Q: Why did you join the CSH Board?
Supportive housing is my passion- the reason I have chosen a career in affordable housing finance. In my first job out of college, I spent four years working for the New York City Department of Homeless Services, where I learned first-hand the importance of providing supportive services to families and singles who were homeless. While people in shelter definitely need decent, affordable housing options, the mental health, substance abuse and job development services were critical to their long-term success and stability. Through my involvement with CSH, I hope to make some small contribution to providing housing to the most vulnerable people.
Q: What excites you the most about CSH’s work in supportive housing?
CSH is taking a multi-pronged approach to building capacity in the supportive housing field. By providing thought leadership and capital to its member organizations as well as contributing to cutting-edge ideas on the policy-front, CSH has been able to have great impact. Marry this level of effectiveness with the organization’s ambitious goals (like ending homeless!), and you get a group of highly-motivated, effective people working to make the world a better place. Who wouldn’t be excited by that?
Q: What do you see as the most important development in lending for supportive housing?
Educating traditional lenders in the housing space about supportive housing is a critically important development in supportive housing finance. To date, many lenders have seen supportive housing as its own, separate and perhaps “more risky” product type. As a result, it’s a part of the affordable housing industry where capital has not flowed as efficiently as others. CSH has helped to fill the gaps left by conventional lenders and in doing so has provided countless examples of how this lending is safe and prudent. When CSH and others provide this “proof of concept”, more conventional lenders gain comfort with the supportive housing model, which drives down the cost of capital and facilitates the development of more units.
Q: Where do you see the supportive housing industry in 10 years?
I have no doubt that health care reform and the changes to Medicaid will have a profound impact on the industry over the next several years. It is my hope that, with CSH’s efforts and leadership, the supportive housing industry will find ways to leverage the changing health care landscape for the benefit of the most-vulernable populations.
Rachel Diller is a Vice President of the Finance Division of Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.