2018 Annual Report

Dear Friends,

 

IT’S DEEPLY GRATIFYING TO WITNESS PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING IN ACTION AS A COST-EFFECTIVE PLATFORM FOR HEALTHIER, MORE MEANINGFUL LIVES. 

 

We see its powerful impact in the lives of Douglas, Simone, and Tedesse, three residents featured in this report. Although each story is different, they carry a common thread: given the opportunity housing provides, people can make remarkable personal progress, even in the face of extraordinarily adverse circumstances.

 

Their stories solidify our commitment to grow our capacity and creativity address the tremendous demand for permanent supportive housing in our community, so that we can strengthen as many lives as possible.

 

This commitment is the reason we’re excited about new initiatives like the Mainstream program, which expands services to the most vulnerable in our community.

 

And it’s the reason we’re pleased to report progress on Parsons Place and Marsh Brook Place, and to announce a new project called Creekside Place. For us, construction milestones have special significance, because every project ultimately is an investment in our City, our County, and the lives of future residents. 

 

We’re proud to be working with so many great partners in making the entire Central Ohio community stronger. Thank you for working with us and for your commitment to those served through permanent supportive housing.  

RESIDENT STORY: SIMONE

“This place is a stepping stone.
I’m very grateful for it.”

Simone’s apartment makes a strong first impression.

Her home is bright, airy, and meticulously organized. Every room, like her neatly pressed dress, is filled with pops of color, especially red (her favorite); and the living room wall is lined with pictures of the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, and other familiar landmarks of Paris -- a city she said she dreams of visiting before she dies.

 

“I like to keep things bright,” she says. “It helps fight off those feelings of depression.”

Simone’s iridescent apartment isn’t her only source of inspiration.

 

When asked about her experience living at Terrace Place, she’s effusive. “I can’t say enough about the managers, (CHN property manager) Cynthia is the best. Just seeing her come in here every day, being professional, it inspires me.”

Simone was a victim of domestic violence and struggled with medical issues that she says contributed to her losing her full-time job in 2015. She spent time in an all-women’s facility for the homeless in 2017, before being connected to Terrace Place in 2018. Living in a CHN property, Simone says, has made all the difference. 

 

“(CHN staff) help us get on our feet. CHN works so well with the community, connecting residents to resources – you just need to do your part.”

She quickly rattles off organizations and people who have helped her: Concord Counseling Services, OSU’s Extension at Terrace Place (which provides fresh food), and her first property manager, Celeste Cardwell, who she says “gave me inspiration, being a strong black woman, and very knowledgeable in her line of work.”

 

Simone is grateful for so many people she’s interacted with personally at CHN, including Employment Specialist Bill Palmer, from whom she recently received a completion certificate in his Employment Readiness class.  Taking advantage of the resources available “is all about moving in the right direction,” she says.

 

Simone is pleased with how far she’s come, but eager to keep moving forward. She works part-time but is anxious to find full-time employment. For her, living in CHN is part of a process, an important step in fulfilling higher aspirations. 

 

“This place is a stepping stone,” she says with conviction. “I’m very grateful for it.”

PARTNERSHIP WITH CMHA & ADAMH

On a Mission
with Mainstream

Central Ohio added 50 new supportive housing units for vulnerable residents this year, thanks to Congressional approval of $385 million for HUD’s Mainstream program, the first such funding in over a decade.

 

Central Ohio’s success in HUD’s first funding round is due in part to the community’s strong partnerships between the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, and housing providers like CHN.  The award provides crucial housing assistance funding to serve people with disabilities and those at risk of long-term homelessness. Mainstream is designed to help people transition out of segregated settings and experience the benefits of stronger community engagement.

 

To support the new residents, ADAMH is funding supportive services for resident well-being on a number of fronts, including mental health, housing stability, community engagement, and employment. When residents first move in, CHN’s Mainstream team meets them weekly, working collaboratively with case managers and others to develop an individualized plan for healthy, successful outcomes.  The team continues meeting regularly with residents to support their progress and provide connections as needed.  The Mainstream program also includes a research component to measure outcomes and evaluate effectiveness to inform program improvements, and ultimately support future funding requests for our community to expand the program.

