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Social Capitalists

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Finalist's Statement

At the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), we are driven by one simple truth. When it comes to ending long-term homelessness, it costs essentially the same amount of money to house someone in stable, supportive housing as it does to keep that person homeless and stuck in the revolving door of high-cost crisis care and emergency housing. We have the solution--supportive housing--in hand, and with our partners, CSH has envisioned a system that will routinely produce and maintain it. We believe that public and private systems can work better; with our nonprofit and government partners, we are making that belief a reality.

Supportive housing is permanent, affordable housing linked to services that address health, mental health, and employment issues. This social innovation has been proven to improve the health and quality of life for America's poorest people: those who are homeless for long periods of time and who cycle through hospitals, jails, streets, and shelters.

CSH's mission is to help communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness. As a result of our work, there is more supportive housing--and better supportive housing. To date, we have helped communities create nearly 23,000 units of supportive housing, with 15,000 of them already completed and housing people. CSH trains thousands of people nationwide each year in how to develop and operate supportive housing. As a result, they create high-quality supportive housing that is responsive to the needs of people who have been homeless for long periods of time with the greatest barriers to stability

The ultimate measure of CSH's impact is the number of people who transform their lives when they move into supportive housing. The 15,000 open units of CSH-assisted supportive housing have already ended homelessness for at least 19,000 adults and children--many of whom had been homeless for years on end.

CSH has supported research showing that supportive housing results in:

  • Decreases in tenants' hospital inpatient days by 57%.
  • Decreases in tenants' emergency room visits by 58%.
  • Decreases in tenants' use of emergency detoxification services by more than 80%.
  • Increases of 50% in earned income.
  • Decreases in dependence on entitlements--$1,448 per tenant each year.
  • High rates of housing retention, with over 80% of tenants remaining housed for at least a year.

These statistics are inspiring in the face of a problem that many have felt is intractable. Behind every quantitative measure of supportive housing's positive impact, there are multitudes of tenants who find stability and dignity in supportive housing. In the words of one tenant: "I thank supportive housing for rescuing me and giving me a second chance. I'm finally in control of my life again."

As a result, cities and states throughout the country are eagerly adopting plans to create tens of thousands of new units of supportive housing. The single greatest barrier to taking supportive housing to scale around the country is disconnected public systems. This disjointedness makes the financing, development, and delivery of supportive housing overly complex and inefficient.

CSH's work has already fundamentally altered the way that the country addresses homelessness by focusing policy and practice. While efforts to end homelessness had previously focused primarily on emergency shelter and other temporary responses, CSH's program, evaluation, and policy work directly led to the nation's new, hopeful emphasis on the supportive housing solution and on people with the greatest barriers to stability. CSH will continue to spark innovation as we work with communities around the country to end long-term homelessness.

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