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									 8                                             New York Nonprofit Press                                       www.nynp.biz                                                         March 2006




                           A GENCY OF THE MONTH
                                                                                                tive of the community, this is walking
Center for Urban Community Services                                                             the talk of mainstreaming,” says Hanni-
Supportive Housing and Beyond                                                                   gan. “People in housing are not typical-
                                                                                                ly segregated by service need.”
                                                                                                      The partnership with BHC has con-
     For more than a quarter century, the             CUCS is not a developer of support-       tinued to be exceptionally productive.
Center for Urban Community Services              ive housing in a bricks-and-mortar             The two organizations have joined to
(CUCS) has been a pioneer in the devel-          sense. Rather, to paraphrase one of its        develop and provide services for five
opment of supportive housing and other           own training publications, CUCS puts           additional projects, all in northern Man-
innovative solutions for disadvantaged           the “support” in supportive housing.           hattan:
individuals and families. Founded in             The agency partners with developers of         • The Stella, a 28-unit project, in 1988;
1979 as part of Columbia University,             supportive housing projects who under-         • The Delta, a 32-unit residence, in 1989
CUCS set out to develop training curricu-        take construction and building manage-         • The Edgecomb, 21-unit program, in
la on the delivery of services to single         ment. CUCS provides social services ap-            1989. This residence is housed in a
adults. It quickly expanded to become a          propriate for those tenants who require            three-story mansion once owned by
direct provider of those services as the         support, be they mentally ill, living with         the Ringling Brothers.
City’s homeless population exploded in           HIV-AIDS, long-term homeless, etc. “In         • The Rio, an 82-unit, former hotel, in
the early 1980s. In the decades since,           our model, there are two organizations,”           1991;
CUCS has grown dramatically, often by            says Hannigan. The approach parallels          • The Dorothy Day, which accommo-
breaking new programmatic ground, to             mainstream living. “If you live in an              dates 70 formerly homeless and at-
serve over 9,700 individuals and families        apartment building and are seeing a                risk families and single adults.
annually in over 15 supportive housing,          psychiatrist, your landlord is not em-               In 1991, CUCS took a giant step for-
shelter and other program locations.             ploying your psychiatrist.”                    ward when it partnered with Common
CUCS also has broadened its academic                  CUCS’ first partnership -- with           Ground Community to provide services           Tony Hannigan, Executive Director
mission, even after spinning off from Co-        Broadway Housing Communities -- led            at the Times Square, still the largest sup-
lumbia in 1993 to become a leading               to the 1985 opening of The Heights. One        portive housing development in the na-
source of training and technical assistance      of New York City’s earliest supportive         tion with 652 studio apartments. Up un-          textual.” Following CUCS’ lead, many
for the supportive housing and homeless-         housing developments, the Heights was          til that point, even the biggest                 supportive housing sponsors now de-
ness services sector in NY and across the        also the first to introduce the concept of     developments had been in the 100-unit            velop larger residences. “Buildings of
nation. This dual focus, both academic           “mixed tenancy.”                               range, explains Hannigan. “We knew               250-units or more are not unusual,” says
and “in-the-trenches,” has positioned                 The 55-unit residence served both         that if Times Square was a success, it           Hannigan.
CUCS to further expand the horizons of           mentally ill and non-mentally ill tenants.     would be a beacon for supportive hous-               Once again, mixed tenancy was an
supportive housing – both in terms of the        Mixed tenancy has remained a hallmark          ing,” he says. “Although a 650-unit de-          underlying principle. Half of the Time
populations it serves and the ways it            of CUCS’ projects. “From the perspec-          velopment sounds extraordinarily large,          Square’s 650 units are reserved for for-
serves them.                                     tive of our tenants and from the perspec-      in the middle of Times Square it is con-         merly homeless individuals while the
     CUCS’ philosophy and approach to
services developed early. “We wanted to
bring services to settings where homeless
people were,” explains Tony Hannigan,              350 Lafayette: Shelter as Treatment
CUCS President and Executive Director.                   Transitional housing programs, i.e. homeless shelters, are not
In addition to opening a drop-in center,           usually associated with feelings of stability, security and calm, partic-
CUCS began providing services directly             ularly when they exclusively serve women with serious mental ill-
on-site, first at Single Room Occupancy            ness. Yet that was precisely the atmosphere as more than 20 resi-
(SRO) hotels such as the Parkview and              dents gathered for an open meeting at 350 Lafayette Street, a shel-
the Whitehall and later in City-run shel-          ter that CUCS has been operating under City contract since 1988.