 

“The potential for on-going funding for housing assistance for the vulnerable populations we serve is so important because new resources are scarce,” says Rachel Rubey, Director of Supportive Services.  “We’re excited to be working in tandem with CMHA and ADAMH in this program that has great potential for offering quality of life opportunities for people with disabilities, and for strengthening the Central Ohio community as a whole.”

CITY OF COLUMBUS HUMAN SERVICES GRANT

Bringing Economic
Security for All

Over two hundred CHN residents are benefiting from home-based supportive services, thanks to a City of Columbus Human Services Grant awarded in 2018. The grant – new for CHN – will benefit residents of Networks Restoration I, a collection of properties scattered throughout Franklinton and other neighborhoods near downtown Columbus.

 

CHN’s program will contribute to the City achieving its vision of a “thriving community where individuals and families” have access to programs that give them capacity-building opportunities designed to move them from “economic insecurity to economic security” for the long-term.

“This program will give hundreds of our residents the tools they need to increase economic stability and improve their lives.”

“This program will give hundreds of our residents the tools they need to increase economic stability and improve their lives,” said CHN Grants Manager Noel Welsh, noting that those being served include 117 children under the age of 17. “I’m excited about it. This partnership shows our commitment to making sure every resident is engaged and able to thrive.”

 

The program kicked off in June 2019, in partnership with Integrated Services for Behavioral Health. The funding supports two full-time Engagement Specialists, who work with residents to set goals and connect with services like employment readiness, transportation, child care, financial literacy, and community events.

RESIDENT STORY: DOUGLAS

“Life has a way of putting up
obstacles, and you have to decide
if you will overcome them.”

Douglas, a warm, gregarious man with an easy smile, is the kind of person who would rather take care of someone else than be taken care of. 

It’s one of the reasons he values his current job cooking for the elderly at Crown Point Care Center, where he views himself as serving an important human need among a vulnerable population.

 

It’s also the reason, when he lost a previous job and was forced to stay with a relative, that he didn’t feel entirely comfortable. “When you go from being independent to being codependent, it really feels wrong,” he says. 

 

Douglas is a recovering addict with 19 years of sobriety behind him. He’s proud of his track record, but also honest about other struggles. In 2018, after the relative he was staying with lost her home, he became homeless and ended up in a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

 

Douglas was directed to the Mainstream program through Bridges to Success, a program by CHN partner Southeast Healthcare Services that helps people transition successfully out of psychiatric hospitalization.

 

CHN Mainstream team member Simona helped Douglas find a permanent home in the community. 

 

“CHN has been really good to me,” says Douglas. “Simona suggested this place, because I got turned down from two different places and was getting depressed again, and I said, ‘Don’t do this to yourself, pull up your bootstraps and let’s go.’”

 

Although Douglas is grateful for Simona and CHN, he doesn’t view himself as a passive recipient of help.

 

“I did all the footwork myself,” he says. “Simona couldn’t believe how fast I paid the deposit, and I told her, ‘Simona, I really want this place!’ Life has a way of putting obstacles, and you have to decide if you will overcome them.” 

 

Douglas talks candidly about the dynamics of addiction, and the need to stay vigilant. “When you get depressed and feel like nobody can relate to your situation, you sink into a deep depression. And you might turn to alcohol and drugs and find relief in that.” 

 

Thanks to the Mainstream program, he not only has a permanent home he loves, but also more connections to help him when depression comes.

 

“Simona will sit down with you and give you suggestions, and if you have any issues you give them a call. CHN connects you with other agencies. I was like, ‘Wow, this is pretty good.’”

 

Having his own place has meant many good things for Douglas of late. “It motivates you to want to go to work, to be a provider for elders. And I’m getting ready to get a laptop and go back to school again part-time at Columbus State. I want to get into substance abuse counseling and social services,” Douglas says, demonstrating once again that he does, indeed, prefer to serve other people.

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