Work Well – Strategic Employment Initiative

Since early 2014,  CSH has been working in close collaboration with the San Diego Workforce Partnership and the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services on the Work Well Initiative.  This five year Mental Health Services Act-funded initiative has the goal of increasing employment for individuals with lived experience of serious mental illness as its core tenet.  Toward that end, the project created the San Diego Behavioral Health Five-Year Strategic Employment Plan.

The plan promotes three key models for increasing employment in San Diego County:


As part of our overall strategies, we will continue to provide technical consulting services, conduct trainings, promote employment resource directories and funding announcements, offer employer socials, provide presentations on mental health and stigma and hold annual focus groups, to remain in close contact with the clients who are working to find jobs and the employment specialists and others who are working diligently to assist them.

For more information about the Work Well Initiative, please contact Tom Stubberud at 619-232-3194 ext. 4286.

Alegre – Orange County’s Newest Supportive Housing Project

Alegre Apartments – Orange County’s newest integrated supportive housing project – will provide 104 apartment homes in the Cyprus Village subdivision in the City of Irvine.  All of the apartments will be affordable to households earning between 30% and 50% of the Orange County Area Median Income.   The developer, AMCAL, is partnering with Lifesteps, Families Forward and the County of Orange to provide complementary social services for children, adults and special needs residents.  Alegre has been designed as a LEED Gold building with the associated cost efficiency, energy savings and sustainability features.  Some of the project amenities include:  elevator access, spacious floorplans, swimming pool with a kid’s water splash feature, barbeque and playground area, computer lab, media room, game room, and a fitness center.  Alegre Poster FINAL (1)

Alegre Apartments also recently won the Kennedy Commission Project of the Year Award for its commitment to quality housing for those in our community with the most need. CSH has been assisting the County of Orange in the development of housing projects serving low and extremely low income tenants who suffer from mental illness and who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.   This newest project, Alegre Apartments is currently completing its initial lease up.

San Diego County MHSA Housing – Award Winning, Quality Supportive Housing

The Mental Health Services ACT (MHSA) Housing Program embodies both the individual and system goals of the MHSA through a unique collaboration among California government agencies at the state and local level.  Managed through San Diego County, the California Housing Agency (CalHFA) was allocated $33 million for a new housing program under which MHSA funds have been made available to finance the costs associated with development, acquisition, construction, and/or rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for individuals with mental illness and their families.

In 2009, San Diego County Behavioral Health Services (BHS), working in tandem with CSH projected the $33 million could create 241 units of MHSA housing in the San Diego region.

As of this writing, there are currently 12 developments operating in the San Diego region which contain 185 MHSA Housing Program units which have been recognized as high quality projects and have won local, national and international awards, including the ULI International Award for Excellence.

Additionally, three projects are currently under construction which will offer an additional 56 MHSA Housing Program units…totaling exactly 241 units!


San Diego County BHS and CSH are reviewing potential projects which may be eligible for funding, utilizing the remaining MHSA Housing Program Funds.


Stay tuned for future San Diego MHSA Housing “Pipeline” developments!

L.A. Action Camp Focuses on Needs of Veterans

The photos below may look like our staff and associates are engaged in fun and games, but they’re actually doing some serious planning to end homelessness amongst veterans in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.

LALA2The Los Angeles City and County CES (Coordinated Entry System) SPA (Service Planning Area) action camp, modeled on the successful Zero:2016 Campaign Action Camps format, was held last week. CSH came together with local experts, providers, government officials and community leaders to creatively share ideas and build strategies to end homelessness among veterans in the metro area.

The photos above show participants engaged in what is known as the “airplane game,” which is designed to interactively teach about the importance of measurement and making accurate predictions to reach the goals of a coordinated entry system, especially as they work to house veterans experiencing homelessness.

This action camp was part of Los Angeles’ CES planning, coordinated by the Los Angeles United Way, and supported by various groups, including: Abt Associates, LAHSA, Community Solutions, the CSH local Los Angeles team, and the CSH national HUD TA team.

USICH Staff Tours San Diego Projects with CSH

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis past Wednesday and Thursday, our CSH Team in San Diego CA hosted Beverley Ebersold, Director of National Initiatives, and Amy Sawyer, Regional Coordinator, both from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). They joined CSH Senior Program Manager Rich Penksa and Dr. Piedad Garcia, Assistant Deputy Director, County of San Diego, Department of Mental Health, and others for site tours and meetings in and around America’s Finest City (the nickname for San Diego).

Focusing on supportive housing and the services offered to residents, Ms. Ebersold and Ms. Sawyer were able to see first-hand how CSH and our partners are working in San Diego to help vulnerable people find stable homes and better lives.

CSH is proud to count USICH as one of our most valued federal partners. We always welcome the opportunity to share information and learn from their knowledgeable staff.

Below is the itinerary and links to the sites and organizations our colleagues from USICH visited while in San Diego.

August 5

Site Visit – The Mason- with Dr. Piedad Garcia, Assistant Deputy Director, County of San Diego, Department of Mental Health.

Site Visit – Cedar Gateway- with Dr. Piedad Garcia, Assistant Deputy Director, County of San Diego, Department of Mental Health.

Meeting – San Diego Housing Commission – with Melissa Peterman, Director Homeless Housing Innovation Department, and Suket Dayal, Director of Strategy for the SDHC.

Meeting -25 Cities San Diego – with representatives Tom Theisan and Jessielee Cooley.

