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.


Funders Spotlight: The New York Community Trust

NYCTThe New York Community Trust works to make New York City a vital and secure place in which to live and work. The Trust tackles nearly all aspects of life in New York City, including addressing the needs of homeless youth and families. Committed to sticking with significant issues that don’t lend themselves to quick or easy solutions, the Trust takes on projects that utilize new approaches to long-standing issues and that tackle emerging problems and opportunities.

With the support of the New York Community Trust, CSH has been working to ensure transition-age youth can access high-quality youth supportive housing in New York City through researching data and targeting tools, improving quality in youth supportive housing, and advocating for the creation of new youth supportive housing. The Trust has supported CSH in bringing together a group of youth supportive housing providers for a “Learning Lab” to develop a common framework of high-quality youth supportive housing. This framework will be utilized in a peer-evaluation tool and to inform new resources for youth supportive housing. CSH has partnered with the Mayor’s Office Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence to understand the experience of Transition Age Youth as they move through the housing and service system. CSH is leveraging the findings of this initiative to inform youth housing access and advocate for new youth units to be created in the next New York/New York Supportive Housing agreement. Mary Noto, the Assistant Program Director at SCO Family of Services and one of the participants in the Learning Lab said Having forums, such as this Learning Lab, to make recommendations that reflect the lessons learned by those already providing services is an imperative part of advocacy and system reform.  Participation in the CSH Learning Lab has enhanced the opportunity for us as providers to deepen the dialogue around the quality of youth supportive housing being operated in NYC.  We know that this work significantly enhances the advocacy efforts for more youth supportive housing.”

CSH will be hosting a Transition Age Youth Forum on September 22, 2015 to bring together a cross-sector group for a fishbowl discussion. The Forum will focus on the current youth housing options and the referral system to help inform key system-level recommendations.

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.”


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

Connecticut’s Barbara Geller, A Supportive Housing Pioneer

dmhasWord out of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) is Barbara Geller is retiring as director of the Statewide Services Division. For more than 20 years, Barbara has been a partner with CSH and a dedicated champion of programs meeting the diverse, unique mental health and addiction services needs of her state’s most vulnerable people, including those facing homelessness and other forms of housing instability.

In her role at DMHAS, Barbara was one of the original leaders of the movement to establish supportive housing as the solution for chronic homelessness in Connecticut. Under her leadership, more than 5,000 units of supportive housing have been developed statewide. A visionary, Barbara also helped advance housing first and supportive housing as a solution to some of Connecticut’s most complex problems such as how to better serve frequent users of crisis and emergency care. Her work has not only helped to improve the lives of many individuals and families in her own state, she is regarded as a national leader and true advocate for those most in need.

We at CSH wish Barbara all of the best in her retirement.

Hundreds Rally to Call on Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to Create More Supportive Housing for Homeless