ters. “CUCS was the first organization to                “I have only been here three weeks, but I am already feeling
bring mental health services into a munic-         healthier,” said one resident as the group of women shared informa-
ipal shelter,” says Hannigan.                      tion about their illnesses, the circumstances that had brought them
     It was this initial on-site work in the       to the shelter system and their hopes for the future. Domestic vio-
early 1980s which led CUCS to become a             lence, childhood sexual abuse and rape were common themes for
leader in the new arena of supportive              many of the women, several of whom told of living in their cars for
housing. “Here were people living in               up to a year before finding shelter. In addition, the women struggle
substandard housing,” says Hannigan.               to live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), bi-polar disor-
“We realized it would be ideal if they             der, clinical depression and other serious mental illnesses.
could have quality affordable housing                    350 Lafayette has 43 beds and accepts referrals of mentally ill
and you could bring quality services to            women from the City’s other shelter programs.“People coming here
where people were living.” Supportive              have been homeless for years in many cases and have not been diag-
housing recognizes that homelessness               nosed,” says Tony Hannigan, CUCS President and Executive Director.
does not simply stem from a shortage of            “They may not be on the right medications or on medications at all.”
affordable housing. Many homeless indi-                  “We help you address your psychiatric problems, your medical needs and get your basic entitlements set up,” says Joe DeGenova,
viduals and families, particularly those           CUCS Deputy Director and a former Director of the 350 Lafayette Street Shelter. “Early on we promise that we can help you get
who are chronically homeless for long pe-          housing and we will try to match that housing to your needs and preferences.” Despite the challenges confronting this group, 350
riods, face a wide array of challenges             Lafayette has the highest rate of placement into permanent housing of any shelter in the City system. “Every year there are 60-70
ranging from mental illness and sub-               persons placed into permanent housing from here,” says Hannigan. For the past five years, the program, with a staff of 50, has been
stance abuse to HIV-AIDS and other dis-            directed by Celeste Sanchez.
abilities. Supportive housing offers both                “I like it here,” said another resident. “It feels like a dormitory environment, like being in a sorority – a sorority of women in
an affordable home and the services ten-           need. Staff is always accessible. They give you three workers so you always have somebody to talk to. If your caseworker is off, you
ants need to help them find stability in           don’t have to wait until they come back to work.”
their lives. Just as importantly, support-               “We have always felt it should have the quality of a top notch clinic, that if you have a family member who was homeless and men-
ive housing is not a shelter. These pro-           tally ill, you would be reassured that they were a client here,” says Hannigan.
grams offer permanent housing where                      To accomplish this, CUCS has implemented a number of cutting edge treatment practices, including implementation of its Wellness
tenants have the security of a lease on            Self-Management, an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) which teaches individuals about their illness and skills to better manage it. In 2005,
their own apartment.                               350 Lafayette was honored with an Exemplary Program Award from SAMSHA for its implementation of Wellness
                                                   Self-Management.
                                                         “I am a schizophrenic,” said one resident with a mixture of acceptance and self-assurance which Wellness Self-Management strives
                                                   to provide.“I have been in the mental health system for 30 years and I have never had the kinds of treatment as I have received here.”
                                                   After five months in the program, she was preparing for an overnight visit to what she hoped would be her next home – permanent
                                                   supportive housing.
