Progress Report: Work Well Initiative

Through what is known as the Work Well Initiative, CSH collaborates with the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) to increase employment opportunities for vulnerable individuals with lived experience of mental illness in San Diego County, CA. As the local Workforce Development Board, SDWP is integral to this work, particularly when it comes to engaging the business sector. SDWP helps empower job seekers to meet the current and future workforce needs of employers in San Diego by funding job training programs, providing targeted employment services,  and collecting regional data on workforce trends, in-demand occupations, and high-growth industries.

SD WorforceIn addition to our work with SDWP to increase employment opportunities for vulnerable people,  CSH has created a speaker ‘s bureau addressing mental health, stigma and employment. As part of Work Well , we also completed a Supported Employment Fidelity Review Report of the Mental Health Systems Employment Solutions Program (at the request of the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services Division).

CSH’s employment work has been at the core of our efforts in San Diego County since 2014. CSH also partnered with SDWP to write a strategic employment plan for individuals in San Diego living with serious mental illness. This work, funded by the County of San Diego, Behavioral Health Services through the California Mental Health Services Act , will continue through 2019.

The five-year Behavioral Health Strategic Employment Plan was developed through an extensive stakeholder process that included input from clients, service providers, employment specialists, and mental health organizations focused on evidence-based models and innovative techniques that support complete and full recovery. The focus centers on an array of supported employment opportunities as a key component to mental health recovery.

The six goals of the Plan are: 1) Increase opportunities for employment, income, length of employment and job  retention  for people with the lived experience of mental illness; 2) Increase awareness of mental illness and related stigma within the workplace and community ; 3) Increase and enhance relationships with employers, businesses, and the entrepreneurial sector; 4) Identify and increase funding opportunities for employment, business, social enterprise-related initiatives and program s for people with lived experience of mental illness; 5) Streamline navigation systems for people with mental illness regarding employment and supportive services; and 6) Improve data collection, analysis and reporting capacity of service providers regarding increased employment for people with lived experience of mental illness.

CSH is helping to guide the implementation of the Plan by offering technical consulting services, trainings, employer socials, presentations on mental health and stigma, annual focus groups to remain in close contact with the clients who are working to find jobs and the employment specialists who are working diligently to assist them, and by promoting employment resource directories and funding announcements.

CA Embraces “Bringing Families Home”

The CSH-backed  “Bringing Families Home” proposal, establishing a $10 million state grant program to house child welfare-involved families experiencing homelessness, has been signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown.

Though homelessness is not a basis for foster care placement, families who are homeless have much higher rates of child welfare involvement than other low-income families. Moreover, 30% of children in foster care cannot reunite with families because the family lacks safe, stable housing. Parents exiting incarceration similarly find challenges in reunifying with their children because they lack housing. (Inadequate housing remains one of the largest barriers to reunification.)236_momandbaby_Nov

While some counties in California are creating pilots to house homeless child welfare-involved families, county child-welfare and housing systems face challenges in building bridges between these two systems, and in “scaling up” housing opportunities. Focused resources spurring county investment will advance collaboration between child welfare and homeless systems, while ensuring children who could reunite with birth families are able to do so.

The new $10 million program will create a state grant to foster investment in housing and services for homeless child welfare-involved families. The California Department of Social Services will select between two and four counties to participate through a competitive application process. The state grants will match county dollars to pay for housing and services, as well as liaisons between child welfare agencies and homeless-housing systems.

This effort promotes practices that evidence shows avoid foster care placement and allow for reunification of birth parents and their children. Data demonstrate getting homeless families into stable, safe, permanent housing prevents foster care placement and furthers reunification with birth parents.

Moreover, housing strategies advanced in this new program work to decrease rates of homelessness among families with children, re-incarceration, and healthcare costs.


