David Howden Named New Director in LA

CSH has promoted David Howden to Director of the Los Angeles program. David’s tenure with CSH, his dedication to our work, and his extensive system knowledge and relationships in the community will be incredible assets in taking us to the next level in this extraordinary journey for CSH Los Angeles.

David has close to 20 years of experience in assisting communities with sound strategies to address and end homelessness. He has taken this solid background to a new level in LA. As a Senior Program Manager and then Acting Director, he has worked closely with public and private sector partners to align systems and increase resources. He has spearheaded efforts to strengthen the capacity of service providers and developers to bring supportive housing to scale.

David was a recognized leader in the two successful referenda to raise billions to pay for new supportive housing and services, and was instrumental in forging a partnership and Memorandum of Understanding between the City and County that will serve as the dynamic framework for ending homelessness in LA.

Over the past few years, David has worked with our Home for Good partners to design a Coordinated Entry System (CES) throughout the region. David also led a community-based planning effort to develop a regional homeless strategic plan for San Gabriel Valley, which included both a comprehensive needs assessment and an implementation strategy.

Prior to joining CSH, David was with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, where he was Funding Manager from 2001 to 2008. His responsibilities included oversight of the annual Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Programs application for one of the largest Continuums in the United States.

David has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University.

We are very proud of what David and the CSH team in Los Angeles are accomplishing together and look forward to their even greater impact and success in the future.

Partnerships Create Family Stability

Deborah De Santis, President and CEO of CSH, was in Beaver Creek Colorado on October 5 to present at the Annual Colorado NOW! Conference. The presentation was part of a panel discussion focused on creating family stability through multi-system partnerships. Deb highlighted the CSH Keeping Families Together model and key partners working with CSH to implement supportive housing for child welfare-involved families through a national ACYF demonstration initiative. She also cited local Colorado communities implementing cross-system partnerships between housing and Child Welfare. Colorado Panel_10_5_16-1

The panelists shared views on how local Colorado communicates can work to break down programmatic and policy barriers that get in the way of effective service delivery for vulnerable families.

Other presenters on the panel were:

  • Jenn Lopez, Colorado Director of Homeless Initiatives, Office of Governor Hickenlooper (moderator)
  • Betsy Cronin, The Connection Inc.- ACYF Demonstration site, CT
  • Anne Farrell, Ph.D, Director of Research, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago (ACYF Demonstration program evaluator)
  • Frank Alexander, Director of Boulder County Department of Health & Human Services (County Department where the PHA and Child Welfare systems are integrated)

Washington State Moves Forward to Help People with Pressing Health & Housing Needs

Vulnerable residents in Washington State received welcomed news this week when the federal government provided preliminary approval for the use of Medicaid dollars to create a supportive housing services benefit as part of an 1115 Waiver, effectively expanding opportunities to help people with the most complex health care and housing needs to access and remain in housing. WA_MAP_BLANK_BLUE

“In August of 2014, CSH, in partnership with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, issued a call to action encouraging states to apply to the national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to include supportive housing services in their state Medicaid programs,” said Deborah De Santis, President and CEO of CSH. “CMS last year publicly indicated that pre-tenancy and tenancy-sustaining services can and should be part of state Medicaid programs. Approving Washington State’s request this past Monday now backs up these words with concrete action that will make a difference in the lives of thousands of Washingtonians and pave the way for all states to create supportive housing services benefits.”

Supportive housing offers the most vulnerable people, including those experiencing homelessness, access to affordable rental units and services to keep them housed and healthy. A lack of reliable financing for the services in supportive housing has been identified as one of the biggest barriers to ending chronic homelessness in Washington State and throughout the country.

“This benefit will help bring the services to scale that are necessary for people experiencing chronic homelessness to access housing stability and better health,” said Kate Baber, Policy and Advocacy Specialist, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

By authorizing what is known as Washington State’s five-year demonstration waiver, CMS is allowing the State to establish a benefit to provide the core services in supportive housing so that it will be far less likely residents are turned away from key services because providers lack resources.

“It gives service providers an essential tool to expand or enhance what they are doing to create supportive housing,” said Debbie Thiele, Director of CSH National Consulting Team, who is based in Washington State. “Having a place to live is paramount for establishing stability for anyone, and tenancy-support services ensure that the most vulnerable people succeed in housing. Finally having the revenue to pay for these services will provide a platform from which people with the greatest needs can rebuild their lives.”

Thiele specifically called out the efforts of multiple partners in Washington State, specifically the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, for generating the advocacy needed to produce state-wide support for the benefit and the State of Washington, for delivering the newly-approved waiver.

“The Alliance recognizes the integral role these services play in preventing people from re-entering homelessness, and their work on the ground was critical to the formation of the request and in convincing the State to submit the waiver application to CMS,” she said.

$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




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.

Supportive Housing for Individuals with Long Term Care Needs – Guest Blog & Training Video from Liz Prince

Liz Prince is the Project Director, Money Follows the Person Project, Washington State Department of Aging and Long-Term Support Administration

Supportive Housing is an evidence-based intervention for individuals having behavioral health needs and experiencing homelessness, but could it also be an effective intervention for individuals with long term care needs?  In Washington State, the Aging and Long Term Support Administration (ALTSA) teamed up with CSH to start a conversation about supportive housing specifically as a resource for long term care clients.

WA State has long been a leader in providing home and community based resources for its residents, but independent housing options continue to pose a challenge, particularly for individuals with very complex needs.  Designed to both give an overview of supportive housing basics and make the case for it’s potential to address some stubborn long term care service issues, this 10 minute video draws parallels between the well-defined existing supportive housing population  and people with long term care needs who struggle with existing care options.

Supportive Housing and Long-Term Care Video

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. http://housingmatterssd.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/SDMH-FactSheet-Mason-1.pdf

Site Visit – Cedar Gateway- with Dr. Piedad Garcia, Assistant Deputy Director, County of San Diego, Department of Mental Health. http://housingmatterssd.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/SDMH-FactSheet-CedarGateway.pdf

Meeting – San Diego Housing Commission – with Melissa Peterman, Director Homeless Housing Innovation Department, and Suket Dayal, Director of Strategy for the SDHC. http://www.sdhc.org/Special-Housing-Programs.aspx?id=7616

Meeting -25 Cities San Diego – with representatives Tom Theisan and Jessielee Cooley. http://endingsdhomelessness.org/2014/04/22/the-25-cities-initiative-is-launching-in-san-diego/

August 6

Meeting – San Diego City Administration Building – with Jessica Lawrence, staff to Councilmember Todd Gloria, Chair of Regional Continuum of Care Council. http://www.sandiegococ.org/

Meeting – Behavioral Health Services Housing Council. http://sandiego.camhsa.org/planning.aspx

Meeting – Community Research Foundation- with ACT Team Clinical Director Troy Boyle. http://www.comresearch.org/


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”.

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.