as needed, and includes:

    1. activities of daily living;
    2. household management;
    3. budgeting and money management;
    4. credit and debt counseling;
    5. personal safety;
    6. navigating access to community resources;
    7. information about mainstream benefits and employment; and
    8. interpersonal communication such as conflict avoidance or resolution.

    Interpretation: Skills training promotes independence, development of personal support systems, and/or housing stability.

    NA The service population is limited to children and youth for whom living independently is not an alternative.

  • FP
    HSCL 6.06

    Health services include:

    1. routine medical and dental care;
    2. clinical services, including substance use and mental health services;
    3. medication management and/or monitoring;
    4. developmentally appropriate information, including pregnancy prevention, family planning, safe and healthy relationships, and prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases; and
    5. harm reduction.

    Interpretation: Programs that do not provide health services directly should arrange or coordinate services when the service recipient indicates a need and willingness to utilize health services, either through informal or formal agreements with local healthcare providers.

    Interpretation: When an organization does not provide linkages to family planning services because doing so is counter to its mission or beliefs, the organization should disclose this fact to service recipients and provide individuals with a list of other community providers that offer pregnancy support and education services.

    Interpretation: Individuals recovering from an illness or injury should be connected with medical respite care services, if available. Such programs provide a safe environment for individuals experiencing homelessness whose medical conditions do not warrant continued hospitalization, but where staying on the street or in a shelter would make recovery more difficult or impossible.

    Interpretation: Medical and dental assessments for children and youth should be conducted in accordance with well-child guidelines. See also, RPM 3, Medication Control and Administration.

    Interpretation: Transgender service recipients may need assistance accessing specialized medical services and should be referred to appropriate providers in the community, as needed.

    Interpretation: Harm reduction is a public health strategy that aims to prevent behaviors that can have negative outcomes and/or reduce the negative outcomes associated with that behavior. The interventions and goals used will vary depending on the behavior that is targeted and the population, for example preventing pregnancy among youth or reducing harm from continued substance use among adults.

    Research Note: Trafficking victims commonly suffer from multiple physical and psychological health issues as a result of inhumane living conditions, isolation, poor sanitation and hygiene, malnutrition, physical and emotional abuse from their traffickers, dangerous working situations, alcohol and other drug use, and overall lack of health care.  

    Research Note: Homeless youth experience multiple barriers to accessing physical and mental health care, including distrust in adults and institutional settings, limited knowledge of available services, and lack of health insurance, transportation, and culturally competent care that is safe and friendly for youth who identify as LGBTQ. 

  • HSCL 6.07

    Supportive services include, as needed:

    1. educational services, including G.E.D. preparation;
    2. crisis intervention;
    3. transportation;
    4. legal assistance;
    5. case advocacy;
    6. parent education and family support;
    7. child care;
    8. mainstream benefits/income support enrollment;
    9. help with basic literacy;
    10. help with basic computer literacy; and
    11. social, cultural, recreational, and religious/spiritual activities.

    Interpretation: Housing needs and client choice guide the delivery of homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services. Service recipients should determine the supports that they need to resolve their current housing crisis and prevent future episodes of housing instability.

  • HSCL 6.08

    Employment and vocational support include helping service recipients:

    1. develop work habits, skills, and self-awareness essential to employability;
    2. write resumes, complete job applications, and prepare for interviews; 
    3. find and access local employment resources and placement options, including on-the-job training;
    4. secure childcare while attending interviews; and
    5. travel to interviews and places of employment. 

    NA The organization only provides homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services and does not offer employment and vocational support to service recipients.

  • HSCL 6.09

    The organization provides time-limited financial assistance to subsidize housing costs which may include:
    1. relocation or moving costs; 
    2. security deposits; 
    3. rent payments; 
    4. utility deposits and/or payments; or
    5. other forms of temporary aid that address barriers to housing, such as child care or transportation assistance.

    Interpretation: Homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs should aim to provide the lowest level of financial assistance for the shortest period of time possible while still assuring strong housing stability outcomes. Programs can employ this approach by limiting the amount and duration of assistance to only what is necessary for the individual or family to obtain or maintain housing.

    NA The organization does not provide financial assistance.

  • HSCL 6.10

    The organization establishes strategies for recruiting and retaining landlords in order to maximize housing options for service recipients with tenant screening barriers.

    NA The organization owns, leases, or manages apartments, or other community living arrangements.

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