Dimensions of Quality Supportive Housing Guidebook

In creating and sharing the CSH Dimensions of Quality Supportive Housing, CSH strives to:

  • Build the capacity of the supportive and affordable housing industries to create and operate highquality,
    effective, and sustainable supportive housing units
  • Encourage the investment of adequate resources, especially from public systems, to support that
  • Ensure that existing resources for supportive housing are being used efficiently and effectively,
    and support the allocation of new resources
  • Create better outcomes for supportive housing tenants, especially those with multiple barriers to
    housing stability

Hope for the Best; Prepare for the Worst

Today the CSH Aging Academy is examining “Emergency Preparedness – Mitigating Disasters and Emergencies.” 

On the heels of two of the worst weather events in American history (Harvey and Irma), preparing and positioning supportive housing providers, especially those meeting the needs of older adults, to address natural and man-made disasters is both timely and imperative.

Laurie Schoeman, Enterprise Community Partners, joins CSH at our headquarters in New York City to lead a robust discussion touching on:

  • The importance of Capital Needs Assessment (C.N.A) for supportive housing
  • How to maintain business continuity throughout an emergency or disaster event
  • How to ensure housing infrastructure is able to withstand an emergency event
  • How to attain resilience to a variety of climate events
  • How to plan for capital needs

Participants also are being exposed to the “ins and outs” of the Disaster Staffing Toolkit. Having the right plan in place before a disaster will ensure an effective, coordinated response. The Disaster Staffing Toolkit is based on the Incident Command System (ICS), a planning framework used by federal, state and local first responders to help with command, control and coordination of disaster response. Read an overview of the toolkit to understand the importance of developing a disaster staffing plan.

Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit

“Disaster can strike anytime, anywhere. Having the right plan in place before will help ensure supportive housing providers have a quick, comprehensive and coordinated response that saves lives and preserves as much housing as possible.”

Housing for Families & Veterans Underway in San Diego

Vista del Puente Apartments recently broke ground in San Diego, CA. Developed by Townspeople together with National Community Renaissance, Vista del Puente is a three-story, community composed of 52 apartments that will feature one, two and three-bedroom units. Twenty-six of the units will be designated for homeless Veteran households, 12 for homeless families and 13 traditional affordable units will also be provided for individuals and families.

CSH provided a $500,000 acquisition loan so that the developers could purchase the property. This type of capital is often necessary to get a project off the ground and we are thrilled to see this milestone happen!

Vista del Puente will feature an expansive community room, secured entry, tot lot, barbeque area and laundry room. The 2,500 square-feet of community space will be designated for onsite case management and social services that will include: mental health services, substance abuse recovery, job training and job placement assistance to the Veteran population. Counseling and service programs will be tailored to meet the specific needs of the residents.

CSH Says “Yes-In-My-Backyard” (YIMBY) in Los Angeles

When they approved $1.2 billion last November to create affordable supportive housing and then authorized the collection of nearly $3.5 billion in taxes over the next decade to fund critical services to keep people housed and healthy, voters in the County and City of Los Angeles signaled their steadfast determination to address homelessness in their communities. CSH is proud to have actively supported both ballot measures and recognizes some of the hardest work lies ahead, especially when it comes to siting new housing for very low-income residents.

To ensure the voter’s decisions and new resources result in the affordable housing needed to end homelessness, CSH and our partners are now building bridges with neighborhood leaders, grassroots organizations, local providers and community activists to ignite “Yes-In-My-Backyard” (YIMBY) in Los Angeles.

Because myths surrounding affordable supportive housing are not confined to one town or city, CSH has years of experience as a national nonprofit working to ensure public participation and backing for the siting of supportive housing, which can take the shape of one apartment building or affordable units scattered throughout existing neighborhoods.

Our 25 years of work on quality supportive housing has produced a blueprint on site selection criteria and search strategies, which includes guidance on community acceptance.

Using our expertise as the solid foundation for a community-wide network, CSH is joining the United Way, and a coalition of community partners, to ensure the groundwork is laid for Angelenos to embrace more supportive housing in their neighborhoods through a “Yes-In-My-Backyard” (YIMBY) campaign similar to those unfolding in New York City and San Francisco.

CSH gratefully acknowledges support received from the Community Progress Makers Fund, Citi Foundation, which is helping to advance our efforts to elevate and expand the “Yes-In-My-Backyard (YIMBY) Los Angeles campaign.

Infrastructure Investment: Beyond the Bricks & Mortar

A Blog by Andy McMahon, Senior Vice President, Policy & External Affairs, CSH

The word “infrastructure” normally conjures up thoughts of bricks and mortar. Investments like highways, pipelines, hospitals, schools and affordable housing development. But people, all of us, are infrastructure too. And when we examine the high return on investment (ROI) our nation receives from federal investments in affordable supportive housing —  funding through Housing Choice Vouchers, McKinney-Vento, HOME and Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) — we cannot overlook benefits that are not measured in numbers of buildings or units, but are instead gauged by human growth and progress.

It is common to convey the impact of bricks and mortar. For example, respected experts tell us that for every 1,000 rental homes financed by the LIHTC: 1,130 jobs are created; $107 million in local wage and business income materializes: and $42 million in tax revenues fill our public coffers. Evidence suggests these economic impacts stay in the communities where LIHTC-supported housing is built, contributing to higher property values in surrounding neighborhoods and quality-of-life bonuses such as reduced crime rates.

