OrgCode, Community Solutions & CSH Launch Next Step Tool for Youth

The Next Step Tool for Homeless Youth

The Next Step Tool for Homeless Youth, or Next Step Tool, integrates the TAY Triage Tool, developed by the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) through research by Eric Rice, PhD, Associate Professor at University of Southern California, with the VI-SPDAT, created by Community Solutions and OrgCode Consulting, Inc.

The TAY Triage Tool predicts which youth are most likely to experience long-term homelessness, essentially on a trajectory to becoming chronically homeless adults. The VI-SPDAT helps understand current vulnerabilities and risks to future housing stability, in order to support youth in ending their homelessness.

The Next Step Tool carefully merges all of these tested ideas together. Through a closed-ended survey where youth provide a yes, no or one-word answer, service providers have a better understanding of the intensity of supports to begin with when supporting the youth.  You can download the Next Step Tool at


The Youth SPDAT

To complement the launch of the Next Step Tool, OrgCode has also created a modified version of the Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT) for use specifically with youth. The Youth SPDAT was developed based on feedback from many communities using the SPDAT who identified the need for a complete assessment tool that emphasized the unique issues faced by homeless youth.

You can download the Youth SPDAT at


CSH Transition Age Youth (TAY) Triage Tool

The CSH Transition Age Youth (TAY) Triage Tool – A Tool to Identify Homeless Transition Age Youth Most in Need of Supportive Housing – can be accessed directly here.


Harvard Releases State of the Nation’s Housing 2015

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University has released The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015 and this is what it says about our PROGRESS IN REDUCING HOMELESSNESS and the role supportive housing is playing, effectively getting people off our streets and keeping them housed:

“The lack of affordable housing in the United States continues to leave nearly 600,000 people homeless. More than a third are people in families, including 130,000 children under the age of 18. By comparison, chronically homeless individuals (those who have been without a place to live for at least a year or have had repeated episodes of homelessness over the past few years) account for a much smaller share (15 percent) of the homeless population. Recent increases in federal funding have aided progress in reducing both homelessness overall and among the most vulnerable groups. Indeed, the number of beds in permanent supportive housing expanded 60 percent between 2007 and 2014, to over 300,000. Beds for the chronically homeless accounted for just over half of this increase. As a result, total homelessness fell 11 percent in 2007–14, the number of homeless veterans dropped 19 percent, and the number of chronically homeless individuals was down by 30 percent. At the same time, however, the number of homeless people in families declined by only 8 percent.

But the national reduction in homelessness is not apparent in all markets. Rising rents and a dwindling supply of affordable rentals continue to put people at risk, especially in high-cost locations. Indeed, total homelessness jumped by 29 percent in New York and 40 percent in Massachusetts between 2007 and 2014. The increase in the District of Columbia was even larger, at 46 percent. Family homelessness is particularly acute in major cities, which were home to 45 percent of this population in 2014. New York City headed the list with 41,600 homeless people in families, or nearly 20 percent of the national total.”



An article authored by CSH Senior Program Manager Steven Shum appears in Summer 2015 edition of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) Newsletter.



By Steven Shum, CSH

Taking advantage of health reform, Bay Area communities are integrating healthcare efforts with affordable homes to better serve the most vulnerable individuals. The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) organized May’s Brown Bag on Health and Housing – highlighting new opportunities with Medi-Cal funding for supportive housing targeted to chronically homeless individuals and frequent users of crisis services. CSH trumpeted recent developments with California’s plan to implement the Health Homes option under the Affordable Care Act and the State’s submission of its 1115 Medicaid Waiver. These efforts represent key opportunities for local communities to leverage federal funding for supportive housing.

“We have been working diligently for more than 20 years to ensure steady and reliable funding to create and operate high quality supportive housing,” said Steven Shum, CSH’s Senior Program Manager in Northern CA. “And we’re on the cusp of exciting changes in the health and housing sectors.”

Panelist Preston Burnes, Provider Services Specialist with Health Plan of San Mateo, shared an update of their Community Care Settings Pilot – an innovative partnership targeting housing services and case management support to vulnerable seniors and other adults using health plan funding.

