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2007 Social Capitalist Winner

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Oakland, CA
Year founded: 1991
CEO: Carla Javits
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When it comes to ending long-term homelessness, it costs essentially the same 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. The mission of the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) is to help communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness.

CSH strives for a day when homelessness is no longer a routine occurrence and supportive housing is an accepted, understood, and easy-to-develop response. In coordination with broader national efforts to end homelessness, CSH will help communities create 150,000 units of supportive housing during the next decade.

CSH brings together people, skills, and resources. We advance our mission by providing high-quality advice and development expertise, by making loans and grants to supportive housing sponsors, by strengthening the supportive housing industry, and by reforming public policy to make it easier to create and operate supportive housing.

Since 1991, CSH has committed over $119 million in loans and grants to the supportive housing field, and these funds have leveraged over $1 billion in federal, state, and local public and private sector financing for capital, operating, and service dollars. CSH’s loans and grants have resulted in the creation of 17,318 units of supportive housing, with 11,882 more in the pipeline; the units in operation have ended homelessness for at least 21,000 adults and children.

Our most significant innovations:

*Leveraging three lines of business: Most of our nonprofit counterparts pursue one type of activity: policy analysis or community lending or training. CSH combines all three in an unduplicated, highly leveraged way. Our policy recommendations and advocacy are informed by our close connections to the provider community; we place the everyday realities of running supportive housing into the larger context in ways that more removed groups can’t. Our close ties to local providers make it possible for us to advise government staffers on the nitty-gritty details of what does and doesn’t work in funding programs. Similarly, we are able to give individual providers guidance and expertise that helps them position their projects well, given larger policy issues.

*Achieving what seems impossible: Homelessness has long been perceived as intractable. Moreover, the disjointed systems that perpetuate it are also seen as irreparable to many. However, CSH has helped dispel both of these ideas. We’ve shown that supportive housing works to end homelessness for the people regarded by many as beyond help. The systems-level changes that make supportive housing possible establish a way for public and private systems to learn how to operate differently and produce better results for the people they serve.