$1.3M to CSH for Reentry Initiative in L.A. County


Pay for Success Model to Support Permanent Supportive Housing for the Reentry Population

WASHINGTON – For many individuals convicted of minor crimes, finding jobs and decent housing is so challenging that many are at extreme risk of homelessness or reentering the criminal justice system. Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded $8.7 million to address homelessness and reduce recidivism among this justice-involved population through the Pay for Success model. See list of grantees below.

HUD’s Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration, tests cost-effective ways to help persons cycling between the criminal justice and homeless service systems. Funded by DOJ and implemented through a HUD/DOJ partnership, this demonstration advances a model that offers a new source of financing to expand permanent supportive housing for the reentry population. This is part of a broader Administration effort to reduce barriers facing justice-involved individuals who are trying to put their lives back on track, including barriers to housing. Read a White House fact sheet on these efforts.

“Too often, as people leave the criminal justice system, they don’t have the support network to help them get a second chance and they fall into homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “These grantees have developed successful models that give returning citizens the opportunity to find a job and place to call home while reducing the costs associated with recidivism and homelessness.”

“Every person re-entering society from the justice system deserves a fair shot at a life of renewed purpose and meaning,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “The Justice Department’s partnership with HUD will expand services to help individuals gain access to housing and jobs, and to give those who have served their time a chance to fully rejoin society. Going forward, we intend to continue to promote and develop programs that help our returning citizens stay safe, supported, and secure.”

Secretary Castro made the announcement today at an interagency event led by DOJ at the Center for American Progress.

Research consistently demonstrates a correlation between homelessness and incarceration. The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) estimates that one in five people living prison becomes homeless upon reentry into the community, with an increase of 30-50 percent in major urban areas. Tracking the cycle of homelessness and incarceration in the reverse, the Council of States Governments and NAEH report that over 10 percent of people recidivating from jail and prison are homeless in the months before their incarceration. This rate jumps to 20 percent among individuals with a mental illness.

Pay for Success (PFS) strategies are public-private arrangements that help government test or expand innovative programs while paying only for those activities that achieve agreed-upon target outcomes. These grants will support PFS projects that implement a Housing First model for the reentry population who experience homelessness and are frequent users of homelessness, health care and other crisis services.

Established by President Obama, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council includes 20 federal agencies, that work to:

  • make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization;
  • assist those who return from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens; and
  • save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.

The Reentry Council, recently codified by Presidential Memorandum, is removing federal barriers to successful reentry, so that motivated individuals – who have served their time and paid their dues – are able to compete for a job, attain stable housing, support their children and their families, and contribute to their communities. Reentry Council agencies are taking concrete steps to reduce recidivism and high correctional costs while improving public health, child welfare, employment, education, housing and other key reintegration outcomes.

In 2010, President Obama and 19 federal agencies and offices that form the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) launched the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government will work with state and local communities to confront the root causes of homelessness, including individuals who are in and out of a variety of crisis services such as jails and prisons. Permanent supportive housing lowers public costs by stopping the revolving door between jail and prison and crisis services like those provided in emergency rooms and homeless assistance programs.

PFS Demonstration Grant Summary

Legal Name Award Demonstration Site Location
Corporation for Supportive Housing $1.3 million Los Angeles County, CA
Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. $1.3 million Eugene/Springfield/Lane County, Oregon
United Way of Anchorage $1.3 million Anchorage/Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska
Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless,  Inc. $1,297,624 State of Rhode Island
University of Utah $1.3 million Tucson/Pima County, Arizona
American Institutes for Research $1.3 million Montgomery County/Prince George’s County, Maryland
Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, Inc. $881,376 Travis County/Austin, Texas




CSH Named Community Progress Maker

CSH Selected by Citi Foundations Community Progress Makers Fund Grant Program to Accelerate Economic Opportunity

Community Progress Maker Joins Leading Nonprofit Organizations Across the United States – Will Address Affordable Housing Creation in Los Angeles

CSH announced today that it has been selected as a recipient of the Community Progress Makers Fund, a $20 million grant initiative to support 40 visionary nonprofit organizations in their efforts to establish new approaches to long-standing urban economic challenges in the United States – including economic development, environment sustainability, urban infrastructure, and affordable housing.