Panelist Margot Antonetty, Interim Director of Housing and Urban Health with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, discussed the City’s long-standing supportive housing efforts for homeless individuals, including 2,100 supportive housing units currently in their portfolio. Their evidence shows that supportive housing efforts have resulted in reduced emergency and inpatient medical costs and improved health outcomes and quality of life for tenants.

To participate in upcoming informational sessions on the State’s plan for Health Homes implementation, please contact:

New Markets Tax Credits Allocated to CSH

CSH Awarded $40 Million New Markets Tax Credits

Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced it has awarded $40 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to CSH as part of the 2014 round.

“The Department of Treasury has given us the tools to leverage even more resources to spur the creation of supportive housing,” said CSH President and CEO Deborah De Santis. “Not only will we be able to create the dynamic to house vulnerable people facing instability, this award will help us fulfill our goal of bringing healthcare services to hundreds more who need to access it.”

De Santis explained NMTC allocations can be used to develop facilities such as health care centers, which complement the medical and mental health services often made available to residents of supportive housing.

Thus far, CSH has used NMTC investments to leverage and add to other resources, which in turn have created about 200 units of supportive housing across the country, and enabled 15,000 healthcare visits for those facing homelessness and other forms of housing instability. In addition, CSH investments have generated approximately 800 high-quality permanent and construction jobs in communities.

To learn more about our use of NMTC to promote supportive housing, please see profiles of the Bell Building in Detroit, MI and Paseo Verde in Philadelphia, PA.

With the new award, CSH will address a number of supportive housing projects currently in the pipeline for development and estimates adding another 150 – 200 units of affordable housing, including supportive housing, and an additional 100,000 – 125,000 healthcare visits for those facing homelessness and housing instability.

“The investments made possible by today’s awards will have significant impact nationwide,” said Annie Donovan, Director of the CDFI Fund.

To learn more about CSH’s New Markets Tax Credit strategy visit our lending page or contact our Community Investment Team.

“CSH gets it when it comes to supportive housing and they are willing to work in partnership with developers to tailor their support and products to get the deal done.” Joe Heaphy, NSO (Bell Building) Vice-President of Real Estate Development and Management

Project 25 Report: Housing Homeless Reduces Costs


Project 25

Tommie Faccio, 57, found housing two years ago as part of Project 25. He has degenerative arthritis and prior to having a home and access to regular medical care, he averaged at least two ambulance trips to emergency rooms per month. Photo credit: Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune


Project 25 out of San Diego, California, has issued its final report. Originally designed to offer a pathway off the streets for 25 (then increased to 34) of the most frequent users of San Diego’s emergency services, the idea behind Project 25 is simple: show how housing and medical care, delivered in concert, can reduce costs and improve health outcomes for people who are vulnerable and over-rely on crisis services.

The group of frequent users in Project 25 cost taxpayers and hospitals $4.3 million in responses to 911 calls and other emergency public safety needs in 2010. The initiative took these same people (who were also experiencing homelessness), found them housing, provided them access to preventative medical care and round-the-clock case workers, and costs dropped to $2.2 million in 2013. That’s a savings to the public of more than $2 million per year.

This was the hope of Project 25, a three-year pilot funded by the local chapter of the United Way, and its final report showcases data that proves it works. By taking people off the streets and providing them access to preventative and regular healthcare, Project 25  gave them a better life and saved a lot of money in the process.

CSH worked closely with the United Way in structuring Project 25 and framing the initial Request for Proposal.

We are pleased Project 25 will continue in San Diego under the auspices of Father Joe’s Villages, which has received funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and is now contracting with several health plans to support individual frequent users. These actions should sustain Project 25 well into the future.

Los Angeles County Focuses on Pay for Success

As the Board of Supervisors in Los Angeles County continues to examine Pay for Success as a means to finance social investment, CSH was pleased to partner with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and a steering committee composed of prominent California-based organizations, to host the “Los Angeles Pay-for-Success Symposium” on Thursday, May 28.

Held at the Music Center in Los Angeles, participants included City, County and State leaders as well as experts from around the country who are currently using Pay for Success financing models to fund crucial projects in their communities.

