The Missouri Foundation for Health pilot program Show Me Healthy Housing continues to expand in size and scope. The effort provides funding to health-related nonprofit agencies for the construction of housing as well as the provision of case management and health care services for their clients. This project is based around the concept of supportive housing, a strategy which is growing in popularity, especially after high-profile successes in places like Utah.
The philosophy of supportive housing, which combines affordable housing with supportive services for individuals with one or more health conditions, is showing great promise in reducing Medicaid costs and improving health outcomes.
For the first time in the Foundation’s history, they have created a program-related investment (PRI) to help fund some of the work of their Show Me Healthy Housing partners. A PRI is a loan (at or below market rate) used to finance projects that might not come to fruition otherwise. PRIs offer certain benefits that regular grantmaking does not. Advantages include helping nonprofits establish credit, offering them experience with financial management, and attracting additional lenders to their projects. Not only that, since the loans are eventually repaid to the lending foundation, the money can be “recycled” to help even more people.
The Foundation’s $1.5 million, five-year PRI was given to the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), a national nonprofit community development financial institution recognized for expertise in supportive housing and lending, to fund pre-development loans for nonprofits building supportive housing. The new Show Me Healthy Housing Loan Fund is combined with approximately $4 million that CSH set aside for work in Missouri.
CSH is an established partner in the Foundation’s supportive housing work, having joined forces to create the inaugural Missouri Supportive Housing Institute in 2015. During the four-month program, four nonprofit organizations met to learn and collaborate as they developed a detailed supportive housing plan to serve their target populations. In May of 2016, one of the participating groups, Gateway Housing First, became the first recipient of funding from the Show Me Healthy Housing Loan Fund.
Funding for Gateway Housing First will go toward the creation of Nathaniel Rivers Place, 32 proposed apartments that will offer permanent, affordable supportive housing for people with disabilities, serious health conditions, and histories of homelessness in St. Louis. It will include five separate buildings – one multi-family building containing 24 units of one- and two-bedroom apartments, common spaces, offices, and space to provide services. Across the street, there will be four duplex-style buildings, containing eight three-bedroom units.
“Both the institute and the loan fund are already helping build capacity in the supportive housing field in our service area,” explained Jean Freeman-Crawford, a program officer at the Foundation. “We worked to establish a pipeline where nonprofits learn how to create supportive housing at the institute, and then can obtain financing for that project from the loan fund. That pre-development financing is a critical need, especially for those nonprofits who have never previously built supportive housing.”
In addition to CSH’s supportive housing investments in our region, we will collaborate with the Foundation again in 2017 with an expanded Missouri Supportive Housing Institute. Thanks to new partnerships in its second year, the institute will accept participants from anywhere in Missouri, not just in our service area. The Institute is tentatively scheduled for March through June of 2017 in Jefferson City. Join our mailing list to keep up with this and other upcoming MFH opportunities.