As part of the program, CSH will receive a core operating support grant of $500,000 over the course of two years to continue its work in Los Angeles around creating solutions that address the needs of vulnerable people, including those experiencing homelessness or other housing instability. This new injection of funds will help bolster existing CSH initiatives to develop more supportive housing (affordable apartments + access to services) while opening up the door to additional programs such as employment training and placement for supportive housing residents. In addition to the grant, CSH also will have access to technical assistance from leading national researchers and experts, and will be provided opportunities to connect with other grantees to share and learn best practices.

“It’s well known that Los Angeles is facing an affordable housing crisis and many people are struggling,” said Deborah De Santis, President and CEO of CSH. “But what Citi Foundation is advancing with this investment is wholesale reform in the way communities assess housing need and the difficulties vulnerable people encounter when trying to find a home and stay housed. Many barriers block their way forward – extreme poverty, mental health challenges, addictions, lack of job opportunities, to name a few – and Citi recognizes local partnerships must address all of these issues in addition to creating stable, affordable housing.”

“The Citi Foundation feels privileged to support organizations that have demonstrated such strong commitments to their local communities and a willingness to share their experiences with others for the betterment of their neighborhoods,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “These organizations have a track record of implementing solutions that work for their communities because they know the people there, understand what resources to tap and, most importantly, feel deeply invested in the places where they live and work. We believe that’s the key to leading urban transformation efforts in Los Angeles and elsewhere across the country.”

The Community Progress Makers Fund builds upon the Citi Foundation’s commitment to identify and support innovative solutions and organizations that are helping build stronger, more resilient cities that are engines of economic opportunity for all. The flexibility of  core operating support will allow organizations and their visionary leaders to deploy solutions that address a range of issues.

Local Foundations Partner to Provide $16 Million for L.A. Housing Plan

Partnership will accelerate the development of permanent supportive housing, a cost-effective measure to address homelessness.

LOS ANGELES – May 10, 2016 – The California Community Foundation (CCF), Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Weingart Foundation are partnering to provide $16 million in loans and grants to increase permanent housing solutions for our most vulnerable homeless neighbors.

With the City of Los Angeles facing a state of emergency on homelessness, now is the time to act on solutions. Data has proven that permanent supportive housing (PSH) is the most effective way to end chronic homelessness and is a critical piece to kick-starting solutions to this crisis. PSH combines affordable housing with services that help people facing complex challenges to live with stability, autonomy and dignity.

The coalition has proposed an actionable plan – developed in partnership with nonprofit housing developers and lenders – for the City to produce at least 1,000 PSH units per year, a 700-unit increase from current production. The proposal calls upon the City to create new, local revenue streams to fund the increased production of PSH and to build upon the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Executive Directive 13 to dramatically reduce development timelines for PSH from the San Fernando Valley to the Westside to South 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.”

The foundations’ contribution and plan will leverage Mayor Garcetti’s commitment of $138 million to combat homelessness over the next year. The coalition aims to build on this momentum and encourage the City to develop long-term solutions to homelessness.

“Homelessness touches every corner of our City, impacting all of us,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “To combat the crisis, my 2016 budget will include a historic $138 million investment to drive forward our homelessness strategies, but as we bring record levels of City investments to the table, we also need all hands on deck. These foundations are leading the private sector by partnering with us to do more for those who need our help the most. I applaud their work.”

“The City of Los Angeles cannot do it alone. In order to meet our production goals, we need both new funding sources and land use incentives. I applaud the foundations’ leadership for bringing together new money to help us achieve our 1,000 unit per year goal,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo, City of Los Angeles First District. “This commitment, along with the legislation I have put forth to streamline the permitting process under a new Permanent Supportive Housing Program, will allow the City to define development performance standards with possible ministerial actions. This program will help to expedite the housing we need for our most vulnerable population and house L.A. This partnership will make available the necessary money to get these units built.”

