Veteran Supportive Housing Opens in Kokomo, Indiana

On May 22, the Family Service Association (FSA) held the grand opening of Jackson Street Commons, a 27 unit Veteran supportive housing development near downtown Kokomo, IN. Mayor Goodnight expressed in his remarks that “This project is so good for our community in so many ways. I really do feel that it brought our community together and it infused millions of dollars into this neighborhood while creating a place for Veterans to call home.”

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FSA Executive Director Judy Dennis, in her comments at the opening asked, “The question is not why they ended up homeless, it’s how did we as a society let this happen?” She went on to describe how Jackson Street Commons will address Veteran homelessness by offering 27 units of supportive housing to those who have served our country and need both affordable housing and accessible supportive services in order to be housed and remain housed.

The development team graduated from CSH’s Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute in 2011 and received a pre-development initiation loan from CSH. The service team includes FSA,  the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, and Community Howard Regional Health.

Denise Deitzen, Medical Center Director of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, commented while touring the building that this has been a wonderful opportunity to partner with a community to end Veteran homelessness. This site targets Veterans who have experienced chronic homelessness and those with the greatest barriers.

Pete, a 53 year-old Veteran who has experienced homelessness for three and a half years, attended this opening in anticipation of moving into his own apartment the following week. “All of my adult life, until I became homeless, I used to be somebody,” he stated. “I’d like to be somebody again one day and think that this place is going to give me the chance.” Pete went on to share that once he gets settled, he would like to find a way to give back to the community.

305_JSC Lobby_14This development was financed with a HOME grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and gap financing came from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, City of Kokomo, Howard County, community donations, and the VFW Post 1152.

Every room is furnished and comes stocked with kitchen and bathroom necessities including pots pans, plates, silverware, towels, hygiene items, etc. Also, a framed saying in each room honors Veterans with the following quote:

“A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for any amount, up to and including their life.”

Click here to read the local press about this grand opening.

*Photo credit to Tim Bath, Kokomo Tribune

Supportive Housing for Veterans Breaks Ground in Muncie, IN

Mayor Dennis Tyler welcomed the community to the Walnut Commons ground breaking ceremony on May 29th, and read a proclamation stating at the City of Muncie is committed to ending homelessness and sees permanent supportive housing as one of the most critical elements to a comprehensive strategy. Click here to read the full proclamation.

3D model(master)REND2-RevSKY18 (Custom)This 44 unit supportive housing development will house Veterans who are experiencing homelessness and those who are facing chronic homelessness. Daveri Development Group will develop, own and operate the building, Meridian Health Services will provide supportive services, and linkages will be made to the VA on behalf of those with military services. The development team participated in the Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute that is sponsored by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and facilitated by CSH, and the project was awarded a CSH pre-development loan.

Hank Milius, President and CEO of Meridian Health Services, spoke about Meridian’s commitment to providing quality primary and behavioral healthcare to tenants. Gerald Cyranowski and Susan Buckingham also spoke about Meridian’s work to provide support for the most vulnerable members of the community.

305_crowd_14The development will feature a state-of-the-art energy efficient three-story building with on-site office and clinic space for supportive services and property management, as well as a community room, computer areas, laundry facility, bike storage and outdoor patio.

Walnut Commons is primarily funded through IHCDA through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. IHCDA Executive Director Jake Sipe spoke about the placement of this development into a revitalization neighborhood, and how important it is that tenants will have access to nearby amenities. The development also benefited from support from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, with operational support from the Indiana Balance of State Continuum of Care.

305_team_14Click here to read an article published in The Star Press on May 28th, 2014 about Walnut Commons.

On the left, local service providers from Bridges Community Services and Meridian Health Services pose while celebrating this much needed supportive housing development.

CSH Works with Indianapolis to Develop Coordinated Access System

Earlier this month, CSH facilitated a two-day Charrette on Coordinated Access in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contracting with CHIP (Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention of Greater Indianapolis), CSH coordinated weekly meetings with community leaders prior to the event, which informed Charrette topics. The result was a Charrette focused on solidifying the design of a Coordinated Access System and creating a plan for implementation.

The intensive discussion process included conversations around community goals, housing models and targeting, access points and flow, prioritization, streamlining, shifting resources, and data sharing and accountability. By bringing together champions in the community, CSH condensed a discussion and decision-making process, which might have otherwise dragged on for years.

As a result of the Charrette, community leaders in Indianapolis will be moving forward with a roll-out plan for their new Coordinated Access System.

Contact Consulting and Training at consulting@csh.org to discuss how CSH can bring similar events to your community.

South Shore Commons Opens in Gary, IN

South Shore Commons, a supportive housing apartment complex for 60 households, opened in early February in Gary, Indiana. This development will house people who have formerly experienced homelessness who have a disability, and voluntary services will be provided by Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living.

Edgewater Systems led a team through the Indiana Supportive Housing Institute and received a pre-development loan and technical assistance from CSH. The team includes UP Development LLC, Broadway Area Community Development Corporation, NSP Consultants and the City of Gary. The development received Low Income Housing Tax Credits and operational support from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

290_ribbon cutting_140Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson expressed her strong support for this development, calling it extraordinary, and spoke at the ribbon cutting about how providing this type of support for “the least among us” will help households elevate their own status, which will elevate the rest of the community as well.

