BY LORI BETH LEMMON
Every business sector has its own lingo or jargon, and in my world, the term Permanent Supportive Housing, or PSH, shows up a lot. In fact, I spent the better part of today in a training session designed by the Corporation for Supportive Housing (www.csh.org) specifically for organizations developing PSH. The Corporation for Supportive Housing, or CSH, is a national organization that helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness.
It was a great training – I learned a lot and met leaders from other community development corporations and community service providers, as well as folks from Dallas City Hall. It is always reassuring to me to sit in a room with a group of people from different sectors who all share a common goal – in this case, developing and providing services for Permanent Supportive Housing.
Permanent Supportive Housing is defined by the Corporation for Supportive Housing as housing units that have the following elements:
• The unit is available to, and intended for, a person or family whose head of household is homeless, or at-risk of homelessness, and has multiple barriers to employment and housing stability, which might include mental illness, chemical dependency, and/or other disabling or chronic health conditions;
• The tenant household ideally pays no more than 30% household income towards rent and utilities, and never pays more than 50% of income toward such housing expenses;
• The tenant household has a lease (or similar form of occupancy agreement) with no limits on length of tenancy, as long as the terms and conditions of the lease or agreement are met;
• The unit’s operations are managed through an effective partnership among representatives of the project owner and/or sponsor, the property management agent, the supportive services providers, the relevant public agencies, and the tenants;
• All members of the tenant household have easy, facilitated access to a flexible and comprehensive array of supportive services designed to assist the tenants to achieve and sustain housing stability.
• Service providers proactively seek to engage tenants in on-site and community-based supportive services, but participation in such supportive services is not a condition of ongoing tenancy.
• Service and property management strategies include effective, coordinated approaches for addressing issues resulting from substance use, relapse, and mental health crises, with a focus on fostering housing stability.
Short story long, this definition is our model for the PSH units that will come on-line next month in the citywalk@akard development and it will continue to serve as our model for future developments. It is a proven model, and we are thankful to have partners like CSH informing our work.