Opening New Doors - Virtual Supportive Housing Institute Request for Proposals (RFP)

Thanks to the generous support of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, CSH is excited to announce its Opening New Door Institute (“The Institute”).

2021 presents a unique and important moment to pursue supportive housing development. The combined public health and economic crisis that hit the country last year both elevated the urgency of responding to homelessness, and ushered in a new set of federal funding and legislative actions aimed at creating more housing in our communities. No development, however, is easy, and supportive housing development requires additional preparation and strategy to turn good ideas into successful funding applications.

CSH’s Institute will help teams build their knowledge base and ability to secure the necessary funding and long-term commitments necessary to create quality supportive housing.

The 2021 Institute will be held primarily remotely, with an in-person finale to be held in January 2022 in Columbus.

Organizations interested in creating supportive housing for the following priority populations are encouraged to apply:

  • persons experiencing chronic homelessness,
  • persons who are prioritized for supportive housing by local Continuum of Care (CoC), Mental Health and Addiction Services Boards,
  • persons at risk of long-term homelessness with behavioral health challenges exiting incarceration and/or trafficking and exploitation,
  • young people who experience homelessness and are prioritized by their local CoC for supportive housing,
  • Families facing separation due to child welfare involvement,
  • and those with a combination of physical health and behavioral health challenges leading to frequent hospitalizations.

This training series will help supportive housing partners learn how to navigate the complex process of developing housing with supportive services and is expected to reduce the time it takes to obtain funding for supportive housing by improving the planning and development process.

The Institute has a strong track record in Ohio, with graduates experiencing an 80% success rate in bringing projects into operation. The Institute will provide targeted training, technical assistance, and pre-development financing (subject to availability) to both new and experienced development teams. Teams receive more than 60 hours of training including individualized technical assistance and resources to assist in completing their project.

In addition, experts from across the state, including staff from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and national partners, provide insight on property management, financing, and building design.

The 2021 Institute is made possible by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing.

Institute Benefits

Upon completion, participants in the Institute will have:
- A detailed, individualized supportive housing plan that can be used to apply for funding from multiple sources;
- The opportunity to apply for early pre-development financing through the CSH Pre-development Initiation Loan to use on supportive housing projects planned through the Institute;
- Improved skills to operate existing supportive housing and develop new projects serving people who experience multiple barriers to housing;
- New and improved skills to operate integrated supportive housing;
- A strong, effective development, property management and service team that leverages the strengths of each team member;
- A powerful network of peers and experts to assist in project development and to trouble-shoot problems; and,
- Post institute technical assistance from CSH to be defined through a shared Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Institute Deliverables

In the course of the Supportive Housing Institute, teams will work to develop individual supportive housing project plans. Among the expected team deliverables are:
• Memorandum of Understanding among members of the supportive housing development team, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each partner;
• Community support plan;
• Detailed service delivery plan for specific target populations;
• Outreach, Engagement and Tenant selection plans;
• Tenant Leadership plan;
• Management plan;
• Operating policies and protocols between services provider and property manager;
• Preliminary project proposal and budgets; and
- Preliminary feasibility analysis for potential housing site, if identified.

Target Populations - Must identify one primary population

  • Persons experiencing chronic homelessness,
  • Persons who are prioritized for supportive housing by local Continuum of Care (CoC), Mental Health and Addiction Services Boards,
  • Persons at risk of long-term homelessness with behavioral health challenges exiting incarceration and/or trafficking and exploitation,
  • Young people who experience homelessness and are prioritized by their local CoC for supportive housing,
  • Families facing separation due to child welfare involvement, or otherwise identified with high service and housing needs, and
  • Those with a combination of physical health and behavioral health challenges leading to frequent hospitalizations.

Eligible Teams

Eligible teams should include a designated team leader, a housing development/owner partner, a public housing authority representative, a supportive service provider partner, and a property management partner. If you are missing one of these players, please reach out to CSH for assistance. The designated team leader may be the development/owner, service, or property management partner.

Developer must have experience with affordable housing. Teams are invited to bring five members to each Institute session. Additional team members may include, but are not limited to local city development staff or local housing authority staff or CoC representative.

To be eligible for the Institute, teams must be able to commit to attending to all required training sessions offered (see training timeline); and, commit to taking project concept from idea to completion with the goal of having supportive housing units placed in service.

Eligible Supportive Housing Projects
- Minimum project size for housing in this institute is 10 units of supportive housing;
- Housing is permanent and affordable where tenants hold leases and acceptance of services is not a condition of occupancy;
- Comprehensive case management services are accessible by tenants where they live and, in a manner, designed to maximize tenant stability and self-sufficiency;
- The housing development may be either 50%+ supportive housing or integrated supportive housing where 25% of the total units (with a minimum total of 40 units of which 10 are SH) are made available to one or more of the target populations; and,
- The supportive housing development and/or integrated supportive housing must participate in the Continuum of Care Coordinated Assessment/Access system.

Proposals to develop Recovery Housing, emergency shelters, transitional or shared housing, such as group homes or shared apartments, will NOT be considered.

