Oregon’s housing finance agency wins award for its permanent supportive housing initiatives that use a tenant-centered and trauma-informed method to provide housing for people who are chronically homeless.
Last month Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) was awarded a 2022 Award for Program Excellence at the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) annual conference . These awards are one of the highest honors in state housing finance. Oregon was selected as a leader in its Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program.
PSH is a proven model that pairs services with housing for individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness. By providing on-site, individualized services, PSH leads to cost savings in public systems, particularly within healthcare and justice systems, and long-term housing stability for vulnerable households.
In addition to the award, this month the agency announced the House America goal has also been surpassed. The State of Oregon met the commitments it announced in August when it joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s House America initiative to address the nation’s homelessness crisis. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) committed to fund hundreds of permanent supportive homes by the year’s end and to re-house 3,500. With the work of local partners more than 4,300 individuals were re-housed.
One contributing factor to Oregon surpassing multiple Permanent Supportive Housing benchmarks is the Oregon Supportive Housing Institute. It serves as the bridge between knowing Oregon needs substantially more PSH and actually deploying quality affordable that will stand the test of time coupled with services to support improving the quality of lives of those residents. Organizations interested in developing and managing PSH homes are selected to participate in the institute from across Oregon. The project teams receive targeted training, technical assistance, and project planning support through the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH).
Since 2019, 27 teams have completed the institute and are developing PSH units throughout Oregon. This year nine project teams from across the state met over five-months for intensive training and technical assistance to develop their design concept. A video recording of this year’s attendees of the third supportive housing institute pitching their tenant-centered design concept could be viewed here.
As a result of the concentrated effort on PSH, OHCS recently surpassed its 2019-2024 Statewide Housing Plan priority well ahead of schedule by funding more than 1,000 PSH homes. This would not be possible without the collaboration of multiple partners across the state implementing permanent supportive housing programs to help more Oregonians exit the experience of homelessness.
“Investing in housing coupled with services is an investment in family stability, children’s success and the economic health of our entire state,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “PSH stabilizes individuals addressing their needs holistically to exit long-term homelessness. OHCS has catapulted from investing in relatively few PSH homes just a few years ago to surpassing our Statewide Housing Plan Goal of 1,255 homes earlier this year. Funding innovative approaches that pair comprehensive support services with quality affordable housing isn’t just good policy, it’s an invest in families and communities.”