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

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

Now Available – Conducting Homeless Counts on Native Lands: A Toolkit

Homelessness and the need for supportive housing on tribal lands are not well understood.  Better understanding the size, scope, and needs of homeless individuals can give Tribes the leverage they need to advocate for the public resources that they need for housing and services.  To this end, CSH is excited to release a new resource titled Conducting Homeless Counts on Native Lands: A Toolkit.  CSH and Housing Assistance Council (HAC) collaborated with tribal entities, tribal funding agencies and Wilder Research to create this unique toolkit that can be used by tribal entities as a guide to conducting homelessness counts.  Funded by HUD, this toolkit includes a literature review of overcrowding and tribal housing information, the experiences and lessons learned from the Minnesota reservation homelessness survey, examples of memorandums of understanding, the survey tool used in Minnesota, tribal government resolutions and case studies.

The manifestation of homelessness is different on native lands than in other areas of the United States, and Tribes often have their own traditional ways of understanding homelessness.  It is important that efforts to quantify homelessness in these areas take these differences into account in order to get counts that accurately reflect the size of the population and cultural definitions of homelessness.  This toolkit describes the process undertaken in Minnesota by several Tribes, CSH, Wilder Research and the Minnesota Department of Human Services developed to better understand homelessness and related service needs.  This toolkit was created, not only as a flexible guide, but to increase awareness and to share information about what homelessness looks like on native lands.

CSH would like to acknowledge and thank the many individuals that contributed to the content of this toolkit, in particular our colleagues at the Housing Assistance Council that invited us to partner with them, and Amy Wicklund, Economic Development Planner at Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for sharing their real world experiences.

Conducting Homeless Counts on Native Lands: A Toolkit

CSH and Housing Assistance Council (HAC) collaborated with tribal entities, tribal funding agencies and Wilder Research to create this unique toolkit that can be used by tribal entities as a guide to conducting homelessness counts.  Funded by HUD, this toolkit includes a literature review of overcrowding and tribal housing information, the experiences and lessons learned from the Minnesota reservation homelessness survey, examples of memorandums of understanding, the survey tool used in Minnesota, tribal government resolutions and case studies.

Anniversary Interview Series with Chairwoman Karen Diver

What have we learned about who needs supportive housing and who doesn’t?

Karen Diver: Supportive Housing is for the chronic and long-term homeless who face multiple barriers to retaining housing.  Some people face short-term housing loss due to financial crisis;  Supportive housing best serves those individuals and families who struggle with combinations of chemical dependency, mental health and health  issues, lack of life skills and formal education, to name a few.   The case management has been shown to reduce the use of crisis services like emergency room care, detox services, and child welfare.

What have we learned from supportive housing’s experience in homelessness and how this lesson can be applied to other sectors?

Diver: We have learned that prevention services have a significant impact on the use of crisis care.  By offering tenants the opportunity and support, we see reductions in duration of alcohol and chemical use, better management of chronic health conditions and decreased contact with law enforcement and judicial systems.

What are the most promising policy opportunities?

Diver: A committed long-term investment in Supportive Housing offers opportunity for multi-agency collaboration.  We have seen this happening at the local level in developing the service models.  At the federal level, this is not being done as yet.  There are the beginnings of conversations around veteran’s housing between the VA and HUD.  This needs to be expanding to the Department of Health and Human Services among others to coordinate and leverage funding strategies and partnerships.

Given all the economic constraints, how do you make the case or what is the most compelling argument for supportive housing?

Diver: Obviously with social services and other governmental systems feeling budgetary strain, investment in supportive housing has shown to have positive impacts in long-term costs to multiple systems of government, from law enforcement to the judiciary, mental health and chemical dependency commitments, truancy and child welfare.  Just as health care reform is focusing on investment in prevention, to the most vulnerable in our society supportive housing offers a housing first options with services that focuses on reducing crisis intervention.

In 10 years from now what will supportive housing look like / what role will it play in our community?  What is your most radical bold vision?

Diver: Supportive Housing will be better coordinated with the existing systems of housing  and social service delivery, with stable funding to assure both rental subsidies and case management systems.  Communities will have capacity to make sure that every person has the ability to sleep in a bed and adequate food, with the option to truly thrive in future.

Twenty Successes — A First in the Supportive Housing Movement: AISHI Brings Supportive Housing to Reservations

Homelessness has been a significant and growing problem among American Indians, both on tribal lands and in urban centers. In total about 90,000 American Indians are homeless or under-housed, representing approximately eight percent of the total U.S. homeless population. In response to this over representation and the significant need for additional housing on reservations, CSH and Enterprise Community Partners joined with American Indian tribes, nonprofits and community development corporations to form the American Indian Supportive Housing Initiative (AISHI). The goal of AISHI was, and continues to be, developing housing that blends tribal leadership, knowledge and traditional service approaches with tested supportive housing program models that work in American Indian communities.

One thing we set out to do is to help end homelessness on tribal lands by bringing supportive housing to reservations, a first in the supportive housing movement. A key step was working towards cultural competency and a deeper understanding of the unique strengths of the American Indian culture, traditions and values, in addition to tribal sovereignty, governance structures and service delivery structures of tribes. With the help of dedicated individuals in tribal leadership and American Indian communities, AISHI was able to combine the technical assistance needed with new access to non-tribal funding sources to create supportive housing that remains sensitive to the unique attributes of each American Indian community where supportive housing operates and exists.

The shared goal of developing the first on-reservation supportive housing development was realized  when Dream Catcher Homes opened in 2007 on the White Earth Reservation in Ogema, Minnesota, providing 20 units of supportive housing for families with services emphasizing children and family reunification including case management and counseling.

Through the dedication of our AISHI Leadership Council, we have forged genuine partnerships with many tribal leaders, including the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who recently opened twenty-four units of supportive housing for families and individuals on their reservation. Leadership Council member, Chairwoman Karen Diver, who recently joined the CSH Board of Directors, has been integral to the success of AISHI. The model of supportive housing is a welcome addition to the Fond du Lac Band’s services. It fills a unique need in our community, and promotes our goal of not just providing a hand out, but a hand up towards self-sufficiency.

The success of AISHI continues to grow. Since the opening of Dream Catcher homes, more than 200 units of supportive housing specifically for American Indian populations have been added to the Minnesota pipeline. The initiative has also been expanding into many other parts of the country. AISHI recently delivered a Supportive Housing Academy in the Dakotas and worked with the Turtle Mountain Band of North Dakota, which is currently developing a 24 unit supportive housing project on their reservation. We are proud of the impact we have had and the measurable results of our partnerships through AISHI. As CSH enters its third decade, innovative work such as this is sure to reinforce our position as a leader in the supportive housing movement.

New Generation

The Turtle Mountain Housing Authority’s New Generation Apartment Complex, located on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indian Reservation, is the first tribe in the state of North Dakota to offer a supportive housing program

Anishinabe Wakiagun

Opened in 1996 in a neighborhood on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, Anishinabe Wakiagun has 45 single room occupancy units in a 3-story building. Anishinabe Wakiagun was one of the first supportive housing projects that CSH assisted with in Minneapolis. CSH helped conceptualize the project, identify development partners, formalize partnerships, identify funding sources including securing under used GRH programs throughout the state, and helped to build political and community support for the project.


The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency received the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ Special Needs Housing, Combating Homelessness award for the American Indian Supportive Housing Initiative. CSH is thrilled that this partnership among tribal leaders, state and federal government representatives, and American Indian nonprofits and community members has garnered national attention. Congratulations to all of our partners.