Service Unit Glossary


These definitions and units of measure may be used as a basis to develop measurable service units to be identified in your application and, if applicable, a city contract with your program. This list is not exhaustive. If you do not find an appropriate definition to match your service, call the staff person for a city to which you are applying to discuss other possible service units that may be acceptable.

Adult Day Care: Provision for older adults or people with disabilities, a place for mental and physical renewal as well as socialization. Measured by days of care, or in the case of a voucher program, by program slot. (See Child Care)

Advocacy: Intervention/contact on behalf of a client when the individual cannot represent themselves effectively. Measured by contact. This is calculated by multiplying the number of persons involved in the contact or session by the number of contacts or sessions.

Basic Needs Supplies:  Supplies that meet basic needs (e.g. diapers, formula, hygiene items).  Measured by item or bundle of items.

Case Management: Comprehensive treatment approach for a single individual involving personal counseling and liaison with other providers to ensure coordination and consistent care. Measured per case manager session. It is presumed that the case manager will deal with one client at a time. If there is more than one client, multiply the number of clients by the number of sessions.

Child Care (See also Therapeutic Day Care): Supervised care for children. Measured by child care day. A child care day is a full-time unit of program service which usually consists of care of 8 to 12 hours per day. In after school care programs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day for five days per week, can equate to full time care day.

Chore Services/In-Home Care: Essential transportation, light housekeeping or maintenance, meal preparation, yard work, respite, assisting with mobility and personal care. Measured per hour of service provided.

Clothing Bank: A source of previously used clothing for low- and moderate- income persons. Measured by visit. A visit is counted when individuals referred from social service agencies pick up the number of clothes authorized.

Counseling (e.g., Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse, Housing, Employment): In-person individual, family or group consultations with, for example: (1) a professional counselor (with license or certification, where relevant), (2) a psychologist, or a psychiatrist for problem solving, (3) a housing advocate. Specify whether individual or group. Measured per counseling hour session. This is calculated by multiplying the number of persons counseled by the number of counseling hours/sessions. Estimate the length of a session if less than one hour.

Crisis Line: A centralized telephone line where staff or trained volunteers offer emotional support, crisis intervention and problem solving. Measured by crisis call.

Dental Care: Emergency and routine dental care performed by a dentist or dental assistant, including cleaning, education, extractions, fillings, root canals, dentures and follow-up. Measured by client visits.

Drop In Visit: A visit to a drop-in center or other facility or program open to clients to access a variety of services, including U&R, job search, housing search, basic needs, socialization, and other resources. Measured by client visits.

Early Learning:  Activities promoting learning in children 0-5.  Can be home-based, center-based, school-based, or in the community.  Measured by hours of service, number of groups, or day.

Employment Services: Services in support of a client’s obtaining employment including job counseling, help with job seeking and retention skills, job search workshops, development of employability plans, and individualized job development as needed. Measured by client/service contact. Again, if more than one person is served at the same time, multiply service contact by the number of persons served.

Financial Aid: Interim case assistance for bus fare, vouchers to prevent eviction, tuition waiver, and fees for books and supplies. Measured by individuals or households assisted.

Food: Meals, prepared food pack, nutrition services at senior centers or for the homebound, or bags of food given out at food banks. Measured by meal equivalent. The meal equivalent will be negotiated at the time of contracting.

Home visits:  In home services provided for family-focused services to expectant parents and families with new babies and young children.  They address issues such as maternal and child health, positive parenting practices, early childhood learning, safe home environments, and access to services.  Also includes in home services for seniors or people with disabilities.  Measured by hours of service or number of visits.

House Rehabilitation: Physical rehabilitation of houses to prolong their life and preserve housing units for low- and moderate-income persons. Measured by number of houses or rental units rehabilitated.

Information and Referral: Services to improve citizen access to social services such as child care, counseling, etc. Measured by contact.

Interpretation/Translation: Written and oral interpretations services provided to limited English speaking persons or the hearing impaired. Measured by client contact.

Legal Services: In person legal help through self-help workshops (where pro se legal assistance is given), lectures with legal information, limited direct representation (where an attorney meets with an individual representing himself or herself and assists the client directly with court proceedings), or direct representation by a lawyer. Measured by client contact or session. To calculate, if there are several persons in a group session, multiply the number of clients times the number of contracts or sessions.

Medical Care: Face-to-face visit with nurse practitioner or doctor for diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness and minor injuries, health screening, preventative health service, and/or linkages to free and low cost ancillary, specialty, and inpatient health service. Measured by patient visit.

Mentoring:  Relationship in which a more experienced person (mentor) assists another (mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person's academic, personal, or professional growth.  Measured by hours of service, number of contacts, or number of matches.

Outreach: Contacts by telephone or in person to acquaint potential clients with a range of services available, or to demonstrate to possible volunteer providers (e.g. safe homes or chore services) opportunities to provide volunteer services. Measured by telephone call or client/provider contact. If outreach is offered in the form of a group meeting, multiply the meeting times the number present.

Placement: Referrals to the next step in the recovery pattern, educational ladder, or training program. Measured when the placement occurs.

Shelter: Night of shelter in: a homeless shelter, a hotel with a voucher, or a safe home. Measured by bednights. A bednight equals one night of shelter per person.

Support Group: Emotional support, efforts to build self-esteem, information about the dynamics of social interactions and/or options available to clients as needed. This does not include professional therapist’s intervention. Measured by group counseling hours.

Technical Assistance: Assistance/service provided by staff to an outside agency, service or community group, where the staff has a specific level of expertise/knowledge. Measured by hours of service.

Tenant Services: Services designed to prevent eviction by teaching rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants as well as offering a crisis line. Measured by contact or call, depending on service provided.

Therapeutic Day Care (See Child Care): Day care for children or adults, plus comprehensive assessment, social work, physical, occupational, speech therapies, special education, foster care placement and coordination or services with Child Protective Services, doctors, and/or Department of Public Health as required. Measured by therapeutic care day.

Training/Workshops/Classes: Classroom instruction to provide skills information in a variety of areas specified by the agency. Measured by number of client hours per classroom session.

Transitional Housing: Housing that has the purpose of facilitating the movement of homeless individuals or families to independent living, usually within two years or less. Measured by bednight.

Transportation: Door-to-door transit for the elderly or people with disabilities to appointments. Measured by one-way trip.

Tutoring: One-on-one teaching to overcome learning problems or illiteracy. Measured by client tutoring session.

Youth Services: A variety of services for persons under the age of 18 with the objective of resolving serious problems at home, in school or in the community, including information and referral, outreach and counseling. Measured by call (information and referral), contact/session (outreach) and hour/session (counseling).