ERIKA CLARK JONES
Chief Executive Officer
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
CITY OF COLUMBUS HUMAN SERVICES GRANT
On a Mission
Security for All
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.”
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.
“I love seeing people thrive and flourish in a structure that I have helped design and build.”
Parsons Place broke ground on a one-acre site immediately west of the PrimaryOne Health center on Parsons Avenue, joining other revitalization initiatives in the area anchored by Reeb Community Center.
By the fall of 2020, Parsons Place’s 62 new apartment units will replace aging 250-square-foot studio units just two blocks away at CHN’s Parsons Avenue Apartments.
Current Parsons Avenue Apartment residents will be given an opportunity to relocate to Parsons Place, joining new residents who have been chronically homeless.
Marsh Brook Place
A decade-old vision for serving vulnerable young adults continued to move forward as construction began on Marsh Brook Place, a 40-unit apartment building located on the City’s far east side. By the summer of 2020, 40 residents aged 18 to 24 – along with their children – will have a new place to call home. Marsh Brook Place is Central Ohio’s first Permanent Supportive Housing development dedicated to youth experiencing homelessness.
The building will have several unique features specifically requested by youth and guided by best practices in trauma-informed design, including a child play area and a self-calming room.
“For youth who have experienced trauma, tools to self-calm like using a weighted blanket, fidget toys, listening to ocean waves, and other resources can help them de-escalate,” says CHN Senior Project Manager Laurie Sutherland.
While these tools will help, the permanency of the home is what Laurie believes will make the biggest difference. “Having a supportive environment at Marsh Brook Place will give young adults the time they need to recover, to develop life skills, and to get an education, without worrying about where they will live next.”
NEW TAX CREDIT AWARD!
After receiving a Low-income housing tax credit award in 2019, Creekside Place is slated to break ground in Spring of 2020 on a 2.6-acre site bordering the Alum Creek Hike/Bike trail in Eastgate Gardens. Creekside Place will provide 63 new apartment units to individuals who have experienced mental health disabilities and/or have histories of homelessness.
The current timeline calls for residents to begin moving in Fall of 2021, a date that CHN Project Manager Walt Whitmyre is looking forward to.
“Swinging the front doors open on a project that you’ve been working on for 3 to 4 years, and finally seeing our residents move in, is a very rewarding experience,” he says. “I love seeing people thrive and flourish in a structure that I have helped design and build.”
RESIDENT STORY: TEDESSE
"This house, this place,
it saved my life."
Tedesse Haile appreciates things most take for granted – seemingly mundane amenities like green trees, fresh food in grocery stores, or even breathable air.
He spent 20 years in the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya, a sprawling, congested desert settlement home to nearly 200,000 refugees, including thousands of Ethiopians who, like Tedesse, fled political turmoil in the 1990s.
“It was ugly, all desert, when we first got there,” Tedesse says. “The food was very bad, you couldn’t cook anything. Sometimes you eat, sometimes you don’t eat.”
Tedesse says the camp’s harsh initial conditions cost thousands of lives from malaria and malnutrition. Sand from the desert would choke his lungs, contributing to asthma and chronic pneumonia.
Tedesse married and had two children, Michael and Salam, while living in the camp. His wife died before they were able to be resettled.
Finally, through the assistance of a United Nations refugee agency, Tedesse, Michael and Salam boarded an airplane bound for the United States in March of 2012. Tedesse describes himself as arriving in a broken condition.
“I was not as you see me now, today,” he says. The camp left emotional scars and debilitating battles with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, making it nearly impossible to maintain stable work and housing. Left with few other options, Tedesse and his family ended up in a Columbus shelter.
A critical turning point came when a caseworker from the Homeless Families Foundation connected Tedesse to a doctor from OSU Hospital, and helped place him and his family in permanent housing at CHN’s Southpoint Place in 2014, a step Tedesse describes as a decisive factor in improving his chronic health conditions and mental well-being. “This house, this place, it saved my life. I was born again in this place, under the umbrella of CHN.”
