BEDS Supportive Housing Expands Units, Clients Housed
My name is Javon Harris, and I am BEDS Director of Supportive Housing. We began our Supportive Housing services, sometimes referred to in the social services field as Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) services, in 2016. They reach some of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in our communities, and I want to share a little about the people, the model and our services.
PSH programs serve people experiencing chronic homelessness, which the National Alliance to End Homelessness defines as:
[Having] experienced homelessness for at least a year — or repeatedly — while struggling with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability.
About a quarter of the homeless population qualifies as chronically homeless. Disabling conditions caused them to lose their homes, have been made worse by homelessness, and prevent them from regaining stable housing. PSH gives them the chance to live as independently as they can, while providing support to help them manage their conditions.
THE PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING MODEL
The PSH approach coalesced decades ago as an alternative to public housing developments, which were, in the words of a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-affiliated researcher, “socially isolated” and “profoundly dehumanizing.” (While this is a fair assessment, more lurid depictions of “the projects” as crime- and drug-infested wastelands are reductive. They still were homes, and their residents didn’t magically move on to a better life after they closed).
HUD outlines PSH programs’ characteristics. First, they must be “community-based housing without a designated length of stay in which formerly homeless individuals and families live as independently as possible.” They must combine “indefinite leasing or rental assistance” with case management, healthcare, and social services to ensure clients remain stably housed.
Agencies, communities, and clients prefer PSH programs, as they, respectively, improve client outcomes, reduce public costs, and represent chances to rebuild qualify of life and reenter communities. Here at BEDS, we see the difference it makes every day. Our offices are on the first floor of our flagship Ogden Avenue Supportive Housing (OASH) facility, which houses 20 people with histories of chronic homelessness.
OUR PSH PROGRAMS
PSH has been one of BEDS’ latest areas of growth. We opened the 20-unit Ogden Avenue Supportive Housing facility in June 2018. While it’s our most visible PSH program, we have subsequently added more than 60 scattered site housing units. Like their name implies, these units are spread throughout our communities and embedded in buildings with market rental apartments. Programs take place in partnership with other organizations and funders, including:
- 31 units through a partnership with Housing Forward, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, and Cook County Health
- 30 units through a partnership with the Housing Authority of Cook County
I’m truly privileged to lead this service and see clients recover and begin to thrive. Your gifts drive this proven approach to bringing people who have been homeless for years back home. Click here to support BEDS Permanent Supportive Housing.