NSO Bell Building Project
The Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) rehabilitated the historic former Michigan Bell Building on Oakman Boulevard, helping to revitalize the surrounding north-central Detroit neighborhood. The NSO Bell Building is a groundbreaking effort that provides supportive housing for adults experiencing homelessness, and it is also the home of the new NSO headquarters.
The $50 million community investment provides 155 safe, fully furnished, one-bedroom apartments for adults who have formerly experienced homelessness adults, along with a gym, chapel, art studio, music room, and computer lab. NSO provides mental health, addiction treatment, intensive case management, financial literacy, nutrition classes and other on-site support in one location to better help residents restore their lives. A health care clinic is located in the building for residents and the community to utilize. The facility also includes amenities such as a gym, library, computer room, art and music rooms, and a chapel.
CSH provided technical assistance to the sponsor, a $50,000 Project Initiation Loan, a $1.3M Bridge Loan and an allocation of New Market Tax Credits that leveraged $2M in equity and $5M in debt for the project.
Impact and Outcomes
The project opened in the fall of 2012 and houses both tenants in their homes and NSO staff in their working environment. The NSO Bell Building is expected to save taxpayers more than $5 million annually, as some estimates show that a single person experiencing chronic homelessness can cost taxpayers $50,000 or more a year in police calls, ambulance calls, emergency room visits, and time spent in the hospital — all paid for with public dollars.
“We serve a very large homeless population, and our philosophy is, the way you end homelessness, is you house them. We wanted our project to be part of a revitalization effort, and really feel like we were going to help a community, but the number one goal was to end homelessness,” says NSO President and CEO Sheilah P. Clay.
"We serve a very large homeless population, and our philosophy is, the way you end homelessness, is you house them. We wanted our project to be part of a revitalization effort, and really feel like we were going to help a community, but the number one goal was to end homelessness," says NSO President and CEO Sheilah P. Clay.
"CSH gets it when it comes to supportive housing and they are willing to work in partnership with developers to tailor their support and products to get the deal done." Joe Heaphy, NSO Vice-President of Real Estate Development and Management