PHAs that have experience in HOPE VI and public housing conversion are certainly good candidates to develop supportive housing, but very small PHAs have also found success in becoming developers as well. Housing development can include acquiring and rehabilitating housing or building new housing. Keep in mind that while affordable housing development can be lucrative, it is not for everyone. This work requires a very specific type of expertise that generally has to be hired into an organization. Development of new supportive housing requires a high level of collaboration and clarity around the roles of developer, owner, property manager and service provider. In some cases PHAs decide to take on all four. In other cases the PHA plays only one or two of these key roles and partners for the others. When Low Income Housing Tax Credits are involved, a number of additional complex issues must be addressed such as soliciting an investor; legal structures for acting as a managing member of an ownership entity; and ongoing asset management compliance.
Going in eyes-wide-open to housing development is critical, but if PHAs are careful in assessing their capacity to take on housing development, they can create many public benefits in doing so. PHAs that develop supportive housing make important community contributions to long-term affordability and ending homelessness; diversify their portfolios; take a developer fee on new projects; and more prominently position themselves as local leaders in affordable housing. The expertise that PHAs bring to housing management can be a significant asset for communities that are expanding their affordable housing stock through acquisitions and development. MTW status is not required of PHAs who want to reach out beyond their traditional programs to develop supportive housing. CSH has a number of resources available for PHAs that are interested in exploring housing development: CSH’s toolkit on Quality Supportive Housing provides organizations with access to tools, informational materials and sample documents that can help them address key challenges in the planning, development and on-going operation of supportive housing projects. Not a Solo Act is a how-to workbook for successful collaborations and a prevention guide for predictable challenges in housing development and management.
Learn from other PHAs
A number of PHAs across the country are expanding their reach to help end homelessness by developing supportive housing. These PHAs have generously offered to share a description of their projects to provide you with information about financing sources, populations served and inspiring final products. Following is a brief description of each program. Please click on the icon below to access each CSH PHA Profile.
The Fort Wayne Housing Authority developed an apartment community called The Courtyard, which consists of 36 units for youth aging out of the foster care system. (This is a non-MTW project.)
Fresno Housing Authority developed Renaissance Supportive Housing, three properties and a total of 120 units for chronically homeless adults. (This is a non-MTW project.)
Home Forward of Portland, Oregon developed Bud Clark Commons, which houses the most vulnerable chronically homeless individuals in Portland. (This is a non-MTW project.)
Housing Catalyst (formerly Fort Collins Housing Authority) opened Redtail Ponds, which provides 60 long-term, one and two bedroom apartments, including 40 supportive housing units – 15 for homeless veterans and 25 for homeless individuals. (This is a non-MTW project.)
The Housing Authority of Henry County Illinois developed a 41-unit apartment building called Parkside Apartments and set-aside 10 units for homeless and disabled people over the age of 55. (This is a non-MTW program.)
The King County Housing Authority purchased a newly-renovated, failed condominium conversion project and “turned-on” banked Public Housing subsidies from a HOPE VI project to create supportive housing for individuals who are homeless.
The Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County developed Roosevelt Crossing, a 45-unit building specifically designed for returning ex-offenders. (This is a non-MTW program.)
Housing Authority of the County of Salt Lake developed Grace Mary Manor, an 84-unit permanent supportive housing community for chronically homeless individuals. (This is a non-MTW program.)
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara developed Artisan Court, which provides 19 units of supportive housing in a 45-unit development. (This is a non-MTW program.)
Ypsilanti Housing Commission is converting 80 public housing units into 86 new units, 22 of which will be designated as supportive housing. (This is a non-MTW program.)
Go to the next section to learn about sponsor-based subsidies.