“Problems are big and budgets are tight. Pay for Success can help government, philanthropy, and private capital invest in what works and deliver better outcomes for the people of Los Angeles County.” 

Don Howard, President & CEO, The James Irvine Foundation

Pay for Success – also known as social impact bonds – is an innovative funding model that drives government resources toward effective social programs that provide results, actually helping people who need the services. PFS gives highly impactful service providers, including nonprofits and charities, access to flexible, reliable, and up-front resources to tackle critical social problems by tapping private funding to cover the up-front costs of social programs. Government plays a role, but only pays for programs and services that can prove they are working.PFS_LA_panel1

In a nutshell, Pay for Success:

  • Leverages new financing to invest in proven, preventative services
  • Focuses on identifying & achieving outcomes
  • Incentivizes performance, limits taxpayer risk

Los Angeles County adopted an official Pay for Success Blueprint in October 2013. Since then, the County has been considering proposals and developing a process for further input. CSH and the Nonprofit Finance Fund organized the Symposium with members of a steering committee to further the dialogue and feedback among local officials.

Deb_opening_PFSLADeb De Santis, President and CEO of CSH, welcomed Symposium attendees by pointing out that Pay for Success “reduces the burden on government by bringing others – philanthropy and corporations – to the table to assume the risk. It relies on defining real outcomes and using data and evidence to measure progress, and that means better programs and services in the long run.”

Some of the topics touched on at the Symposium centered on communities that have implemented Pay-for-Success and the leaders and champions within them who mustered local support and the political will to bring successful initiatives to fruition.

In addition, the Symposium focused on:

  • The promise of Pay-for-Success, giving communities a platform to scale up evidence-based practices
  • The high standard for tracking program outcomes, and
  • How to prepare providers and governments for the greater scrutiny of program results necessary to bring private investors to the table.

CSH and the Nonprofit Finance Fund would like to extend our gratitude to the Steering Committee Members who made the Symposium a reality with their guidance and financial support:

Chris Hubbard, California Community Foundation

Bill Pitkin and Andrea Iloulian, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Melody Head and John Moon, The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Connie Malloy and Annelise Grimm, The James Irvine Foundation

Jessica LaBarbera and Jasson Crockett, Nonprofit Finance Fund

Belen Vargas, The Weingart Foundation

CSH Presents Award to Chula Vista City Council

CSH congratulates all of the nominees for a local CSH Supportive Housing Award bestowed recently during the 2015 San Diego Housing Federation Ruby’s dinner. This year’s nominees are: Citronica II, the 25 Cities San Diego Design Team, and the Chula Vista (CA) Housing Initiative. We are pleased to announce the winner is…the Chula Vista Housing Initiative, a partnership of the city, county, and local housing and service providers creating pathways from homelessness for some of the most clinically and socially vulnerable people in the community. See the photos of many smiling people from the San Diego Award’s celebration. CSH recently presented the award to the Chula Vista City Council.

Celadon Makes Its Debut – WOW!

BRIDGE Housing, SVA Architects and their partners marked the grand opening of the Celadon last week in San Diego, California.

celedon-4The 17-story Celadon includes 250 affordable apartments for a multigenerational population. 25 units are reserved for youth aging out of foster care and adults under the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) program, and 63 apartments will serve frail seniors under the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Residents have access to large event space, two laundry rooms and numerous outdoor amenities, including barbecues and a resident garden. The property also features a supportive services office and meeting room. Celadon was designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification and the engineers boast the building is the tallest solar photovoltaic system in the country.

CSH is proud to note our involvement in this project, which kicked off San Diego’s supportive housing pipeline. Nine years ago, CSH staff held a meeting with local housing and service funders to brainstorm on ways to create more supportive housing in the community.  The redevelopment agency in San Diego was just about to publish an RFP stating they “preferred” supportive housing, but as a result of our meeting changed the language to a requirement. It was the beginning of the mandate that 15% of any units funded by the redevelopment agency be set aside as supportive housing. The Celadon is just one realization of our advocacy nearly a decade ago.

