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1.   What is supportive housing?

Supportive housing is permanent rental housing that is affordable and linked to a range of support services designed to enable residents to maintain stable housing and lead fuller, independent lives. Supportive housing is an alternative to more costly institutional settings.

2.   Who lives in supportive housing?

Supportive housing can help low-income working individuals or adults with special needs that are able to live independently such as those living with disabilities, seniors, veterans, those recovering from substance abuse, domestic violence, formerly homeless people and or persons living with HIV and AIDS - all needing an affordable, decent place to live - maintain stable housing and to access the services they need.

3.   What kinds of services are provided in supportive housing?

The range of services offered is flexible and depends upon the needs of the residents in each development. Services can include case management, medical and mental health care, substance abuse, vocational and employment services, and independent living skills training.  Services may be offered on-site or off-site.

4.   How is supportive housing financed?

Supportive housing developments are financed by a combination of the residential rents, tax credits, federal, state and local government grants or loans, conventional bank loans and contributions from private foundations and corporations. Typically, state and local government funding leverages much larger federal amounts.

5.   Will supportive housing residents be good neighbors?

Yes. Supportive housing residents are carefully screened. They want to’ live in safe, attractive housing in good neighborhoods as much as anyone else. Residents sign leases which commit them to “house rules,” and management enforces those rules. Professional property management with on-site managers is responsive to community concerns that may arise.

6.   Will supportive housing cause traffic, noise and parking problems?

No.  Such problems are unlikely because the majority of residents will generally not own cars.
Like any other development project, supportive housing proposals are reviewed in the environmental
and design stages by the city’s planning commission and building department. Developments with
potential impacts beyond city standards are required to mitigate (or reduce) these impacts to
acceptable levels.

7.   How is supportive housing developed?

Most supportive housing residences are developed by for-profit and non-profit housing developers in partnership with non­profit service providers. Many of these non-profits are local community or faith-based organizations. The local community sets the framework by its housing needs assessment, land use requirements and available funding. The community and the developer partner in a building concept, potential financing and finding available land / a building(s). Often, supportive housing proposals are subject to a public review process including hearings before the Planning Commission.  Developers also consult with neighborhood organizations or hold community meetings to get input and ensure there is meaningful dialogue, mutual understanding and effective foundations for establishing “good neighbor” relationships.

8.   How successful is supportive housing?

Very successful.  In contrast to their previous living situations and alternatives, most residents thrive in supportive housing. The alternatives to supportive housing — crisis approaches to care, institutionaliza­tion, and repetitive short-term treatment — are both less effective and more expensive.  Supportive Housing is working and proven to be cost effective - saving money for communities.

9.   Will supportive housing fit into my neighborhood?

Yes. Supportive housing proposals must meet all local planning code and design requirements. Because they blend in so well, you may be living near a supportive housing development and not even be aware of it. Research conducted by numerous independent groups has regularly documented that supportive housing has no negative impact on nearby property values.  If fact, to the contrary – positive gains have been seen to occur.

10. Why isn’t there more supportive housing?

The primary constraints have been lack of local capacity and funding.  And, since policymakers and communities are still learning about this innovative model and its successful track record, neighbors or local government may raise questions or concerns about supportive housing proposals. This reality, coupled with the routine daily challenges faced by existing not-for-profit housing providers has tended to slow the cycle of introducing new models in local communities. This lack of familiarity has sometimes made it difficult and expensive to locate sites for supportive housing developments.