I Love Living Here – From a Tenant’s Point of View

“I can tell you exactly how much I love living here. First, let me ask you what your favorite food is,” Durrell inquired as we sat in a lounge at the Crawford Apartments in Bloomington, IN. “I sincerely enjoy lasagna,” I responded. “Exactly ─ living here is like eating the best piece of lasagna. I just love it,” he reported before taking me on a tour of the building that ended with showing me his own apartment.

Crawford Apartments is a 25 unit supportive housing apartment building that opened in September of 2013. Named after Mr. Frank “Road Dog” Crawford, a gentleman who passed away while experiencing homelessness in Bloomington, the development targets people who have faced chronic homelessness and multiple barriers. Among other things, LifeDesigns, the Shalom Center, Hayes-Gibson International Property Management, and their partners see this as a strong step toward never allowing another person to die on these streets.

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Durrell was proud to show me a number of building highlights, but none more than the blanket on his bed. He disclosed that he used to curl up under it while sleeping on the sidewalk near the old court house. It remains important to him as a symbol of how far he has come.

While serving a brief prison sentence for violating his probation, Durrell learned about and followed the progress of Crawford Apartments through the newspaper. While he had cycled through jail for drinking in public, Durrell had never been to prison before. The idea of potentially living in such a beautiful apartment building with support services helped him to feel hopeful while there. After his release, an outreach worker asked if she could help him move into Crawford Apartments as he qualified for this housing opportunity. He was delighted to say yes.

On the table in his family room he displayed a poster of the Indiana University Basketball team with several autographs. A few of the players came by to play basketball with the residents recently and Durrell was eager to tell the story of scrimmaging with these athletes.

While discussing his neighbors, Durrell commented that he was unsure as to why some of them still slept outside behind the dumpster. He went on to say that he was very happy to be able to sleep inside in his own home.

Later during my visit, I met one of the gentleman Durrell had described. He explained that he kept his things nice and dry inside, and came in if it was cold or if he felt like it, but that he has spent many nights sleeping under the stars since moving in two months ago. He went on to say that he loved having a home and knowing he could come inside at anytime, though he has been sleeping outside for years and it may take a little while to fully adjust to sleeping inside.  The staff members offering support at Crawford Apartments champion his right to transition into living in his home at his own pace. After all, their harm reduction approach ensures that tenants are able to move in the direction of change as they feel comfortable doing so.

305_Durrell_13When asked if he would be willing to take a photo, Durrell said that he would be glad to do so and that it should include his brand new crock-pot, as he loves to cook. So he graciously posed in his kitchen as I imagined what it must be like to live in a place that is just as amazing as the best piece of lasagna ever made. It sounds like an ideal place to call home.

 

NWI Veterans Village Breaks Ground

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson applauded the North West Indiana Veteran Village development team for acting to end Veteran homelessness at a ground breaking held in Gary on Veterans Day. The development will include 44 units of supportive housing for Veterans, along with a computer room, exercise room, roof garden, and a restaurant that will be open to the public and serve as a training ground for Veterans interested in pursuing a career in culinary arts.

Broadway Area CDC is the developer of this blockbuster project, and their development team includes The Whitsett Group, LLC, Terrell Taylor Construction, Veterans Life Changing Services, the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, and the NWI Regional Planning Council. Funds were provided by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and the City of Gary; Great Lakes Capitol is the development syndicator; the construction loan was provided by BMO Harris Bank; and CSH provided a pre-development loan from the CSH Supportive Housing Solutions Fund.

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Sharron Liggins, Broadway Area CDC Board President and Representative for the Continuum of Care/Regional Planning Council, addressed the group with words inspired by an act of kindness on a New York subway. “One young stranger fell asleep on the other more mature stranger’s shoulder. The sleeping young man was allowed to remain asleep and undisturbed for over 20 minutes. When asked why he let the young man sleep on his shoulder, the gentleman said we have all been there in having a hard day, and he understood. Thus, I share NWI Veterans Village is that shoulder of comfort and that softened heart.” Ms. Liggins went on to thank all who have shared in the purposeful movement for Veterans by providing a home that will act as a shoulder of empathy for undisturbed rest and rejuvenation.

The outdoor event was held under a tent to shelter the group from a windy, cold, rainy day. It was mentioned on several occasions that if it is somewhat painful to be outside during such weather for a short period of time, no Veteran should have to endure this pain for even one night.

This team completed the Indiana Supportive Housing Institute in 2011 and has made great strides to develop a much needed apartment complex for those who have served our country and live in shelters or on the streets. Click here to read more about this development and ground breaking ceremony.

602_NWI Leaders_November_13Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson poses with members of the development team on the grounds that will host the NWI Veteran Village.

Indiana Lt. Governor Presents YOUnity Village with Urban Affordable Housing Award

YOUnity Village, a 30 unit supportive housing development in Terre Haute, was awarded the Excellence in Affordable Housing and Community Development award by Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann at the 2013 Indiana Housing and Economic Development Annual Conference. This conference was hosted by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and the Indiana Association of Community Economic Development.

