Supportive Housing Single Site Model

General Model Description
In a Supportive Housing Single Site model all units within a single property or building provide housing for a range of supportive housing populations including people experiencing homelessness, persons with disabilities (including Olmstead populations and other at-risk populations). Supportive Housing Single Site models provide opportunity for independent living for supportive housing populations combined with supportive services and peer support to help promote housing stability. This model provides a great opportunity to achieve integration of a range of supportive housing populations. 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
  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?
  7. What are the best strategies for serving mixed supportive housing populations in a single site development?
    Single site supportive housing developments, where all units are targeting supportive housing populations, do not necessarily serve a single target population, such as when all units are targeted to Veterans experiencing homelessness or persons with mental illness. One strategy to promote integration within a single site development is to target a variety of supportive housing populations, such as creating 2, 3, 4 bedroom units for families experiencing homelessness and studios or 1 bedroom units for single adults with a disability. More single site supportive housing projects are also offering housing to people with any type of disability, often times referred to as ‘disability neutral’, rather than providing housing to one type of disability. This approach may include both visible and invisible disabilities of varying natures and it is likely to have residents of various ages as well.While it is a best practice to offer access to a common set of services options such as for health, mental health, employment, income, education, most supportive housing developments will have a combination of specific service needs. Mixing a variety of supportive housing populations may impact the supportive service partners involved. For example, if the development provides housing for Veterans, having a linkage to the local VA or Veteran services agency can help address needs that are specific to Veterans. Similarly, when serving families, it is imperative to have a partner who can focus and tailor services to children. If a development provides housing for many different populations, the number of partners will also expand.

    Strategies to support mixed populations include having a strong property management and services coordination partner. The services coordinator may deliver services to tenants, but may also be responsible for ensuring there are other service partners engaged in a formal partnership to bring a range of services for residents in the building.

    Monthly collaborative meetings that include property management, resident managers, and case managers from all services partners is a best practice, and can be administrated without violating client confidentiality. At these meetings they educate each other about their programs, as well as discuss and seek solutions to property and resident concerns. Discussions focus on housing stability and sustainability for all tenants.


Ownership, Partnership, and Operations Key Considerations

  1. What are the benefits and challenges of developing supportive housing utilizing a single site model?

    Building supportive housing units on a single site location should be considered as one approach in which communities can create permanent housing and independent living options for supportive housing populations. A single site supportive housing development provides the opportunity to target and deliver services to residents with diverse needs in a disability neutral environment. A primary benefit of the single site, 100% supportive housing model, is the long-term commitment of a large number of apartments, developed for that dedicated purpose. Requirements that the real estate be operated as supported housing for up to 30 or more years are built into the capital financing regulatory agreements, and are typically recorded as restrictions to the property deed. Other advantages of single site, 100% supportive housing, include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Single site supportive housing provides opportunity for independent living for supportive housing populations combined with services and peer support to help assure housing stability.

    • The geographic locations of supportive housing projects can be targeted with the preferences and needs of the harder to serve tenant populations in mind. Neighborhood resources and amenities, access to transportation, employment opportunities, and other specifications can be defined, sought and accommodated. • Apartments, multi-purpose rooms, offices, and common areas can be tailored to the preferences and needs of the intended tenant populations

    • Similar to other models that include capital development, the owner maintains ownership and control of the units and provides greater longevity and commitment of units for supportive housing populations.

    • The single site model leverages the resources available for affordable housing development to assist and expand housing available for supportive housing populations.

    • Since this model generally involves either new construction or acquisition and rehabilitation, the development team has the ability to select property location, physical design, unit mix, and use of space to best meet the needs of the targeted tenants and promote integration with the community Challenges of the Single site Supportive Housing Model include, but are not limited to:

    • This model requires understanding the local need for supportive housing and specific target populations. To best understand the need for supportive housing and the target populations in a specific community, developers/owners should work with the local service provider community to analyze the need based on local homelessness data and characteristics of persons with disabilities. Additional information is available on this topic in the Population Consideration section.

    • This model, as with all supportive housing, adds another partner to the development team – the role of the supportive service provider. In order to best reduce unit turnover, promote good tenant practices, and prevent eviction, coordination between property management and service provider is key.

    • Creating a standard screening criteria that recognizes and plans for supportive housing tenants with barriers can be difficult. Often times supportive housing tenants are determined to be ineligible from some rental housing, because of poor credit and rental history, criminal backgrounds, limited housing history, and more. One of the challenges for this Mixed Affordability Model 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.