These early commitments will leverage another $45 million in loans for the early costs of developing 1,000 new units.  Loans will be managed by CSH. Also known as the Corporation for Supportive Housing, CSH is a highly-rated, nonprofit community development financial institution advancing solutions to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people, maximize public resources and build healthy communities. CSH has worked with all three foundations investing in this partnership and has been located in Los Angeles since 2003. Since 2008, CSH’s Supportive Housing Loan Fund has provided acquisition and predevelopment financing for more than 1,600 permanent supportive housing units. Across the country, CSH has loaned or granted more than $500 million to create supportive housing.

A group of experienced nonprofit housing developers has been involved in developing the accelerated housing plan, identifying ways to streamline the system and kick-start production: A Community of Friends, Los Angeles Family Housing, Mercy Housing California, PATH Ventures, Skid Row Housing Trust and SRO Housing Corporation. These and others may apply through CSH for a loan.

In addition to loans, the foundations are planning to make grants to help build the infrastructure needed to meet the ambitious goal of tripling the number of PSH units annually.

These foundations have a long history of leveraging opportunities for acceleration through coordinated funding across Los Angeles County, including working to address homelessness. As members of the Home for Good Funders Collaborative – organized by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce – foundations and the public sector have jointly aligned more than $650 million over the last four years to address homelessness in Los Angeles County.

The California Community Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for all Los Angeles County residents by addressing the root causes of the county’s most urgent problems. The foundation has served as a public, charitable organization since 1915. For more information, please visit

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is a family foundation established in 1944 by the man who started Hilton Hotels. We provide funds to nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world. For more information, please visit

Weingart Foundation’s mission is to build a better Southern California by supporting nonprofit organizations to more effectively serve the underserved. For more information, please visit

San Diego Square Opens

San D Sq2

Having recently moved back into her newly renovated unit at San Diego Square, Isara Garrett said she had only one word for the officials who have helped keep her downtown home affordable.

“That word is grateful,” said Garrett, 71. “I am so grateful for my brand-new apartment. My little dog Snoopy and I love living here.”

Garrett and 153 other seniors were displaced for about three weeks while top-to-bottom renovations were made to the 37-year-old San Diego Square building. She was among the guests at a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Monday to reopen the building.

before after

Besides having newly painted units and other amenities, residents of San Diego Square have the peace of mind that they may never have to move out because of a rent increase. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also has recently extended by 20 years its rental assistance program that has provided vouchers for San Diego Square residents since the building opened in 1979.

There soon will be about 500 affordable units within a block of San Diego Square. Those include 72 at the Hotel Churchill, 25 of which will be units of supportive housing through the Mental Health Services Act Housing (MHSA) program as well as supportive housing for veterans, and 250 at Celadon at 9th and Broadway, including 25 supportive housing units through MHSA and an additional 63 units of supportive housing with PACE services. CSH has been a partner in all three developments

At San Diego Square, 122 units are reserved for people at least 62 years old with annual incomes of about $40,800 for a two-person household, or 60 percent or less than the area’s median income.

Thirty-two units are reserved for seniors whose income is $34,000 a year, or 50 percent or less than the area median income.

CSH Supports “Project One For All” Proposal in San Diego

CSH joins with San Diego County Supervisors to unveil "Project One For All" proposal.

CSH joins with San Diego County Supervisors to unveil “Project One For All” proposal.

San Diego County officials have embraced an initiative – “Project One For All” – to create a partnership between communities, the local housing commission and nonprofit organizations to give homeless people facing mental illness access to housing and a full spectrum of services. Their goal is to create “head-to-toe services for homeless people with mental illness.”

County Supervisors say they are taking robust action now because homeless people with mental illness are the least likely group of people to get and keep housing without major help, and are some of the biggest users of emergency health care and law enforcement resources. San Diego County points to studies that conclusively show that providing housing and services is far more cost-effective than leaving people on the streets, where they are dependent on expensive crisis care and emergency services. (CSH – FUSE)

The new program builds on a plan announced in August to spend $10 million to house homeless people and Project 25, a pilot program between the county, the San Diego Housing Commission, the United Way and St. Vincent de Paul.

