Live from #CSHSummit19: LA Accelerating Supportive Housing Initiative Wins HUD Award

As #CSHSummit19 began, we learned the 2019 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships has been awarded to the Accelerating Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative, an innovative effort that includes the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and is designed to address the state of emergency on homelessness facing the City of Los Angeles.

The partners in the Initiative - the California Community Foundation (CCF), Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Weingart Foundation, CSH, and the City of Los Angeles - finalized funding commitments for a multi-sector investment to substantially increase the number of supportive housing units in the City of Los Angeles, California.

Data has proven supportive housing is the most effective way to end chronic homelessness and is a critical piece to kick-starting solutions to this crisis. Supportive housing combines affordable housing with services that help people facing complex challenges live with stability, autonomy and dignity.

The coalition established an actionable plan – developed in partnership with nonprofit housing developers and lenders – for the City of Los Angeles to produce at least 1,000 supportive housing units per year, a 700-unit increase from historic annual production. The partnership also called upon the City to adopt policies that would accelerate supportive housing creation and dramatically reduce development timelines in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.

“We know that permanent supportive housing has a proven track record of helping those most in need, while saving government and tax-payer money,” said California Community Foundation President & CEO Antonia Hernández. “By moving frequent users of city services like jails, emergency rooms and shelters into apartments that provide much-needed social services, we’re helping our homeless neighbors stabilize and eventually become self-sufficient.”

Background Leading to Award

Over the past few years, Los Angeles has demonstrated unprecedented political will and strategic effort towards addressing the thousands of families and individuals experiencing homelessness. One key component of these efforts is to significantly increase the pipeline of new supportive housing (SH), affordable housing coupled with supportive services, to break the homelessness cycle and help vulnerable individuals get off the street. Historically, the number of SH units being developed across Los Angeles has not been nearly enough to meet the overwhelming demand.

To ensure the successful development of new SH, private foundations and CSH created the Accelerating Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative which has invested significant resources to support construction that will move thousands of Angelenos experiencing chronic homelessness into stable and safe homes. The partnership, also comprised of the California Community Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Weingart Foundation, and Kresge Foundation, is working alongside developers, providers, and lenders – along with the City Los Angeles – to increase the City’s production of SH from 300 units a year to 1,000 each year—and demonstrate how philanthropy can help jump-start growth.

The group has focused on both preparing SH developers to effectively utilize public funds and create high-quality housing, as well as providing upfront resources to leverage public monies. To triple the number of units created in the City of LA, the Initiative is supporting capacity expansion for developers to collectively start 10 to 15 new developments each year to successfully leverage Proposition HHH funding, a City bond for SH creation that was passed by voters in November 2016.

Impressive Results to Date

Collaborating closely with the City and County of Los Angeles and drawing on its vast knowledge of affordable housing development, the group has made possible the following:
• Investing funds to jump-start housing. Philanthropic dollars are providing front-end resources to encourage and leverage public sector funding for costs further down the line. Private funders have pooled $20 million in loans, allowing the community development financial institution CSH to leverage an additional $40 million through a Supportive Housing Loan Fund (SHLF). These early investments help to buy land and pay for architects, engineers and fees, and increase the willingness and ability of nonprofit providers to borrow funds.
• The SHLF complements Proposition HHH, the $1.2 billion voter-approved City bond measure passed November 2016 to finance new SH apartments for the homeless and the County’s Measure H agreed to by voters in March 2017.
• Since the passage of Proposition HHH over two 1/2 years ago, SHLF has made loans totaling $55 million to fund 17 new projects for a total of 1,072 SH units.
• To date, HHH has approved 40 new projects with an additional 15 proposed, for a total of 2,810 new SH units and an additional 842 new affordable housing units.
• In order to speed up development of SH, the foundations and CSH have also worked with the LA City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to reduce the average permitting time to save costs and make housing available sooner. As a result, Mayor Garcetti released Executive Directive 13, Support for Affordable Housing, which sets aside priority processing for affordable housing developments and dedicates City staff to support the increase in housing, ensuring the creation or preservation of at least 15,000 affordable units by 2021.

About the HUD Secretary's Award

The HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships is a national partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations, now in its seventh year, and calls attention to philanthropy’s work with government at all levels.  Senior HUD officials today joined with the Council in recognizing the award winners at the 2019 Leading Together Conference in Miami, Florida.

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