    • While this model integrates a wide variety of tenant populations within the property, there are instances where independent apartments can be isolating for supportive housing tenants. To plan for and address isolation is one of the import roles of service provider(s). Also, regular check-ins between services providers and property management staff are important: as property managers tend to be the first to notice if a tenant hasn’t been seen or if a tenant has changes in their behavior.

  1. What are the different housing types that can be created under a Single Site Supportive Housing Model?
  2. What are the roles and responsibilities for key partners needed to successfully develop and operate a Single Site Supportive Housing Model?
  3. How can project partners ensure accountability to roles and responsibilities through the entire development timeline, including operations?
  4. 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 Single Site Supportive Housing Model?

    A development embracing the concept of community integration encourages interaction and participation on two levels by: 1) creating opportunities for neighbors within the property to interact and engage and 2) providing tenants with access and links to the larger community and its resources. The ultimate goal is the community accepts and values the development and its tenants.

    Traditionally, components of a development related to community integration were thought to be property location, physical design and use of space. In this Toolkit, community integration is expanded beyond traditional measures to also include interaction among tenants and neighbors and encourage access to resources in the development and the local community.

    Property owners and managers should make information known to all tenants regarding opportunities to connect with community resource such as local parks, public libraries, cultural and civic institutions, faith communities, and more. For supportive housing tenants, a key tactic to enable integration is for property management and service partners to identify opportunities for tenants to feel connected to their neighbors and surrounding community. This many include hosting or leasing space for community events that market to the surrounding neighborhood or identifying specific tenant interests or goals and supporting a connection within the community.

    Lastly, developments should include Universal Accessibility features in the all units within the property. These features broaden the range of disabilities that be served in the development promoting integration for individuals in the community that have limited housing choices.


  1. What are the best practices for managing community opposition to supportive housing?
  2. How can development location and design impact community integration?
  3. How can the development implement a standard screening criteria and process across all units without creating barriers for supportive housing applicants?
  4. How can the project use preferences to target specific supportive housing populations?
  5. What are the best practices for navigating the application and understanding responsibilities of tenancy for persons with disabilities and/or language or literacy barriers?
  6. How do reasonable accommodation and modification practices contribute to community integration and how does it work?
  7. How do tenants living in a Single Site Supportive Housing model connect with community resources?
  8. How can Single Site Supportive Housing 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. 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?
    Eviction prevention is a major role of service partners– it is important for tenant stability and helps maintain positive relationships with property management staff. Connecting tenants to other community resources and services are essential to enabling tenants to set and achieve outcomes. During the planning and construction stages of the development, the owner, property management and supportive service staff should develop an eviction prevention plan to respond to supportive housing tenants that are at-risk of eviction. Eviction is costly for all partners involved and if preventable, should be avoided. Preventing evictions can only occur if partners coordinate on a consistent basis to discuss and respond to behaviors that put tenant’s lease at-risk – including non-payment of rent, disturbing neighbors, etc.
  1. 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 Single Site Supportive Housing Model?
    Developers of multi-family housing developments can access financing from private financial institutions to acquire, construct, rehabilitate and improve new and existing properties, with the rental income they will generate from market rate rents at a level that is sufficient to pay for both property operations and debt services or payments for the loans. Supportive housing developments house individuals and families with extremely low incomes; and with corresponding lower rent levels the revenue available to cover operating and debt service is lower. Supportive housing developments must rely heavily on government flexible resources to finance the capital development costs. When a development includes a greater number of housing units (i.e. greater than 30 units) on a single site, an owner could apply for financing through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC), tax-exempt bond programs, or through other mortgage loan programs. Under the LIHTC program, private equity is invested in qualified developments in exchange for receipt of federal tax credits over the course of a ten year period. Government “soft financing programs” may also target funding for those developments that are prioritizing affordable and supportive housing.

    Some of these other government-funding sources (although limited in amounts available) include Federal Home Loan Bank – Affordable Housing Program, HOME, CDBG, State Housing Trust Fund, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) and the Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Programs.

    Some of the factors that an affect the availability of loan resources for financing supportive housing are: Limits on the amount of loan funds made available in relation to the property value, Lower rents can constrain the income stream available to repay interest and principal on debt, Lenders will require owners to invest equity to fill the gaps in the total development budget.



  1. How is the operating budget impacted when a Single site Development includes supportive housing units?
  2. What is rental assistance and how does it work? What are the available funding sources for rental assistance to create supportive housing?
  3. What are the available funding sources for rental assistance to create supportive housing?
  4. How can rental assistance be used in a Single Site Supportive Housing model?




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