Looking out the window of his apartment, he talks about how often ambulances would pull up to his unit when he first moved in. “But now,” he says, “Six months, a year, no ambulances. It’s amazing.”
Tedesse’s improved health has put him in the position to take other steps. He now has a part-time job as a valet parking attendant, and is a regular at the nearby South High branch of the Columbus Library, where he diligently works toward his GED.
He says his children are doing well in their new home. Michael, now sixteen, enjoys playing with friends on Southpoint’s basketball court, and he and Salam are both adjusting to their school. Tedesse’s demeanor is bright, and his hopes are high, not just for himself, but for them.
“I tell my kids what they have to be, they have to have a dream, and to give back to this country. This government and these people, Americans, they pulled me from the grave.”
Community Housing Network provides permanent supportive housing that creates opportunities for our residents to be successful. We collaborate with supportive partners to expand these opportunities and impact our community.
BY THE NUMBERS
OF CHN RESIDENTS MAINTAIN PERMANENT HOUSING
HOUSEHOLDS SERVED IN 2018
AVERAGE TENANCY PERIOD, IN MONTHS, FOR CHN RESIDENTS
OF FORMER RESIDENTS HAD NOT RETURNED TO HOMELESSNESS
6 MONTHS AFTER EXITING CHN
Statement of Financial Position
Statement of Activities
Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County
Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board
of Franklin County
City of Columbus
The Columbus Foundation
Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
Community Shelter Board
Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Harry C. Moores Foundation
Individual Donations and Contributions
Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Ohio Development Services Agency
Ohio Housing Finance Agency
Osteopathic Heritage Foundations
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Partners & Collaborators
Affordable Housing Alliance
of Central Ohio
Brice United Methodist Church
Capital Crossroads and Discovery Special Improvement Districts
Carlile, Patchen & Murphy
Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging
CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence
City of Columbus Land Bank
Coalition on Homelessness
and Housing in Ohio
Columbus Coalition for the Homeless
Columbus Division of Police
Columbus South Side Area Commission
Columbus Urban League
Community Development for All People
Community Properties of Ohio
Concord Counseling Services
Corporation for Supportive Housing COWIC
Directions for Youth and Families Discovery
District Civic Association
Feed My Sheep Ministries
Fifth Third Bank
First Merchants Bank
Franklin County Department of Jobs and Family Services
Franklin County Land Bank
Franklin County Veterans Service Commission
Gardiner Allen DeRoberts
Greater South East Area Commission
HandsOn Central Ohio
Homeless Families Foundation
Huntington National Bank
IMPACT Community Action
Integrated Services Behavioral Health
The Jefferson Avenue Center
The Kroger Company
Lardiere McNair, LLC
Lower Lights Christian Health Center
Lutheran Social Services
Mannick Smith Group
Mental Health America of Franklin County
Metropolitan Community Services: T.O.U.C.H.
NAMI Franklin County
National Church Residences
New Horizons Methodist Church
North Central Mental Health Services
North Community Counseling
The Ohio State University Extension
The Open Shelter, Inc.
Park National Bank
Parsons Avenue Merchant Association
The P.E.E.R. Center
Red Capital Group
Reeb Avenue Center
Community Civic Association
Shorth North Alliance
Southeast Healthcare Services
The Title Company
Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
United Way of Central Ohio
University Special Improvement District
Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio
Weinland Park Community Civic Association
YMCA of Central Ohio
Erika Clark Jones, Chair
CelebrateOne, City of Columbus
John Royer, Vice Chair
Kohr Royer Griffith
James C. Shaw, Secretary/Treasurer
Inland Financial, Inc.
Director of Quality Improvement
and Healthcare Integration
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Linda S. Janes
Chief Program Officer & Corporate
Clark L. Lloyd
Senior Investment Professional
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
Robert Oakley, Ph.D.
Nationwide Insurance Companies
President and CEO
Mutual Federal Savings Bank
Senior Leadership Team
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Administrative & Financial Officer
Chief Development Officer
Chief Operating Officer