First Wednesdays in Supportive Housing

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					First Wednesdays in Supportive Housing
February 1, 2006

Home Works: Solving Family Homelessness through Permanent Supportive Housing


Presenters:
Lauren Hall, Supportive Housing Consultant

Andrea Canaan, Support Services Manager, Canon Barcus Community House

Linda Bryant, Director, Collaborative Village, Pillsbury United Communities

Moderator: Matthew Doherty, Director of the National Resource Center, CSH

Matthew welcomed everyone to the call, gave a brief overview of the plans for the call,
and introduced the presenters.

Topic: A new publication, Home Works, and presentations by current operators of
permanent supportive housing for families. In 1998, the Corporation for Supportive
Housing (CSH) launched the first national effort to extend the promising model of
permanent supportive housing – a successful, cost-effective combination of affordable
housing with services that helps people live more stable, productive lives – to homeless
and at risk families with special needs. Families targeted for supportive housing include
those whose head of household has chronic health conditions that are episodically
disabling such as mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and substance use, and/or other substantial
barriers to housing stability including domestic violence and history of out of home
placements. In the years since the launch of this initiative, CSH has continued to partner
with local organizations to help expand the availability of supportive housing for
homeless families, and to document and support the replication of effective models.

Lauren Hall, Supportive Housing Consultant:
In 1998, CSH began to focus increased attention on permanent supportive housing with
services for families with special needs. A previous CSH publication, Family Matters: A
Guide to Developing Family Supportive Housing, written by Ellen Hart Shegos for CSH
and published in 2001, describes the development-from conception through construction
and rent-up-of family supportive housing for chronically homeless families. Home Works
was developed as a compliment of that earlier publication focusing on the unique
features and challenges of the permanent supportive housing model when the tenant
population is families with children.

Home Works is unique in that it discusses thoroughly the issues of Conversion from
Family Transition to Permanent Supportive Housing, Tenant Engagement, Children &
Youth Services, Harm Reduction, Leadership & Community Building, Domestic Violence,
and Building a Team. It also profiles 4 distinct projects: Canon Barcus Community
House (CA); Homeless Children’s Network/Family Supportive Housing Collaborative
(CA); Housing Opportunities for Women (IL); and Collaborative Village Initiative (MN).



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During the planning of the document, focus groups were held with providers and
supportive housing tenants, including children living in supportive housing
developments. This document also provides relevant tools, resources and publication
for additional information.

Andrea Canaan, Canon Barcus Community House
Episcopal Community Services opened Canon Barcus Community House on March 19,
2002. The Canon Barcus House is a 48-unit permanent supportive housing apartment
building for homeless, very low-income families living with special needs, particularly
needs related to substance use, mental health issues, and/or HIV/AIDS. Families have
voluntary access to a wide range of services and enjoy the same tenant rights as any
other San Francisco renter. Currently CB housing 60-70 adults and 112 children.

CB provides intensive services for chronically homelessness families, addressing the
damage caused by both underlying issues and by the experience of homelessness itself.
While the majority of families who experience homelessness are able to resolve their
issues and move-on, CB focuses on those families who face even more significant
obstacles and challenges. If you rescues a family and give them the nurturing and
supports they require, they will succeed. It can be very difficult to adjust to mainstream
normalcy while dealing with your own personal issues.

CB is service enriched; we offer employment opportunities, child services, on-site mental
health care, case management and day care. Is especially important for youth to see
themselves as a part of that environment and know that their voices matter and are
being heard. CB staff approach their work as being in partnership with the tenants.

The Harm Reduction model can be challenging. Harm reduction approaches do not tale
away the housing providers responsibility for the safety of the tenants within the building,
but place an emphasis on addressing the behaviors and problems that arise as a result
of substance use.

CB does not exist to be the authoritative figure within the family – in providing services to
children and youth we must maintain respect for and honor that relationship.