                                                         “We reach woman in need in the most profound and human levels,” says Sanchez. “It’s great to see women leaving through the
                                                   doors of 350 Lafayette Street to move into their own homes.”
March 2006                                    New York Nonprofit Press                                              www.nynp.biz                                                                              9




                          A GENCY OF THE MONTH
other half are for low-income working
people from the community. The for-                Those Who Can, Do…and Teach
merly homeless tenants are also diversi-
fied to include 200 units for individuals                CUCS originally was founded to develop training programs for professionals
with psychiatric disabilities, 50 units for        working on the front lines and it has continued to do that, even as the agency itself
people living with HIV-AIDS and 75                 has grown to become a major provider of direct services in the areas of supportive
units for individuals from the general             housing and homelessness.
shelter population. “People are not seg-                 In fact, the two sides of CUCS have grown hand in hand over the years and its
regated. Everyone is mixed in,” says               Housing Resource Center (HRC) is now a leading provider of training and techni-
Hannigan. “The service is available to             cal assistance for the entire housing and homelessness field, both here and across
everybody in the building, including               the nation.
low income tenants.” Serving these di-                   “We offer everything from working with people who have a mental illness for
verse populations within the require-              your front desk staff to more advanced curricula such as crisis intervention,” says
ments of separate funding streams is               CUCS President and Executive Director Tony Hannigan. “We have provided tech-
complex. “Behind the scene, we have to             nical assistance to programs in nearly every state in the country and at any time we
make sure that we are remaining true to            are active in around 15 different states.”
the contract,” says Hannigan. “On the                    “We have developed over 200 hours of training curricula on all sorts of direct
surface, it is seamless.”                          service issues,” says Suzanne Wagner, HRC’s Director. “We have trainings for line
     As with BHC, CUCS continued to                workers, case managers, supervisory staff. Very popular subjects are overviews of
partner with Common Ground on addi-                mental health disorders and substance use issues. Crisis and Conflict is the most commonly requested training because a lot of our clients run
tional projects. The 416-unit Prince               residential programs and you have all sorts of crises and conflict when people live together.”
George opened in 1998 and was recog-                     HRC’s provides training to approximately 2,500 people annually. Over the years, the agency has trained staff from over 400 different provider
nized for the quality of its program by            organizations.
the United Nations’ World Habitat                        Several of HRC’s training programs, complete with classroom materials, are available on the CUCS website. These programs, which include
Award in 2003. The Christopher is the              Case Management Services and Coordinating Property Management and Supportive Services in Supportive Housing, were developed under con-
former McBurney YMCA which was                     tract with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Developing the Support in Supportive Housing, an in-depth 189-page guide to
converted to a 167-unit residence in               program development written by Hannigan and Wagner, is also available for downloading at the site.
2004.                                                    In addition to classroom trainings, HRC also offers technical assistance on program development to organizations that are starting a new sup-
     “The first goal of our service is to          portive housing program or possibly fixing one which may be broken. In New York, which has been a leader in the supportive housing movement,
enable people to hold on to their hous-            HRC’s TA work often focuses on helping existing providers develop programs for new and different populations. “We are working with one group
ing and not return to homelessness,”               which had always served substance abusers and now is planning to serve seriously mentally ill folks in their new project,” says Wagner.
says Joe De Genova, CUCS’ Deputy Di-                     In other parts of the country, HRC’s TA assignments can be both more basic and more complex. In many cases, HRC works providers who
rector. “That is a foundational issue in           are first grappling with the intricacies of launching their first supportive housing programs. “Over the last five or six years, we have started to work
terms of self sufficiency. We have on-site         with communities -- whole counties or states -- on looking at their service systems and figuring out what models they need, what the gaps are in
psychiatric services for those people              their service system and how they can fill them.We also help those communities find the funding,” says Wagner, who has found herself working on
who can’t use off site services. We have           projects in rural West Virginia and the entire state of Connecticut.“We are really working from the very micro level to very macro level.”
