Carolyn Powell is the former Chairperson of the Board of Services for the UnderServed (SUS) and served as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of CSH from 2001 until 2009.
Q: Why did you come back to CSH?
CSH is a great organization. It is like the hub of a wheel connecting all the pieces with leadership, drive, resources, and forward thinking. CSH helps everyone understand in a holistic way the different components of the industry that have to come together to drive solutions. Coming back presented an opportunity to assess what is happening at the national level and apply that to what is happening locally here in New York City and State.
Q: What excites you most about CSH’s work in supportive housing?
CSH is helping the industry to define who is best served by supportive housing - who is that vulnerable population- and then work back from there to align the systems and organizations to meet the needs. When I first started at CSH the focus was on the street homeless population and now it is more than just that – not just individuals – we are looking at families, looking at populations overall such as veterans… and that is exciting. To see how far supportive housing has to come as a solution for so many is really exciting and CSH is at the front of that effort.
CSH’s work around linking health and housing and bringing the healthcare industry to the table is critical. It’s an ongoing and evolving conversation that will have lasting impact on the industry and the people and families in supportive housing.
Q: Where do you see the supportive housing industry in 10 years?
CSH understands the role of education for all levels of government, funders and supportive housing providers, to become well informed. I worry though about the current political environment and the impact that may have down the road. Will there be sufficient resources and support for government investments like Medicaid and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit in 10 years?
As an organization and an industry, we will need more research to continue prove the cost effectiveness of supportive housing and the impact it has on individuals and families. At the end of the day that’s what this is about. This information is key so policy and decision makers know what they need to do and why they need to do it…at all levels of government.
Q: What trends are you seeing in the nonprofit industry – in terms of capacity and infrastructure?
Overall, nonprofits are under pressure to demonstrate results to get initial and re-investment from funders. Organizations need to be more robust and sophisticated in strategic thinking and planning with a focus on measuring and generating program results. This means investing in quality staff and systems for research and information technologies. Nonprofits today need to be nimble in responding to how funding sources are looking more for metrics and results.