Supportive housing, a combined package of affordable housing coupled with coordinated support, is designed to help vulnerable, formerly homeless families remain in housing, live with maximum independence, connect to needed services, and facilitate the attainment of their goals and aspirations. Supportive housing has several subcomponents:

Quality Permanent and Affordable Housing

Supportive housing is affordable rental housing with no artificial time limits on residency.  Tenants in supportive housing have leases and rights and responsibilities of tenancy. Rent is adequately subsidized such that extremely low-income tenants can pay no more than 30% of their gross monthly income for rent. The design, construction, appearance, physical integrity, and maintenance of the housing units provide an environment that is attractive, safe, sustainable, functional, appropriate for the surrounding community, and conducive to tenants’ stability and community integration. Go here for more information about what is supportive housing.

Housing Stability Services

Tenants are assertively engaged and offered services to maximize their tenure in housing, increase their ability to maintain their household and finances independently, perform activities of daily living and uphold the terms of their lease. Case managers help families avoid lease violations by: intervening and mitigating crisis situations, building tenant self-efficacy and advocacy skills, acting as a liaison to the landlord to maximize housing stability, building community among tenants, and preventing avoidable evictions.

Informed Property or Landlord Management

In the case of single-site apartment buildings operated as supportive housing, property management effectively maintains a balance between ensuring the  operation and management of the physical facility and asset (including the maintenance and safety of the building), and working closely with supportive services to foster tenants’ housing stability and independence. Property management policies and procedures will reflect this dual orientation, including emphasizing tenant education around rights and responsibilities, rent payment contingency arrangements, and procedures for ensuring clear communications with tenants around due process.  In the case of scattered-site supportive housing models where apartments are leased on the private rental market and subsidized using a rental assistance voucher, programs actively communicate, engage, advocate on behalf of tenants, and mediate conflicts with landlords.

Care Management and Service Coordination

In addition to being focused on helping tenants maximize housing stability, services in supportive housing also assist tenants to connect to, navigate, and coordinate needed health and social programs. Case managers engage tenants to identify and define their goals and needs, and then to assist them with obtaining and coordinating health, behavioral health, vocational/educational, transportation, medication management, nutrition education, assistance with activities of daily living, and other services. In addition to helping families make connections to community resources, the case manager should have sufficient training and expertise to provide some level of education and support around behavioral health issues. Crises happen and sometimes families are unwilling or unable to seek outside resources. However, the trusting relationship formed with a case manager can be a safe place for families to find assistance and support.


Next: Key Service Principles in Supportive Housing for Child Welfare-involved Families

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