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Toolkit for Developing and Operating Supportive Housing


Supportive housing - permanent, affordable housing linked to health, mental health, employment, and other support services - provides chronically homeless people with a way out of expensive emergency public services and back into their own homes and communities. The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) organized this toolkit “to provide 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 permanent supportive housing projects.”

Key Points

Supportive housing not only improves the lives of its residents but also generates significant public savings.The toolkit is broken down into four main parts, including understanding permanent supportive housing, development and finance, housing operations, and supportive services. Each part provides a list of tools for better understanding what supportive housing is, the importance of it, and how to implement a supportive housing program.

Toolkit highlights include:

  1. Key principles of supportive housing include housing affordability, safety and comfort, and services that emphasize residential stability and empowering tenants to live independent lives.
  2. Philosophical approaches often found within successful supportive housing programs include philosophies emphasizing housing first, voluntary services, consumer-driven program design, and approaches to working with people with substance use issues.
  3. Key issues related to developing and financing new supportive housing projects often include assessing organizational capacity, putting together the development team, assembling the necessary financing, identifying an appropriate site for development, and structuring the deal for success. Tools for assisting with each of these issues are listed under the “Development and Finance” section.
  4. Supportive services are an essential component in supportive housing planning. Important factors to consider include the housing model, proximity to other services utilized by tenants, organizational infrastructure and capacity, organizational mission, and budget, among other things.

How to Use

There are over 150 manuals, tools, sample documents, and information pieces related to supportive housing available through this toolkit. All of which are great resources for city planners and leaders interested in investing in a supportive housing program. There are resources available on everything from assessing capacity and building a development team to tenant screening, selection, and move-in and designing the supportive services plan.

View full report: Toolkit for Developing and Operating Supportive Housing (PDF – 384 KB)

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