Linda Bryant, Collaborative Village Initiative
CVI is a 20 unit PSH development for families in South Minneapolis. Project for Pride in
Living (PPL) and Pillsbury United Communities (PUC) work in partnership to develop
and implement CVI. PPL developed and now manages the property and PUC provides
on-site supportive services to CVI families. The project rented up during the summer of
2004. Currently, CVI houses 25 adults and 69 children, and they are proud to report
there was no turnover in the first year.

CVI emphasizes relationship-based case management, building strong relationships with
residents, provide intervention and crisis services to help them maintain housing,
employment and provide social needs.

Homelessness costs the county a lot of money with the frequent use of emergency
services. In identifying prospective tenants, CVI has focused on those families who are

February 1, 2006
First Wednesdays in Supportive Housing: Home Works

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the most frequent utilizers of a wide variety of services within the County, with a focus on
helping those families to resolve issues and reduce their impact on the local service
systems.


CVI also offers employment services such as volunteer opportunities, & temporary
employment for skill building. There is a monthly community gathering; the property
managers come together 4 times per year. CVI offers support groups, and encourages
fathers and friends to be a part of the community. Evening & weekend & after school
activities are provided for youth.

CVI offers mental health services on-site so tenants can access those services quickly.

Four of the 20 units at CVI are dedicated as anchor families, who were selected by staff
to provide role modeling for the 16 other families. Those anchor families must have a
history of homelessness; know the barriers to access services and housing, and offer
support and leadership. They are not staff or volunteers; however, they do receive a
stipend off of their rent. They are required to provide 10 hours of volunteer time per
week. They offer conflict resolution between tenants, take a leadership role and they
make sure that everything works smoothly in their community.

Questions & Answers
Q: How to avoid eviction b/ of unpaid rent?

Canon Barcus-Requires close coordination between property management staff and
supportive services staff, with a focus on problem-solving and trying to resolve the
underlying issues rather than resorting to eviction as the easy solution. Ensure that
services staff receive notification for late payment of rent, and the case manager
contacts the tenant to see how they can help the familiy todeal with the issue
immediately, find the root cause, and then support to address and eradicate the
problem.

CVI: Goal is to help make the tenant independent. Services staff will help families to
negotiate payment plans with the property management, help them to find additional
resources. support them in making better choices.

Q: Cost of Services/subsidies?
CVI – Tenants pay only 30% of their income in rent. Project has relied on many different
funding streams, including Project-Based Section 8, specialized funding for people living
with HIV/AIDS, funding for people who are dually or triply diagnosed. Project used tax
credits and other capital sources. For services, have relied on County funding and some
foundation funding for specific programs or children and youth. CVI also partners
extensively with other community-based providers.
(See CSH’s Supportive Housing Financing guide for information about potential funding
sources.)



Q: Do the projects presenting include Childcare Facilities?

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First Wednesdays in Supportive Housing: Home Works

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CVI: Offer after school programs for children and youth, but do not offer on-site
childcare services – focus on linking families in need of childcare to programs in the
community.

Q. Where can someone learn more about harm reduction approaches to substance use.
Lauren: www.harmreductiontherapy.org and www.hrc.org both offer a great deal of
information.

Q. Are services more focused on the needs of the parents or on the needs of the
children within the household?
CVI – need to have a holistic approach to the family and cannot afford to write-off the
parents and try to focus only on the service needs of the children. Need to focus on all
aspects of the family’s needs, and the needs of the children and youth within that context
– what strengths does the family have that can help address those needs, what
additional supports does the child/youth need that the family cannot currently provide?

Q: Could this model be applied to scattered site housing?
CVI: Scattered site is more challenging and costly, since we offer staff on site 24/7. In a
scattered site program, could be challenging to develop strong enough relationships with
the families and to assess the families’ needs and strengths.
Resource: Hearth Connection’s work with scattered site housing.


Comments:
Substance abuse can lead to the loss of housing if use is happening outside of the
home/in public. We can do an intervention with the authorities.




February 1, 2006
First Wednesdays in Supportive Housing: Home Works

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