CSH’s Connecticut Supportive Housing Quality Initiative is a partnership with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and supports a sustained focus on quality improvement at both the provider and systems level. The Initiative employs multiple strategies to help providers better serve tenants and to align program operations with identified supportive housing principles and practices.
One strategy the Initiative uses is a program quality review that includes peer providers as part of the review team. Although each review is led by CSH staff, trained peers conduct chart reviews and staff/tenant interviews. They also develop recommendations and participate in a follow-up meeting to discuss results with providers.
Feedback from program directors show how the tone and nature of reviews is enhanced by peer reviewers. Including peers makes the reviews feel less punitive and more supportive. One program manager stated, “The process was extremely inclusive. Peer reviewers are so valuable because they know we have shared experiences.”
Peer reviewers value the connections that are made with other providers. “Everything I learned was helpful in strengthening my own programs. I made connections with people that carried over beyond the review process.”
Another peer reviewer feels the process helps providers better understand and overcome barriers. “It’s interesting to see the different challenges in the different areas of the state (transportation or program availability). At the same time it’s refreshing to see that there are similar statewide challenges as well.”
In addition to building a sense of community, including peer reviewers creates valuable learning opportunities for all parities involved. The process encourages knowledge exchange and provides an opportunity for peers to provide and receive technical assistance during the review process. One reviewer emphasized, “being a peer reviewer has been a wonderful learning experience which has given me more confidence in performing the essential responsibilities of my job.”