Supportive Housing & Existing Affordable Housing

General Model Description
In a Supportive Housing & Existing Affordable Housing model, Supportive Housing units are set-aside within an existing affordable housing development to create opportunity for mixed tenancy and maximize new resources for property preservation. This model of housing can be created when an existing affordable housing development has vacant units that can be targeted to supportive housing populations or will be undergoing rehabilitation allowing as rehab occurs and units turnover supportive housing tenants can be targeted. Property management of the property is managed by the ownership entity or in agreement with a third party manager, depending on the housing type and the number of units.  The owner and property management coordinates with one or more supportive service partners to design and deliver services to supportive housing tenants and support housing stability.

Download this section of the toolkit for all of the answers to the questions below. 

Population Considerations

  1. What are supportive housing populations?
  2. How is homelessness defined?
  3. How is a person with disability defined?
  4. What is Olmstead and how does it have impact on supportive housing populations?
  5. How do project partners determine the demand for and market to specific supportive housing population needs in my community?
  6. What type of supports and services are needed for supportive housing populations to live independently in the community?
    Supportive Housing is more than just the addition of services a person needs while they live independently. It encompasses the ability to access services that meets the specific needs of the individual or family and the connection between services and housing stability with no time limit. As described in the CSH Dimensions of Quality Supportive Housing, all tenants should be provided with a “menu of services” that includes, at minimum, how to access case management services, medical services, mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, peer support, parenting skills, education, vocational and employment services, money management services, life skills training and advocacy. While involvement in services is encouraged, actual participation in services is voluntary for residents in community-based housing.Other supports are delivered in partnership between a property manager and the tenant’s primary supportive services provider. These supports relate to tenant rights and responsibilities that include ways to ensure lease compliance and prevent eviction.In any rental setting, the primary issues with lease non-compliance have to do with rent payment, proper maintenance or housekeeping, and respecting neighbors. Supportive services and property management staff should work collaboratively with tenants on lease compliance in the following ways:

    • Providing all supportive housing tenants with leases or subleases identical to non-supportive housing tenants — without service participation requirements or limits on length of stay (as long as lease terms are met). Ideally, the initial term of a lease or sublease is at least one year.
    • As part of the lease signing process, property/housing management staff walks tenants through the lease agreement, clearly explaining their rights and responsibilities as leaseholders. Tenants are provided with a signed copy of their lease.
    • If a tenant is behind on rent then property management enforces the lease. Supportive services staff are informed of the lease violation and work with tenants to create a rent repayment plan and ensure they have the necessary support to fulfill its terms.
    • Supportive services staff promptly notifies property management staff when they observe safety or maintenance concerns.
    • Property/housing management staff promptly notifies services staff of any unmet tenant service needs.

    Preventing eviction through property and services coordination will be a critical service to keeping people successfully in housing. Of primary importance is the creation of a comprehensive, written eviction prevention policy that details how all supportive housing partners work together to promote housing stability. If eviction occurs, there is evidence of communication between service provider and property manager/landlord, including evidence of prevention efforts (such as letters, communication, or policies in the tenant file). The following policies/procedures are NOT included in any integrate supportive housing model:

    • Evicting tenants for not participating in services or for failing to follow through on their services and/or treatment plan.
    • Evicting tenants for failing to maintain sobriety.
    • Removing tenants from housing without legal eviction proceedings.

Ownership, Partnership, and Operations Key Considerations

  1. What are the benefits and challenges of integrating supportive housing units into an existing affordable housing development?
  2. How is integrating supportive housing into an existing affordable development different than other mixed affordability models?
    This model of integrating supportive housing units into an existing affordable housing development will experience many of the same benefits and challenges as other models that mix supportive housing units within affordable housing developments.  Several of the key distinctions are:

    1. This model leverages the existing housing stock across a broad range of communities, and can help to stabilize a property by filling vacant units. Alternatively, if a property does not have vacancies, the supportive housing provider will need to work with the property owner to identify units at turnover.
    2. By leveraging existing housing stock, this model can significantly reduce the capital costs required for development of new supportive housing units. If renovations of the units are needed, the property owners may be able to access target financing from government or private sources for preservation of affordable or supportive housing units.
    3. One of the challenges for this Mixed Affordability model within an already existing development is creating a screening process that screens all tenants consistently and ensures the safety of all tenants, but also ensures that supportive housing tenants are able to access the units.
  3. 3. What are the different housing types that can be created under a Supportive Housing and Existing Affordable Housing Model?
  4. What are the roles and responsibilities for key partners needed to successfully operate a development that integrates Supportive Housing units with Existing Affordable Housing units?
  5. How can project partners ensure accountability to roles and responsibilities through the entire development timeline, including operations?
  6. What is master leasing and what partners are needed to create it?
  7. Is there a ratio of affordable to supportive housing units that will impact the marketability of the non-supportive housing units?
  8. What are the best strategies to coordinate Property Management and Supportive Services delivery to promote housing stability of supportive housing tenants?