August 6

Meeting – San Diego City Administration Building – with Jessica Lawrence, staff to Councilmember Todd Gloria, Chair of Regional Continuum of Care Council.

Meeting – Behavioral Health Services Housing Council.

Meeting – Community Research Foundation- with ACT Team Clinical Director Troy Boyle.


Speak Up Advocates on Capitol Hill

CSH Speak Up Advocates participated in the annual “Hill Day” in Washington, D.C., meeting with Members of Congress and their staff in their Capitol Hill offices. The Advocates shared their personal stories of homelessness, how supportive housing transformed their lives, and why it is critical for our elected leaders to back programs creating affordable housing with access to community-based services.

Advocates met with US Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40th), Judy Chu (CA-27), Adam Schiff (CA-28), and with Senator Diane Feinstein’s (CA) staff; all pictured below.








Hear from our advocates Dorothy, Vikki, Zondre and Sofya about their experiences in Washington D.C.


OSF Grants $150,000 to CSH for FUSE Replication

OSFThe Open Society Foundations (OSF) U.S. Programs initiative supports efforts to advance equality, fairness, and justice with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and the most significant threats to open society in the United States today. OSF works to further a vibrant democratic society in which all people can meaningfully participate in its civic, economic, and political life and to ensure that the core institutions of civil society are effective and accountable to the public.

Areas of particular emphasis in U.S. Programs’ grant-making and other activities include:

  • The advancement of effective and fair criminal justice and drug policies,
  • Support of the rights of racial minorities and other vulnerable groups;
  • Support of institutions and practices that advance a more informed and engaged public and responsive and effective government.

OSF’s recent contribution of $150,000 to CSH to promote a scaled replication and the sustainability of the FUSE (Frequent Users/Utilizers Systems Engagement) model will help ensure that more people leaving our jails and prisons will have a real chance to become a part of the communities in which they live. Because of the generosity of OSF and others, CSH is able to recreate FUSE in more communities across the country.

FUSE is a CSH signature accomplishment that helps communities identify and engage high utilizers of public systems and place them into supportive housing in order to break the cycle of repeated use of costly crisis services, shelters, and the criminal justice system. In the FUSE model, supportive housing serves to smooth the transition from institution to community, promoting a transformation that serves those released from jails and prisons, and the general population, by improving lives and public safety.

The critical support of OSF and our partners will allow CSH to aggressively pursue our vision to create additional policy and resource tools, such as FUSE, that encourage cross-system collaboration and allow innovative responses to complex social problems.


$500,000 Loan for Vista de la Puente Supportive Housing

Vista de la Puente

This month, CSH approved a significant acquisition loan to Townspeople to help create supportive housing units within the planned Vista de la Puente development.

Facts about the project:

  • Located in the South Crest neighborhood in the City of San Diego, CA
  • It is expected that the resident population of this development will be chronically homeless, homeless veterans, and other people who are frequent utilizers of the public healthcare system.
  • Vista de la Puente will provide 52 units of newly constructed affordable housing with 38 units set aside for homeless and chronically homeless veterans and veterans with disabilities and 14 units restricted to homeless individuals and families in need of supportive housing.
  • In early June 2015, CSH provided an acquisition loan in the amount of $500,000 to secure the property for the development. Toby Lieberman, Senior Loan Officer in California, underwrote this loan.
  • The Borrower and developer is Townspeople located in San Diego, California.

Townspeople has been providing services to people living with HID/AIDS for 30 years.  They have deep expertise in providing housing information and referral services, emergency rental assistance to prevent homelessness, emergency utility assistance, access, support to access entitlement programs, individual housing plans, residential supportive services, homelessness prevention and repaid re-housing and case management and coordination.

Townspeople developed, owns and operates three supportive housing projects for people living with HIV/AIDS, and was the first in the San Diego area to focus specifically on this population. Their mission is to “consistently provide access for low income people and specifically those living with HIV/AIDS to affordable housing and other services to enable self-sufficiency”.

Speak Up Advocates to Present at Alliance Conference

CSH Speak Up Advocates are set to present at the upcoming National Conference on Ending Homelessness, including CSH Board Member and Advocate Dorothy Edwards.  Advocates will present in the Microsession  Including the Consumer Voice in Planning and Administration(SA) – details are below.

685-SpeakUpLogoOur tenant advocates will also participate in the Hill Day activities, speaking with their Congressional Representatives and Senators on the need for supportive housing. Follow their experience online through  #CSHSpeakUp.

National Conference on Ending Homelessness

July 16  2:45pm
M1.10 Including the Consumer Voice in Planning and Administration(SA)
Services should be responsive to the needs and wants of those who are meant to receive them. In this workshop, speakers will discuss the value of including the consumer voice on the boards of Continuums of Care and permanent supportive housing programs, and other programs and organizations that provide homeless services. Topics will include recruiting consumers for planning, and the insights of consumers who have drawn on their experiences in the homeless system to inform their work on these boards.

CMS Issues Bulletin on Using Medicaid for Supportive Services

CMSThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) has released an Informational Bulletin intended to assist states in designing Medicaid benefits, and to clarify the circumstances under which Medicaid reimburses for certain housing-related activities, with the goal of promoting community integration for individuals with disabilities, older adults needing long term services and supports (LTSS), and those experiencing chronic homelessness. Consistent with statute, CMS/CMCS can assist states with coverage of certain housing-related activities and services.

Read the full CMS/CMCS Informational Bulletin here.

For more information on how states are currently using Medicaid in supportive housing, see CSH’s four new resources, released earlier this month.

Read our joint statement with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.