Supportive Housing Scattered-Site Ownership

General Model Description
In a Supportive Housing Scattered-Site Ownership model the supportive housing units are acquired and operated by a non-profit organization (or mission focused for profit organization) and dispersed among multiple buildings or properties in a community which may include a range of housing types from condominiums, apartments, or single family homes. This model provides a great opportunity to integrate supportive housing units in the general community, while maximizing available housing stock to achieve a range of housing types and unit sizes. Property management of the units is handled 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?
    Supportive housing is a combination of affordable housing and supportive services designed to help vulnerable individuals and families use stable housing as a platform for health, recovery and personal growth. It focuses on balancing three distinct components — housing, supportive services, and property and housing management.Supportive housing targets households whose heads of household are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or are inappropriately staying in an institution. They may be facing multiple barriers to employment and housing stability, including mental illness, substance use, and/or other disabling or chronic health conditions. The populations that can benefit from supportive housing may also include:

    • Single adults, youth, families, and seniors experiencing long-term homelessness accompanied by a disability,
    • People cycling in and out of jail or hospitals due to untreated health or mental health issues,
    • Families or young adults involved with the child welfare system with risk factors for homelessness,
    • Veterans experiencing homelessness with a disability, and
    • People with disabilities living in segregated institutional settings who can or choose to live in the community independently.

    There is evidence that the scattered-site model of supportive housing provides successful community-based options for all populations.

  2. How is homelessness defined? 
  3. How is a person with disability defined?
  4. What is Olmstead and how does it have an 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?




Ownership, Partnership, and Operations Key Considerations

  1. What are the benefits and challenges of acquiring and operating supportive housing units located across scattered-site properties?
  2. What are the different housing types that can be created under a Scattered-Site Ownership Supportive Housing Model?
  3. What are the strategies for locating properties for scattered-site ownership developments?
    Just like any other affordable or supportive housing development or other real estate decision, the prospective owner must complete full due diligence to understand the neighborhood and property conditions, and the demand for supportive housing in the community. An important component of integrated supportive housing is that there are neighborhood amenities and services that can meet the needs and desires of the prospective residents.Clusters of properties in close proximity to one another can assist to achieve economies of scale for property management and service delivery. Costs for operating scattered site affordable and supportive housing will need to include costs associated with staffing, travel, and maintenance across the multiple sites.When considering a strategy to put units on-line that could create supportive housing in a scattered site model, whether ownership or leasing,  the owner must understand the income limitations of the target population and have a budget that will support leasing to people with very low-incomes, and recruit the rental assistance resources as discussed further below.

    Accessing properties out of foreclosure could be a viable strategy to accumulate properties for a scattered-site supportive housing development. A developer or owner moving forward on this type of strategy must be fully aware of the market and property conditions, concentrate their purchases in a community that has demand for supportive housing, has access to a network of service supports for residents. Building a relationship with financial institutions and other entities that hold a portfolio of property may help to reduce some of the staff time required to identify available properties, however it would not remove the need for due diligence in the review of neighborhood and property conditions, and understanding the cost of operating the multiple properties. At this time, many of the properties remaining or newly processed in foreclosure may have significant market and property deficiencies.

  4. Is it advisable to hold ownership of the scattered-site properties in a single ownership or multiple ownership entities?
  5. What are the roles and responsibilities for key partners needed to successfully develop and operate a Scattered-Site Ownership Supportive Housing Model?
  6. How can project partners ensure accountability to roles and responsibilities through the entire development timeline, including operations?
  7. Is there a ratio of general housing units to supportive housing units that could impact the marketability of the non-supportive housing units?
  8. What is the role of a condominium association in the acquisition of a supportive housing unit in a condominium development?
  9. What are best practices for property management for a Scattered-Site Ownership Supportive Housing Model?
  10. 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 this Scattered Site Ownership Supportive 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?
  8. How do tenants living in a Scattered Site Ownership model connect with community resources?
    The proximity to community resources from the property location is important, but of equal importance is the ability and comfort at which tenants can access those resources. For this model, where the location is pre-determined all efforts must be made to help identify and create linkages to resources.  It’s important to remember that some tenants may be new to the neighborhood where the property is located.A simple, but very helpful way to create linkages to community resources is including detailed information during the initial lease-up process, such as a neighborhood welcome package. This can include:

    • Location, transit options, hours of operations, and websites/phone numbers to access:
      • Public Libraries
      • Park districts
      • Local YMCAs, community centers, and/or other nearby fitness facilities (and any applicable discounts)
      • Community hospital, health centers, emergency rooms, urgent clinics
      • Grocery stores
      • Pharmacies
      • Local police station and fire department
      • Upcoming community and neighborhood events
    • Neighborhood associations
    • Community news blogs, Facebook groups, email lists, etc.
    • Community meetings with elected officials, local police districts, closest fire department
    • Elected officials representing the neighborhood
  9. How can Scattered Site Ownership models maximize tenant involvement in the property to promote integration?



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. What are strategies to provide services on and off site?
  5. How can service provider partners work with supportive housing tenants and property management to prevent evictions and keep unit turnover low? 
  6. What should an owner know about service delivery to supportive housing tenants?


Financing Considerations

  1. What capital resources are available to acquire and rehabilitate housing units under a Scattered-site Ownership Model?
  2. How is the operating budget impacted when a 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? 
  5. How can rental assistance be used to create supportive housing in a scattered site ownership model?



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