In 2002 CSH brought together a group of leaders representing state and local governments, nonprofit developers, homeless advocates and service providers in Columbus, Ohio to discuss promising approaches in ending homelessness, build political will, attract investment opportunities and develop a plan to bring supportive housing across the nation. The result of this meeting was a Compact to End Long-term Homelessness, which included the goal of creating 150,000 supportive housing units.
Beyond this goal, however, the meeting highlighted the importance of bringing together leaders, face-to-face, to exchange ideas, best practices and examples of how their respective communities and governments were creating supportive housing. This sparked the formation of CSH's Supportive Housing Leadership Forums (SHLF).
CSH held its first Supportive Housing Leadership Forum in 2004 in Washington, D.C. with the theme: Building Better Systems to Create Supportive Housing. We asked over 200 federal, state, and local "systems builders" to attend the two-day event, and over 150 people from nearly 20 states participated. The forum focused on addressing some fundamental building blocks of systems change: leadership, collaborative planning, financial leverage, infrastructure, credible data, as well as outlining the indicators of systems change.
We have held four subsequent leadership forums featuring topics such as innovation and integration of supportive housing, to looking at the future of supportive housing. As supportive housing has matured and has been applied to many populations, so have our forums. The most recent forum focused solely on reentry supportive housing and featured leaders from various sectors of corrections, state governments, housing providers and even tenants.
The goal of our forums is simple: bring leaders together to share examples of multiple sectors working together in innovative and efficient ways to leverage the resources necessary to create and sustain supportive housing. In the past nine years, partnerships among state and local agencies, nonprofit and public sector organizations have been borne out of the dialogue of the SHLFs.