some on-site medical support services.                    “We are a provider out there helping other providers,” says Wagner, who believes CUCS’ broad experience in running day-to-day programs
And, under the rubric of case manage-              offers a solid foundation for HRC’s training and TA programs. For one thing, there is the simple credibility that HRC trainers bring to their pro-
ment we provide a whole range of                   grams. “It has an impact on how they take the training and assistance we provide,” says Wagner.“They know that we are actually doing it.”
things -- crisis intervention, care coordi-              HRC is also able to utilize CUCS experience to identify emerging issues and critical trends in client populations and service needs. Particularly
nation to help people manage the many              valuable is CUCS’ management of the Housing Assistance Program, which manages referrals to a database of over 11,000 units in more than 400
different care givers that may be in-              different developments. We processed over 5,000 applications last year,” says Wagner.“It gives us a real ability to see what
volved in their lives.” Residences typi-           the needs are.”
cally provide one case manager for 35                    Wagner stresses, however, that the CUCS way may not be not the only way. HRC’s goal is to help clients
residents.                                         figure out what is right for them.“This work is somewhat science but mostly art,” she explains.“We see our-
     “We do outreach to people who                 selves as bridge builders and cross pollinators, not necessarily the expert.We are constantly learning and inte-
need something but may not be taking               grating new information.”
advantage of it,” says DeGenova. “Ser-                   What’s new? “We are developing a new training on hoarding,” says Wagner.“It is a real health and safe-
vices are voluntary so that a tenant in            ty hazard in housing.We also recently introduced trainings on cultural competency, which use our own learn-
the building can refuse it.”                       ing on this issue as a foundation for the content.”
     “The onus is on us to make that                     HRC is also playing a lead role in CUCS’ effort to introduce Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) into its sup-
service as attractive as possible,” says           portive housing program. “We developed the curriculum on Wellness Self-Management for clients at 350
Hannigan.                                          Lafayette Street,” says Wagner. “Now we are doing a two-session training for agencies to introduce the concept
     While supportive housing is perma-            and teach them how to implement it in their own organizations.”
nent in that tenants are protected                       For information on CUCS’ HRC trainings and technical assistance visit www.cucs.org or call Leslie Hawkins
through their personal leases, there is            at (212) 801- 3316.
turnover. “Ten to fifteen percent of ten-
ants move out each year,” says DeGeno-
va. For example, at the Time Square, on
average, 95 tenants will move out and
another 95 will move in. Most of the de-
parting tenants go to completely inde-
pendent settings while a small percent-
age will move up to more highly
enriched services.
     One of the unique opportunities in
supportive housing is the ability to
work with tenants over an extended pe-
riod of time. Hannigan believes that this
offers service possibilities for popula-
tions well beyond those traditionally
served in supportive housing settings.
     “Even though supportive housing
grew up with homelessness, it has a
much wider application,” says Hanni-
gan. “We have seen the enormous
progress of people with mental illness.
Why couldn’t we do that with other
populations – youth aging out of foster
care or families with a mentally-ill par-
ent.”
     Until recently, supportive housing
programs were geared to serving indi-
10                                                                 New York Nonprofit Press                                       www.nynp.biz                                                        March 2006



                                             A GENCY OF THE MONTH
CUCS continued from page 9                                              into the community?” This broader fo-        Mental Health (OMH). The
                                                                        cus will be particularly important, says     program features 36 classes
viduals exclusively. CUCS broke new                                     Hannigan, as supportive housing              designed to help mentally-ill
ground once again through its 2003 col-                                 providers expand services to broader         clients understand their ill-
laboration with BHC on The Dorothy                                      populations with additional and increas-     ness and develop skills for
Day, the first initiative in New York City                              ingly complex needs.                         managing it. (For additional
to integrate single people with families                                     CUCS hopes to meet this challenge       information on EBPs in gener-
who were formerly homeless. “It is an                                   through a new initiative called Re-          al and Wellness Self-Manage-
evolutionary model,” says Hannigan.                                     SHAPE (Recovery in Supportive Hous-          ment in particular see this
“We invented it out of whole cloth. We                                  ing Advancing Practices and Effective-       month’s cover story and the
only receive funding to serve a mentally                                ness).      The project will begin to        accompanying sidebar on
ill individual, but we elected to serve                                 incorporate a number of Evidence-Based       page 11.)