In addition to the new and much-needed housing and overwhelming economic boosts fostered by these investments, there are human faces and stories that are just as impressive. Our role as national leaders in supportive housing gives us unique perspective into how federal housing programs change the trajectory of lives.

The creation and expansion of supportive housing (affordable rentals + access to support services) depends greatly on the Housing Choice Vouchers, HOME, LIHTC and other federal investments. In a report released last year, we noted that virtually every housing credit agency in the country fosters some form of supportive housing development through its federal housing credit programs.

In supportive housing, affordable housing is the platform of stability that allows very vulnerable people to focus on the complex challenges that are holding them back. Obstacles such as poverty, undiagnosed or untreated mental illness, chronic medical problems, serious addictions, family instability, limited employment skills or education, are very real barriers. Once people know they can afford housing and make a home for themselves, they do not devote their full energy to basic survival – where to sleep, eat, and bathe. They gain the flexibility and confidence to address long-neglected needs and receive the help that improves their health and well-being.

Although perhaps not as widely known, plenty of experts back these assertions up too.

Housing is now recognized as a social determinant of health, which means a person who is housed is likely to be healthier than one who is not (e.g., homeless, couch surfing, in shelter).

Because of our work in supportive housing, we have seen the stark differences that emerge once very vulnerable individuals are housed, and how treating the whole person significantly improves medical and behavioral health. As authors of some of the earliest papers and reports on this relationship, we used these observations to set the trend to promote stronger partnerships between healthcare and housing providers.

Through our interactions with health systems and clinical centers throughout the nation, we have been able to show how housing linked to healthcare reduces an over-reliance on crisis and emergency room care, thereby lowering costs.

The obvious benefits go way beyond better health and cost outcomes. An individual who has conquered an illness or addiction is more likely to thrive and take advantage of employment training and job opportunities.

One such person is Jeromy, who called a highway underpass home for ten years. He was well known to local hospital staff and emergency responders because Jeromy received crisis and emergency room care 59 times in one year!

One tragic day, intoxicated and high, he wondered from the side of the road into traffic and was hit by an oncoming car. He spent two months recovering in a hospital and two weeks of that extended stay laying in a coma. The costs associated with his healthcare were astronomical.

Fortunately, after leaving the hospital, Jeromy was introduced to supportive housing financed by federal investments and his life changed almost immediately. He went into recovery from his addictions. He found a part-time job and Jeromy’s short visits to clinics now average just 2 – 3 times per year.

There are thousands like Jeromy, “infrastructure investments” with high ROI because federal commitments to affordable supportive housing helped create their new lives. As we point to the units and jobs and revenues generated, let’s not forget the individual success stories behind those numbers and how all of our infrastructure (including people) improves because of them.

You Can Make A Difference Today

For RWJF "Keeping Families Together" BRONX, NEW YORK - MAY 19: Jose Soto, his wife, Evelyn, and their daughter Destiny, 3, spend time together in their apartment and neighborhood in the Bronx, New York May 19, 2010.

It’s Giving Tuesday


Today nonprofit organizations, local businesses, philanthropists and people like you come together to promote and participate in giving to ensure better, vibrant and stronger communities throughout the country.

We hope you will take a few minutes this morning to support CSH, the national leader in creating access to affordable housing and support services for vulnerable people and families.

CSH is elevating the needs of families like Sonya, Joe and their daughter, Katie, impacted by serious mental health issues, recurring homelessness and repeat involvement with child welfare agencies. To escape their downward spiral of trauma and despair, they needed a safe, stable and affordable home as well as access to mental health and other services. Supportive housing came to their rescue with a nice apartment, and the case management and the recovery programs they need to move forward, together, as a family.

There are thousands of families like Sonya, Joe and Katie who need our help. Your tax-deductible gift can transform their lives from hopelessness to ones where they are housed and healthy.

We thank you for your support and generosity.


Click Here to Donate to CSH Now

Oak Foundation Bolsters CSH Reach for Quality

oakIn their pursuit to embrace housing interventions that stress quality, the Oak Foundation has helped sustain several CSH initiatives designed to focus on preventing homelessness by funding proven solutions that improve the economic and social well-being of marginalized youth, adults and families.

Working with CSH, the Oak Foundation has challenged us and other grantees to find ways to help these vulnerable populations while insisting that the supportive housing providers we fund and counsel adhere to the highest standards of quality in the delivery of their programs and services.

A CSH hallmark is our Dimensions of Quality Supportive Housing initiative, which strives to build the capacity of supportive and affordable housing in an environment that encourages, creates and operates high-quality, effective and sustainable housing and services.

Funding from the Oak Foundation helps CSH increase the economic self-sufficiency of those experiencing homelessness and supportive housing residents by:

  • equipping homeless people and those at risk of homelessness with skills to move towards economic stability, enabling them to overcome barriers to employment and encouraging sustained employment;
  • increasing the impact of entitlements and defending them against cuts; and
  • maximizing income through wage growth and enabling people to secure and maintain their entitlements.

To improve the supply of quality, affordable housing, the Oak Foundation partners with us so that CSH can effectively:

  • identify and explore enhancements to systems for developing and financing affordable housing, including supportive housing;
  • increase the social value of existing or planned supportive housing by enhancing its management.
  • advocate for people facing a housing crisis;
  • identify groups at greater risk of homelessness and encouraging early intervention and support; and
  • challenge structures and policies that compromise people’s ability to achieve housing stability.


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.