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Federal housing official applauds CareSource program as ‘model’

A pilot program by CareSource aimed at holistically helping the non-profit insurer’s struggling clients is getting federal attention.

Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary at U.S. Health and Human Services, visited Dayton Wednesday to learn more about the CareSource’s Life Services/JobConnect program.

The Dayton-based company has been piloting ways to help clients with other aspects of their lives that could be affecting their well being, from housing to employment to education. CareSource created a program in 2015 called Life Services, which is a voluntary program to help clients search for jobs and can coordinate support to navigate other issues like food insecurity or a lack of stable housing.

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The long-term goal is to help people become financially, emotionally and socially secure so that they are able to live subsidy-free, according to CareSource. Program clients work with life coaches, who utilizes an assessment to help them identify resource strengths and help them with emotional support, food stability, childcare, physical health or housing.

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Wagner visited the DeSoto Bass Courts, which is an affordable housing complex owned and operated by the Greater Dayton Premier Management.

The assistant secretary heard from CareSource employees and program participants along with community and nonprofit partners, who explained about how the CareSource pilot program works. Jaress McClanahan, a program client, said Life Services helped her get back on her feet after giving birth to her sick daughter.

“I had no support,” she said.

McClanahan said working with a life coach, Tania Trammell, put her on a path back to independence. She’s employed again and is working on being financially self-sustaining again. It takes, on average, about 56 days for a program member to find employment once they’ve started working with a coach, said Amy Riegel, director of CareSource’s JobConnect.

“[Tania’s] brought a lot of encouragement to my life,” she said. “Life Services has given me a spark.”

Life Services has served more than 2,921 members and 822 members have worked with coaches and placement specialists to find employment or educational opportunities. About 86 percent of members who went through the program retained employment, according to CareSource.

Wagner told this news organization that the project is model because of its success rate of program clients both landing jobs and retaining them. He said it’s community partners like CareSource that can make a bigger impact in their local communities, more than the federal government can.

CareSource serves nearly 2 million members in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Georgia.

Writer Kaitlin Schroeder contributed to this report.

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