CSH has provided housing technical assistance to the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services department, and worked with local partners to develop a five-year Behavioral Health Services Strategic Housing Plan.

CSH is supportive of the initiative and applauds the leadership of the County – including the County Behavioral Health Services department – the communities, housing agencies and local advocates involved in Project One For All.

San Diego Roundtable

There was a sold out crowd present this past week for the CSH-sponsored San Diego Housing Federation Roundtable – Opening New Doors: Supportive Housing Capital, Operating and Services Resources.

Participants heard the latest information about resources needed to successfully develop and operate quality supportive housing.

CSH Director in San Diego, Simonne Ruff, served as moderator.

CSH Director in San Diego, Simonne Ruff, served as moderator.

Dr. Piedad Garcia of County Behavioral Health Services provided updates on the process of adding $10 million to the MHSA Housing Program, along with how developers can express interest in this new funding. Megan O’Dowd of County Housing and Community Development discussed the County housing initiatives to create new supportive housing and opportunities that are emerging through the North County 25 Cities efforts. Simonne Ruff of CSH touched on emerging prospects such as the National Housing Trust Fund; potential service supports available through the 1115 Waiver; and the latest information on Health Homes.

Dr. Piedad Garcia, Director, Adult and Older Adult Systems of Care, County of San Diego
Megan O’Dowd, Housing Program Analyst, Housing & Community Development, County of San Diego
Simonne Ruff, Director, Corporation for Supportive Housing


Improving Housing & Services for San Francisco’s Youth

youth TAYIn San Francisco, it is estimated that five to ten percent of the approximately 80,000 young people aged 16 to 24 are at an elevated risk for unemployment, involvement with the criminal justice system, poverty, and homelessness.

Finding housing that is both affordable and safe is one of the top concerns for San Francisco’s Transitional Age Youth (or TAY, which refers to unaccompanied young people aged 18 to 24 years).

TAY is a population that requires a unique approach to the delivery of housing and services.

There are over 1,400 homeless Transitional Age Youth in San Francisco, representing a range of backgrounds and needs.

CSH, working with the local community and Harder+Company Community Research, undertook a thorough study to reveal the extent to which San Francisco’s current system of housing and services is efficiently and effectively meeting the needs of TAY to then use the findings to strengthen the system to better meet those needs.

The final conclusions and recommendations found in Providing Stability and Support: An Assessment of San Francisco’s Transitional Age Youth Housing and Services System have now been released.

This report draws upon a rigorous examination of qualitative and quantitative data collected from service providers and current and former residents of transitional housing and supportive housing.

In San Francisco, there are currently two main types of housing for those TAY who are most in need: transitional housing, which provides a supportive living environment for six months to two years and serves as a bridge to permanent housing; and supportive housing, in which residents have their own lease and are legally tenants in non- time limited affordable housing with support services. These housing environments are part of a larger system that seeks to provide the services and supports that TAY need in order to take advantage of the tools and opportunities to lead productive lives.

Providing Stability and Support: An Assessment of San Francisco’s Transitional Age Youth Housing and Services System is not only an extensive, thoughtful look at these housing environments, it is a lens for us to focus on improving the lives of the Bay Area’s  TAY population.


Affirmed Housing & PATH Ventures recently celebrated the opening of Vermont Villas, providing 79 homeless and at-risk Veterans and Senior Citizens the stable hobuscaino-villas-e1445031273591_comptonheraldusing and support services they need thrive. Supportive housing is a critical tool in ending homelessness especially among our Veterans and those with critical health needs. CSH provided a $1.8 million loan to fund predevelopment activities and land acquisition costs related to the construction the project which is located in the Gardena section of Los Angeles.

In addition to CSH’s loan, Vermont Villas received funding from Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and
9% Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
(photo courtesy of the 15th Council District)

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