Why Vigilance & Advocacy are Vital

blog by CSH President & CEO, Deb De Santis

Two recent developments have produced a wave of advocacy pushing for more supportive housing and affordable housing in general.

The first in California, where a just released independent analysis by the State Legislature indicates very high housing costs and lack of affordable options are hindering economic growth, and increasing poverty and homelessness there.

California has some of the most expensive housing in the country. The average home price is about 2½ times the national norm, while the average monthly rent is about 50% higher. Rents are increasing across the state while incomes are decreasing.

We know the largest cause of homelessness is the inability of people living in poverty to afford housing. Nothing bares this fact out more than the crisis in California.

Over 114,000 Californians are homeless on any given night. With 28,200 Californians experiencing chronic homelessness, California has the highest number of chronically homeless families and individuals in the nation.

Today, those who care about individuals and families struggling with homelessness and others facing housing insecurity, gathered in Sacramento to speak out loudly for more supportive housing, access to affordable rental apartments and services addressing the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Some residents who thrive in supportive housing joined the chorus of affordable housing supporters, meeting with legislators to share their personal stories and press for immediate action.

Organized by CSH, this kind of story sharing builds a connection between formerly homeless – now residents of supportive housing – and decision-makers.

Those who have seen their lives transformed by supportive housing are speaking up because efforts to create more affordable housing options have taken a real hit over the past four years. Cuts of 79% in major state and federal sources of housing funds – due to withering bond financing, the elimination of redevelopment agencies, and sequestration – have stopped many viable projects in their tracks.

CSH and our supportive housing resident-advocates are urging California lawmakers to endorse Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ package of bills to create more affordable housing in the Golden State by:

  • Establishing a “California Building Homes & Jobs Fund,” a permanent source of funding for affordable housing
  • Increasing the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Using a portion of existing funds to reduce recidivism through investment in housing and supports for formerly incarcerated Californians

Other key proposals championed by advocates would:

  • Incorporate “Bringing Families Home” into the State budget, providing grants to counties to house child-welfare-involved families experiencing homelessness
  • Strengthen the CalWORKS Housing Support Program

California’s current predicament should send a stark message to other parts of the nation, but not everyone seems to be getting it.

In Illinois last week, those who care about homeless individuals and families joined with providers of supportive housing (for the homeless and disabled) to warn officials of “unprecedented and costly increases” in homelessness unless they reverse plans to slash the state’s successful safety-net programs.

According to Mike Bach, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Providers Association in Illinois, the proposed budget eliminates all funding for supportive housing services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness; withholds funds for projects to serve the mentally ill; jeopardizes housing for the most vulnerable; and discontinues or severely reduces related human services. Mike points out the cuts would reduce funding for supportive housing for those exiting homelessness by over 80%, denying homes and services not delivered by Medicaid to nearly 13,000 Illinoisans.

What concerns all of us is the reductions could drive very vulnerable people into the streets, jails, nursing homes or state institutions – expensive alternatives they have no choice but to turn to when they cannot access supportive housing. The result will be higher costs to taxpayers for emergency room visits, incarcerations and other expensive crisis response measures.

Whether it’s the housing crisis in California or the potential one in Illinois, our leaders must take action now to ensure there are more, not less, opportunities for Americans to access affordable housing and community-based services crucial to ending and preventing homelessness.

Early Results of TAY Triage Tool: Confirming Validity Outside of Los Angeles

With support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the TAY Triage Tool was developed by Dr. Eric Rice for CSH in conjunction with community partners in Los Angeles during 2012 and 2013. The purpose of the TAY Triage Tool is to identify youth who are at greatest risk of experiencing “long term” homelessness, which we defined as five or more years of homelessness.  The intention of the TAY Triage Tool is to identify youth and young adults most in need of a long-term housing intervention with supportive services, such as supportive housing. However, in working with different communities to utilize the TAY Triage Tool, it became clear that the tool could also be implemented to inform system-level housing and service planning.

This report details the results of preliminary implementation of the TAY Triage Tool in several communities, and resulting findings regarding the validity of the tool and its generalizability.