NY-NY RallyHundreds rallied in front of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Office in midtown last week to call for fully funding supportive housing. Supportive housing – housing which is combined with mental health and other support services – is proven to be cost-effective and successful in reducing homelessness for vulnerable New Yorkers. Every unit of supportive housing built saves more than $10,000 per year in taxpayer dollars through the reduced use of costly shelters, hospitals, psych centers and incarceration. “Supportive housing is the proven solution to ending chronic homelessness. It is significantly less expensive than the institutional alternatives that homeless people often cycle through– including shelters, psychiatric centers and hospitals. With the state facing record homelessness and the current NY NY III Agreement coming to an end, now is the time for a new statewide agreement for 35,000 units of supportive housing over the next 10 years,” said Laura D. Mascuch, Executive Director, Supportive Housing Network of New York. More than 20,000 households are found eligible for supportive housing in New York City each year, but currently there’s only one housing unit available for every five certified applicants – leaving thousands homeless. In 2014, Last year (2014), there was a record 24,766 applications for NY/NY housing — a 10% increase in demand over the prior year. “Reducing record homelessness in New York City will be impossible if Albany cuts cost-effective tools like supportive housing,” said Mary Brosnahan, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless. “Governor Cuomo and Albany leaders need to step up and reverse these cuts, or thousands of New Yorkers will remain in homeless for years to come.” Hundreds of mental-health and housing providers, alongside clergy and activists formed the Campaign 4 New York/New York Housing, have called for the creation of 35,000 units of supportive housing over the next ten years. But Governor Cuomo proposed agreement would create just 5,000 new units of supportive housing — leading to years of increased homelessness in New York City and across the state. A new analysis from the Coalition for the Homeless estimated that failure to create 35,000 units of supportive housing statewide could add up to 7,600 to New York City’s homeless rolls by 2020, while costing taxpayers up to $1.35 billion over the next ten years. “The Governor made a bold commitment to ending AIDS in NYS. Part of his plan requires providing supportive housing to all those living with and at risk for HIV. Supportive housing solves homelessness, but it also does so much more. It is actually one of the most effective HIV prevention tools that we have. We need NY/NY IV housing now,” said Jennifer Flynn, Executive Director of VOCAL-NY. “Supportive housing is key not just to ending homelessness, but also to fulfilling New York’s historic goal of ending the AIDS epidemic. Studies show that supportive housing works and saves taxpayer money, because it pairs permanent affordable housing with the care that vulnerable New Yorkers need. Albany and New York City must come together to fully fund this proven resource,” said Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC. “A strong permanent supportive housing agreement will send a powerful signal to members of our congregations and the general public, advocates and stakeholders and the entire country that New York is serious in its determination to end homelessness – and will help to affirm the public’s faith that Government is committed to helping all citizens to live full and decent lives,” said Marc Greenberg Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly. “Supportive housing has proven to be the most cost-effective solution to alleviating homelessness.” Tony Hannigan, Executive Director, Center for Urban Community Services. “We can only get to an AIDS-Free New York when all New Yorkers are stably housed. We’ve long known that housing status is among the strongest predictors of access to HIV care, health outcomes, and transmission risk. Strengthening supportive housing is a key component of New York State’s Ending the Epidemic Blueprint, and we strongly urge the creation of 35,000 units of supportive housing across the State,” said Charles King, Housing Works President & CEO, and community co-chair of the Ending the Epidemic Task Force. “Homelessness is on the rise across New York and we have providers eager to develop more supportive housing to address it, but they’re stuck in a holding pattern because they lack the necessary commitment from the State and City. This isn’t a debate about supportive housing; we already know it works to end homelessness. What we need is for the Governor and Mayor to fully embrace NY/NY IV Housing by signing the agreement so we can move forward to get people off our streets and housed for good,” said Kristin Miller, director in New York for the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). “The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies is pleased to join its advocacy partners in calling for a robust supportive housing plan that will meet the needs of disadvantaged residents of New York City and State. Housing is a the key element for promoting recovery for people with behavioral health issues (both mental illness and/or addiction). We urge the Mayor and Governor to craft a NY/NY 4 agreement that will substantially address the need and provide the shelter and services so desperately required for people to resume productive lives in the community,” said Phillip Saperia, CEO, The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. “New York has been a leader in homelessness and affordable housing policies, and we have an opportunity to reinforce that leadership if the Governor and the Mayor sign a robust NY/NY IV agreement now. In addition to ending homelessness for people and families with significant barriers to housing, like mental illness and addiction, supportive housing is cost effective and financed through a highly successful model of public-private partnerships. However, without the guarantee of these funds, we will lose the chance not only to help get people off the street and into permanent housing, but also to leverage millions of dollars in private equity,” said Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. The Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing includes more than 200 organizations. Participants in today’s rally includethe Coalition for the Homeless, Services for the Underserved, Community Access, CUCS, VOCAL-NY, Enterprise Community Partners, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Good Shepherd Services, Housing Works, Homeless Services United, Association for Community Living, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, Supportive Housing Network of New York, Goddard Riverside Community Center, Henry Street Settlement, Project Renewal, and Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies.

DC Council Approves Plan to Address Homelessness

By Deborah De Santis

Back in March of this year, I touted an ambitious Strategic Plan to End Homelessness proposed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and the local Interagency Council on Homelessness in our nation’s capital.

Mayor Bowser made the Plan a top priority and attracted nationally-recognized experts to her administration to get the job done. She has set concrete goals and timelines, relying on the kind of systems changing initiatives known to make a real difference in the battle to prevent and end homelessness.

I am happy to note that the significant housing development and rental assistance financing called out in the Plan have now passed the City Council.

The Mayor and City Council recognized the need to make a substantial investment in supportive and other forms of affordable housing. The price tag is in the hundreds-of-millions. But, and the evidence for this is solid, doing nothing – keeping people in temporary shelters and providing crisis services on the streets – will cost District taxpayers far more over the long run than creating quality, affordable rental units with health care access and community-based preventive services.

In a nutshell, the Mayor initiated and Council approved:

  • $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund for the preservation and production of affordable housing.
  • $8.8 million increase for the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. This includes an addition by Council of $1.8 million and, combined with the investment proposed by Mayor Bowser, will serve 110 families and 365 individuals through new supportive housing leasing and services. The investment makes great strides to end homelessness and improve the lives of people who have lived on DC’s streets for too long.
  • $9 million increase for Local Rent Supplement Program tenant-based vouchers. Increases from the Council include $5 million for traditional tenant-based vouchers and $2.3 million for Targeted Affordable Housing (TAH). Under the Interagency Council on Homelessness’ Strategic Plan, TAH meets an unmet need by serving families and individuals exiting rapid re-housing or supportive housing in need of ongoing housing assistance with right-sized supportive services.
  • $2.4 Million for Local Rent Supplement Program project and sponsor-based vouchers to produce affordable housing.