families. We took that money and com-                                   Practices (EBPs) with demonstrated ef-            One pilot project is at
bined it with other money so we would                                   fectiveness for improving client out-        CUCS’ 350 Lafayette Street
have sufficient resources to serve the                                  comes into the agency’s supportive           shelter for women with mental
family as a whole.”                                                     housing programs.                            illness. “We have actually seen
     The recently announced New York                                         “EBPs can give you assurance that       the housing placement rates,
New York III Agreement promises to                                      clients are getting the services you in-     which were the best in the sys-
support this continued expansion of                                     tended them to get,” says Hannigan.          tem, go up even further,” says
supportive housing, not only by allocat-                                While existing programs may offer many       Hannigan. SAMHSA, itself,
ing $1 billion towards development of                                   or even all of the same services, EBPs put   recognized CUCS’s implemen-
9,000 new units over the coming decade                                  them together in a coherent package that     tation of Wellness Self-Man-
but also by dedicating a portion of this                                is easy to deliver and monitor. “Its like    agement at 350 Lafayette Street
new capacity to previously un-served                                    getting your daily newspaper delivered       by honoring it with a National
populations – families, youth aging out                                 neatly folded rather than scattered all      Exemplary Program Award
of foster care and substance abusers.                                   over the floor,” he explains. “It’s all      last year. The program’s im-
     To capitalize on these opportunities,                              there but….”                                 plementation at 350 Lafayette
Hannigan believes that providers must                                        CUCS is already using one EBP,          was made possible by a grant
raise the bar on their own performance                                  Wellness Self-Management, in several         from the Jacob and Valeria Lan-
expectations and levels of service. “The                                of its transitional housing programs         geloth Foundation. (For more
success of a supportive housing project                                 and is excited about the results. Well-      on 350 Lafayette see page 8).     CUCS provides support services at The Times Square, the nation’s
is often determined by whether people                                   ness Self-Management is one of six Ev-            “We also have imple- largest supportive housing residence. CUCS partners with Common
remain housed,” he explains. “We need                                   idence Based Practice Implementation         mented it in our West Harlem Ground Community, the property’s developer and manager.
to expand our criteria for success. Why                                 Resource Kits published by the Sub-          Center and are doing classes
shouldn’t we be measuring ourselves                                     stance Abuse and Mental Health Ser-          in shelters using an enriched outreach less shelter residents for placement in
against how many people go back to                                      vices Administration (SAMHSA) and            team,” says DeGenova. “We are getting permanent scattered site supportive
work? How many are integrated back                                      adopted by New York State’s Office of        80-85% attendance rates in the shel- housing in the Bronx. The Career Net-
                                                                                                                     ters.”                                        work, is a work-first, job-readiness pro-
                                                                                                                          This positive reception by clients gram for formerly homeless men and
                                                                                                                     makes Wellness Self-Management par- women.
                                                                                                                     ticularly appropriate for use in support-          Through a recent partnership with
                                                                                                                     ive housing settings where tenant par- Community League of the Heights
                                                                                                                     ticipation is voluntary, explains (CLOTH), CUCS provides a number of
                                                                                                                     Hannigan.                                     services oriented to the community at
                                                                                                                          To improve monitoring of its pro- large, including support services at an
                                                                                                                     gram performance, CUCS has already after-school program,and a Single Stop
                                                                                                                     implemented an agency-wide electron- information and referral program fund-
                                                                                                                     ic clinical charting system and is further ed by the Robin Hood Foundation in
                                                                                                                     refining its indicators for client out- Washington Heights. CUCS also oper-
                     If someone told you how to improve your                                                         comes.                                        ates a second Single Stop in central
                                                                                                                          While CUCS is most well known Harlem.
