Pen portraits

1. A “pen portrait” of a resident in supported housing is a brief written description of the individual, including information about their background, needs, and current circumstances.

2. The term is not part of any specific official terminology and it is more common to find terms such as “support assessment”, “support needs assessment” or “support plan”, to describe the process of identifying and documenting the needs and goals of residents. A “pen portrait” may, however,  be a useful additional way of capturing and conveying relevant information about a resident in certain circumstances such as a benefit appeal.

3. A “pen portrait” would typically include details such as:

  1. the individual’s age, gender, housing history and requirements,
  2. information on the individual’s current needs and circumstances including:
    1. any medical conditions or disabilities they have,
    2. information on state benefits the resident is receiving,
    3. the support they are currently receiving (such as from community psychiatric nurses, or with budgeting and managing finances),
    4. information on the individual’s education level, current skills, experience and qualifications,
    5. current circumstances such as looking for employment and receiving support with job searching and interview skills,
    6. connections to local people, services and facilities,
    7. any potential risks or concerns related to the individual’s well-being,
    8. information on the support provided to them and the progress they made, and
    9. hobbies and interests.


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