The bottom line is always the supply of affordable housing or the lack thereof, and access to health care and supportive services. In other words, many people would not face the prospect of homelessness if they had an affordable place to live and quality health care. It is clear Mayor Bowser, her advisors, and the District’s City Council all recognize these facts and are committed to making the necessary investments to tackle the root causes of homelessness.

As I stated before, they know all too well that failure to confront these problems head on today will lead to much bigger headaches tomorrow.

Essex County NJ Veterans Housing Academy

CSH, with the support of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, is pleased to announce the launch of an exciting initiative aimed at improving outcomes for homeless and vulnerable veterans in Essex County by increasing the military cultural competency of providers that serve them. The Veterans Housing and Services Academy will build the capacity of housing and human services providers in Essex County to offer accessible and culturally-competent services to homeless and formerly homeless veterans. The Academy will include eight half-day sessions centered around trainings led by experts on topics such as military cultural competency, issues affecting women in the military, legal issues, employment, families and common mental health issues for veterans. The trainings are targeted at field staff supervisors who work with case managers and veterans on a regular basis. Agencies may select up to two staff members to participate in the training series.

The Essex County Veterans Housing and Services Academy will be the third iteration of this unique training series. CSH held our first Veteran Supportive Housing Academy in New York City 2013 and our second in 2014; these rounds were made possible by support from Capital One. The Academy was developed in response to the recognition that there are gaps between civilian and military cultural knowledge that may decrease accessibility or quality of services provided to homeless and formerly homeless veterans. Both rounds of the Academy had great impact on the quality and range of services available to vulnerable veterans in New York City. Participating organizations implemented a number of programmatic changes in response to the lessons learned, such as changing language to make intake forms more veteran-friendly, implementing peer components of their programs and engaging staff around the importance of learning about veteran-specific issues. CSH is excited to be able to offer the Academy in Essex County, with the support of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

The Academy will employ a ‘train- the trainer’ approach, equipping staff with best practices, tools and ideas on how to implement lessons learned through changes in organizational policy and service delivery techniques of frontline staff. Academy sessions will include facilitated discussions around ways to implement lessons learned and time for participants to share changes that their organizations have made as a result of the Academy trainings. In addition, CSH will work to help participants learn from each other and explore how to work together to provide more integrated, accessible services for local veterans.

The Kick-off event for the training series will be held June 18, 2015 and the first training session of the series will be held in Newark, New Jersey on June 25. If you are interested in applying, please complete the Veterans Housing and Services Academy Application and MOU and return them electronically to by 5:00 PM Friday, May 29. If you have any questions, please reach out to Janis Ikeda via the email above or at 212-986-2966 x. 268.

Reentry Focus of CSH-hosted New England Forum

Leaders of state and local criminal justice systems and other officials from throughout New England convened today in Hartford, CT to discuss opportunities and barriers to financing and scaling innovative programs aimed at integrating the housing needs of persons reentering communities from jails and prisons. As national experts in the use of supportive housing as a bridge to ensure successful reentry, CSH staff is uniquely positioned to bring together experienced providers and policymakers for a robust examination of such issues as why it is important for criminal justice systems to invest in housing in the community and why public housing authorities should be more focused on targeting individuals leaving jails and prisons.

Sarah Gallagher, CSH Director in Connecticut  welcomed participants to the CSH New England Reentry Leadership Forum this morning and CSH Eastern Region Managing Director Ryan Moser moderated a fishbowl that examined both the potential and challenges that exist in the financing of housing-based programs for reentry populations. The day-long conversation included a spotlight on reentry efforts in New York City as well as Ohio, and a full airing of topics that covered the policy, operational, and programmatic barriers to developing reentry initiatives and methods for measuring success. Participants looked forward to the future of reentry housing and concentrated on action planning to capitalize on opportunities that will bring supportive housing to scale as a reentry solution.

In addition to CSH professionals and other specialists in reentry housing, the Forum attracted Scott Semple, Interim Commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Corrections, and A.T. Wall, Director of the State of Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

Click here to see the presentation on Returning Home Ohio. Click here to see the presentation on the New York City FUSE evaluation.

Florida – NY Peer to Peer on Supportive Housing for Child Welfare Involved Families

BrowardCountyVisit_2Florida’s Broward County HEART Alliance team participated in a peer-to-peer visit in NYC this week, including a visit to Palladia’s Fox Point in the Bronx, with the purpose of exploring strategies to realize supportive housing in Broward County, discussing best practices for operating scattered site programs, and discussing ways that the child welfare system and supportive housing providers can collaborate.

The HEART Alliance is one of five grantees selected for the Administration for Children, Youth and Families Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families with Child Welfare Involvement.  Through the Child Welfare Supportive Housing Resource Center, CSH is providing technical assistance, alongside the Center for the Study of Social Policy, to the 5 grantees nationally.

Click here to read more about the HEART Alliance and the Child Welfare Supportive Housing Resource Center.