Integration Strategies Key Considerations 

  1. What does community integration look like in a Supportive and Existing Affordable Housing Model?
  2. What are the best practices for managing community opposition to supportive housing?
  3. How can development location and design impact community integration?
  4. How can the development implement a standard screening criteria and process across all units without creating barriers for supportive housing applicants?
  5. How can the project use preferences to target specific supportive housing populations?
  6. What are the best practices for navigating the application and understanding responsibilities of tenancy for persons with disabilities and/or language or literacy barriers?
  7. How do reasonable accommodation and modification practices contribute to community integration and how does it work?
    A reasonable accommodation is a change to a rule, policy, practice, or service when necessary to allow persons with disabilities equal access to housing. A reasonable modification is a physical or structural change to housing that is necessary to afford people with disabilities equal access to the housing.Reasonable accommodation and modifications support community integration by:

    • Providing access to housing for persons with disabilities that would otherwise be determined ineligible and
    • Ensuring that current tenants with disabilities that may need accommodations or modifications can stay in housing

    To submit a request, an individual must meet the definition of disability as outlined in the Fair Housing Act, is regarded as having such a disability and has a record of such disability.

    To complete a request, an applicant or tenant must complete the following questions:

    • Describe the request:
    • A change in policy, practice, or procedure
    • A physical change in the housing unit
    • Verify the applicant/tenant meets the Fair Housing Act’s definition of disability (verification by licensed professional)
    • Describe the relationship between the person’s disability and the requested accommodation/modification (verification by licensed professional)

    For example, if an applicant is denied tenancy due to previous housing eviction, they can complete the following steps to request an accommodation.

    1. Submit a reasonable accommodation requesting a change in tenant acceptance policies because their previous eviction was due to long-term hospitalization related to their disability.
    2. Include verification from their physician verifying that they have a disability and the previous eviction was a result of a long-term hospitalization.
    3. Included letter of support from case manager demonstrating ongoing engagement with services to avoid unnecessary hospitalization


    The property management company will then review the information submitted by the applicant, make a decision regarding tenancy and notify the tenant in writing.

    While property managers are not required to inform tenants of their rights to a reasonable accommodation or modification, a statement in the application form informing applicants of these rights is a prudent practice that may eliminate some discrimination claims, and initiate communication between the applicant and the provider before a claim is filed. Also, property management staff should not ask for medical records or ask about the particular type or severity of disability.

    While there is a tremendous need for mobility accessible units, not all units need to be mobility accessible. If a unit is not accessible, a resident may request a ‘reasonable modification’. The cost to address the accommodation is the responsibility of the individual, unless the property receives federal or local housing subsidies.

  8. How do tenants living in a supportive housing and existing affordable housing model connect with community resources?
  9. How can supportive housing and existing affordable housing models maximize tenant involvement in the property to promote integration?


Supportive Services Considerations

  1. What types of services and supports are available to supportive housing tenants?
  2. What are the considerations in working with one primary service provider versus multiple service providers?
  3. What is included in the supportive services budget and how are services funded?
  4. Can non-supportive housing tenants in the development utilize services?
    Owners and property management staff should always make community service resources available to all tenants, not only supportive housing tenants. While service providers for supportive housing tenants residing in a development may not be able to provide services to non-supportive housing tenants due to service funding and budget constraints, they can provide resources, promote engagement in community activities, and their role in attempting prevent evictions is beneficial to everyone. When planning the development, identifying a variety of community resources, services and supports and providing the information to all tenants helps create linkages to services.Additionally, for non-supportive housing tenants, creating a resident services coordinator role can be a helpful resource. Resident services differ from supportive housing services by focusing mostly on creating community linkages and serving a greater number of tenants.
  5. What are strategies to provide services on and off site?
  6. How can service provider partners work with supportive housing tenants and property management to prevent evictions and keep unit turnover low?
  7. What should an owner know about service delivery to supportive housing tenants?



Financing Considerations

  1. What capital resources are available to develop a Supportive Housing and Existing Affordable Housing Model?
  2. How is the operating budget impacted if an existing affordable development includes supportive housing units? 
  3. What is rental assistance and how does it work?
  4. What are the available funding sources for rental assistance to create supportive housing?
    The most common sources available for rental assistance funding are the federal Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance, HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Grants, other HUD or federal funded rent subsidies, or State or Local Government Rental Assistance Programs.  The federal Section 8 programs are primarily administered through the state and local public housing authorities. Funding for rental assistance is very competitive.The funding source of your rental assistance for supportive housing units may dictate or impact the target population and sources of tenant applicant referrals. The rental assistance funder may require that the development target a specific sub-set of a population or may require that you receive applicant referrals from a specific source or waiting list. For example, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers are specific to Veterans that are eligible for VA health care. Rental assistance under the federal CoC program may require taking referrals from the local CoC Coordinated Intake system. These requirements can impact the procedures and partners involved in the coordination of rental assistance.Some state or local governments have rental programs that operate very similar to Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Programs. In Illinois, there are several state-funded rental assistance programs and one municipal-funded program that targets people at or below 30% of the area median income (AMI). The Rental Housing Support Program, the Long Term Operating Support Program, and the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund all provide rental assistance tied to a qualified property, based on an application submitted for funding by the property owner.In addition, to assist persons leaving institutional care in Illinois, The Bridge Rental Subsidy Program is administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and provides rental assistance paid to the owner through a “subsidy administrator.” Services providers and the subsidy administrator verify the tenancy of the eligible tenant to release payments of the subsidy.  
  5. How can rental assistance be used in a Supportive Housing and Existing Affordable Housing Model?



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