In order for CSH and its partners to provide an appropriate level of technical assistance, the 2021 institute will be limited to up to 8 teams. Consideration will be given to demonstrated need, support from the local unit of government, financial stability of the primary sponsor, quality of the response to the application and alignment with this RFP and coordination with CoC housing inventory and priorities. Selection will also be made on how well applicants align their projects with the strategies and goals outlined in the State of Ohio’s Blueprint for Change: Aligning Resources with Results. https://development.ohio.gov/cs/cs_hhc.htm

To be eligible for the Institute, applicants must be able to commit to attending ALL training sessions offered for the respective track selected. It is critical to the success of each team that key senior management staff consistently participates in all sessions. Training sessions will consist of approximately 60 hours in two-day sessions per month over five months. A $500 registration fee is required upon acceptance, payable to CSH before the start of the first session.

CSH Opening New Doors Institute Curriculum and Timeline


Note: Order and Topics may change and teams will be notified of the final agenda. All sessions will be virtual thru Zoom. The Finale may be in person in Columbus. All Sessions will begin at 10:00 AM and end by 4:00 PM. There will be ample breaks and dedicated team time.

Aug 31 & Sept 1Session 1: Overview of the Institute; Introduction to Supportive Housing; Racial Equity; Design Considerations; Building Community Support 
Sept 28-29Session 2: Dimensions of Quality; Harm Reduction; Assertive Engagement; Peer Support; Service Plans
Oct 26-27Session 3:  Budgets: Service, Capital and Operating; Understanding Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Partnerships, Introduction to Public Housing Authorities and Project Based Vouchers
Nov 30-Dec 1Session 4: Coordinated Entry; Fair Housing, Eviction Prevention; Coordinating Services and Property Management
Jan 11 & 12Session 5: Putting it All Together; Challenges, Expectations and Readiness to Proceed   
Jan 18Finale Event: Teams present final project concepts to peers and potential funders. 

Topics may change based on final team selection

Application Instructions

Application Deadline: Friday August 13th 2021 by 5:00 pm EST

The Application Review Team will evaluate all proposals and notify applicants of their selection by Friday August 20th, 2021.  Submission of an application represents a commitment for the team to attend all institute sessions.   The application must be completed in its entirety.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.  The application is available below.

Click here for the full application


Chronic Homelessness: An individual or family with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

Continuum of Care: The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Ohio has 9 CoCs: Cincinnati/Hamilton County, Columbus/Franklin County, Cleveland/Cuyahoga County, Akron/Summit County, Dayton/Montgomery County, Toledo/Lucas County, Youngstown/Mahoning County, Canton/Stark County, and Balance of State.

Coordinated Assessment/Access System: Centralized or coordinated assessment/access system is a centralized or coordinated process designed to facilitate program participant intake, assessment, and provision of referrals. A centralized or coordinated assessment system covers the geographic area, is easily accessed by individuals and families seeking housing or services, is well advertised, and includes a comprehensive and standardized assessment tool. This definition establishes basic minimum requirements for the Continuum’s centralized or coordinated assessment system. Coordinated Assessment/Access is a system in which all programs within a CoC work together to assure that services are accessible and properly directed to the immediate needs of the client. It represents a national standard to help move programs such as shelter, transitional housing, rapid rehousing, and supportive housing, toward aligning eligibility criteria and services into a coherent and accessible system for people in crisis.

Data Sources: In describing community need, data sources should include CoC Point in Time Count, CoC Annual Homeless Assessment Report, Homeless Management Information System and/or CoC Housing Inventory Chart.

Integrated Supportive Housing: This model generally refers to market-rate or affordable rental developments that have a dedicated percentage of subsidized units that provide housing to formerly homeless families or individuals. Project-based vouchers are the primary source of subsidy used in integrated supportive housing.  For the purpose of this RFP, integrated is defined as no more than 25% of the units set-aside for supportive housing with a minimum of 40 total units and 10 supportive units. 

Single Site Supportive Housing: This is generally an apartment building that exclusively provides housing to formerly homeless families or individuals. Project-based vouchers are the primary source of subsidy used in single site housing, which is generally owned by nonprofit landlords.  Focus is placed on helping tenants integrate into the surrounding community.

Supportive Housing: Supportive housing combines permanent, affordable housing with services that help people live more stable, productive lives. Supportive housing is developed by packaging together housing that is affordable to persons with very low or extremely low incomes with flexible supportive services that are designed to meet the special needs of an individual or family. When targeted effectively, supportive housing can be cost-effective for communities. Creating supportive housing involves partnerships and collaboration. Supportive Housing is developed for people who but for housing could not access services and but for services could not maintain housing.

Team Leader: The person who commits to taking a lead role in managing the team from concept development through lease-up of the supportive housing units. This person should be detail oriented and have a strong commitment to this project.  The team leader is responsible for ensuring that team members attend and participate in institute sessions and complete homework assignments.  The team leader is also responsible for finalizing MOUs among team partners and taking information back to any key local partners.

Vulnerable Persons: Each Continuum of Care utilizes a Coordinated Assessment to determine those most vulnerable and prioritized for supportive housing. In some communities, local Mental Health and Addictions Services boards also have an assessment process to prioritize individuals and families for limited housing resources. Vulnerable persons refers to the agreed upon vulnerability determination utilized by the Continuum and/or local Mental Health and Addictions Services board.

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