Myra Wilkey, pictured above accepting the award, is the Executive Director of Mental Health America of Vigo County and a strong supportive housing champion. She has developed a premier development that serves the most vulnerable people who had previously experienced homelessness in Terre Haute and live with a mental illness. Myra led her team, including staff from Mental Health of America Vigo County and Hamilton Center, through the Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute and facilitated their progress, bringing YOUnity Village to life.

Click here to read more about this award and YOUnity Village.

2014 Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute Application

CSH is excited to announce its fifth Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute. The 2014 Supportive Housing Institute will exclusively address ending homelessness for Veterans, families, and those experiencing chronic homelessness. This series will help non-profits learn how to navigate the complex process of developing housing with support services and is expected to reduce the time it takes to obtain funding for homeless housing by improving the planning and application process. Consideration will be given to both integrated housing (with 25% of the housing set aside for supportive housing) and 100% supportive housing developments. Please review the application by clicking on this resource.

Crawford Apartments Open in Bloomington, Indiana

A new construction 25 unit supportive housing development called Crawford Apartments opened in Bloomington, IN on September 6th to a full house of new tenants, neighbors, and champions. Mayor Mark Kruzan welcomed the community to the grand opening of this development serving people who have faced chronic homelessness. All tenants were selected by using a vulnerability index to ensure that those with the greatest needs were screened into housing. Please click here to view additional pictures of Crawford Apartments and the Ribbon Cutting event for this development.

Crawford Apartments was named in honor of Mr. Franklin “Road Dog” Crawford. Those who knew Frank enjoyed his sense of humor and lively spirit. Cycling between the local hospital and streets, Frank suffered from many ailments and would have been an ideal tenant for this apartment complex. It was only discovered that Frank had passed away when a neighbor found his body in a dumpster. He had literately been thrown away. A group of providers joined together with a mission to never allow this to happen to anyone else in South Central IN by developing supportive housing for vulnerable individuals who have been on the streets for a very long time.

This team is led by LifeDesigns (developer) and the Shalom Center (supportive service provider) and includes Milestone Ventures (development consultant), Hayes Gibson International (property manager), Bloomington Housing Authority, IU Hospital, Positive Link, Kurt Buehler, a member of Genesis Church and community leader with a passion for serving those with the greatest barriers. This group completed the Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute in 2011 and received a Pre-development Initiation Loan from CSH.

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Having developed quality affordable housing over the past six years, LifeDesigns opted to lend their experience to this worthwhile project. Executive Director, Susan Rinne, stated that “over the course of our involvement in the Supportive Housing Institute and planning for the project we became aware of the efficacy of this model and the high level of need in our community. We were pleased to be able to be part of the solution and this wonderful team of agencies and individuals working toward ending homelessness here in south central Indiana.” She went on to say that “the Apartments will provide safe, affordable housing to a very vulnerable group of people. And when they have that along with greater access to services, we know will save our community money that can be redirected to other needs. A win, win that will ultimately improve the whole community.”

Rodney Stockment, Indiana Housing Community Development Authority Research and Innovation Senior Associate had this to say: “Crawford Apartments is leading the way in developing a “Housing First” supportive housing development. Housing First represents a significant paradigm shift in addressing the costly phenomenon of homelessness. This strategy demonstrates impressive outcomes when people are supported in a permanent, housed environment, rather than targeted for intensive services in shelters or streets. Crawford Apartments will have a huge impact on individuals with long histories of homelessness by providing them with stable housing and access to services. Crawford Apartments happened because of the passion and courage the team has to provide the most vulnerable among us housing and dignity.”

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CSH is proud to have been part of this journey and we look forward to staying involved as Crawford Apartments transitions from a development project to an operating supportive housing development that shines as an example of what can be done when a community believes that they can do better for those who are the most vulnerable. We believe that Mr. Crawford would have approved.

Indiana Supportive Housing Tenants Create a Housing Task Force

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The final training session on Integrated Housing and Integrated Healthcare facilitated by CSH featured a Supportive Housing Tenant Track. This program led by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and CSH staff involved sessions on telling your story as a part of advocating for change, peer support, and using your expertise to influence the future of supportive housing. Tenants from Goshen, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Muncie, and Terre Haute joined together during this session to form a NAMI Housing Committee, elected officers, and selected four areas to focus on in the first year:

1. Expand access to and knowledge of supportive housing,
2. Expand access to healthcare,
3. Connect families with children to needed housing and support,
4. Increase peer support

The Housing Committee and staff from NAMI and CSH will meet again in Indianapolis on September 18th and 19th to begin mapping out strategies and a timeline for recruiting additional members and advancing group goals. The second day will involve meeting with the Balance of State Continuum of Care Board of Directors.

All tenants of Indiana supportive housing and those who have an interest in ending homelessness are encouraged to join this NAMI Housing Committee. Please contact Stephanie for more information at 317-632-5874 or stephanie.sideman@csh.org