           non-profit's profitability and ROI, would you listen?                                                     for its supportive housing residences,             CUCS is working with CLOTH on
                                                                                                                     the agency also offers a variety of other the development of permanent sup-
                                                                                                                     programs and services. As previously portive housing for youth aging out of
     Give us three hours and we'll tell you how.                                                                     mentioned, the Housing Resources foster care. “Up to now, everything for
     Attention non-profit CFOs, Controllers,                                                                         Center (HRC) carries on CUCS’ original this population has been transitional,”
                                                                                                                     academic mission through its training says Hannigan. The team is planning
     Accounting Mangers and CPAs! If                                   Accountnet presents:                          and technical assistance activities (See for a 50-unit residence to open next year
     Budgeting, Financial Reporting or Advancement in                                                                page 9).                                      which would also serve young adults
     Technology is what your organization requires, then            How Non-Profits can                                   HRC also operates the agency’s from the Washington Heights commu-
     Accountnet has a seminar for you.                                                                               Housing Assistance Program which nity who are living in marginal housing
     Give us one morning and we’ll show you
                                                                      choose the right                               maintains a database of more than situations.
                                                                                                                     11,000 residential units at more than 300          Looking forward, CUCS has sever-
     how to turbo-charge your organization with new                 Accounting software!                             sites and provides housing referrals. al other projects in the pipeline, above
     accounting software from Microsoft.                                                                             This database serves as the backbone and beyond its plan to ReSHAPE sup-
                                                                                                                     for CUCS’ management of all referrals portive housing. It is developing an
     We know what you’re thinking . . . My                       March 23rd @ Microsoft                              for housing applicants approved under OMH-licensed Community Residence
     accounting software is fine. At Accountnet, we
                                                                                                                     the New York New York Agreements in the Bronx and anticipates receiving a
     understand. Upgrading software can be difficult and                        (9am-12noon)                         and the NYS Office of Mental Health’s new comprehensive PROS license un-
     time-consuming.                                                                                                 Single Point of Access (SPOA) program. der the state’s new Personalized Recov-
     That’s why we don’t waste your time. In                                          register                       CUCS also provides housing placement ery Oriented Services program. CUCS
     this fast-paced seminar, we’ll show you how Microsoft’s                                                         and support for individuals living with is also negotiating its first merger with
     Solomon or Great Plains software can increase your             www.clicktoattend.com                            Traumatic Brain Injury in New York another entity, the Project for Psychi-
                                                                                                                     City and the Hudson Valley.                   atric Outreach, which makes psychia-
     organization's profitability and ROI. Whether you require
                                                                           type in code code:                             Pathways assists supportive hous- trists available in settings where they
     Due to Due From/Encumbrances or Budget Tools or                                                                 ing tenants in making the transition to would not otherwise be available.
     General Ledger and financial reporting, Microsoft can                             107467                        fully independent housing while Mov-               Finally, CUCS may be going home –
     help you.                                                                                                       ing On provides similar assistance to or a location close to its original home.
                                                                                                                     residents of the City’s HPD shelter sys- The agency, which has been based at
     However, space is limited, so sign up today by calling 1-888-MBS-NJNY. You’ll get                               tem who have been displaced through 120 Wall Street for the past seven years,
     an executive breakfast, a presentation on how to maximize business profitability, and the                       fires or other disasters.     CUCS’ As- has outgrown its space and is hoping to
     free organizational analysis. You can’t lose.                                                                   sertive Community Treatment (ACT) relocate. “We want to be part of a com-
                                                                                                                     team, another nationally-recognized munity,” says Hannigan. “We think we
                                                                                                                     EBP model, recruits chronically home- have a lot to offer.”

								
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