Eligible households must be able to verify at least one of the members is literally homeless. Additional qualifications may include verification that the member suffers from mental health disabilities, alcohol and/or drug addition or a combination of disorders. Clark County’s Continuum of Care identifies vulnerable homeless individuals in the community for the highest priority need for permanent supportive housing and support services.
In support of these clients, CSNW manages 3 permanent supportive housing programs, 1 transitional supportive housing program and a short-term rental assistance program for individuals and families in transition:
- The Way Home Too, The Way Home III and Family Housing Northwest HUD are permanent supportive housing programs funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They serve chronically homeless, disabled individuals who are considered highly vulnerable.
- The CHEC program provides short-termed tenant-based rent assistance to individuals exiting systems-of-care into homelessness.
- Family Housing Northwest provides intensive supportive housing services to families who have high needs resulting from multiple episodes of homelessness and very low or no incomes. The family housing program is funded by Washington Families Fund and housing vouchers provided by Vancouver Housing Authority.
CSNW’s housing participates in Clark County’s Coordinated Entry system. All program referrals come to the Housing Department through the Housing Solutions Center of the Council for the Homeless.CSNW owns and operates a tri-plex and a four-plex in Clark County that serve as quality permanent affordable housing opportunities for vulnerable renters. CSNW also master leases a property to Share for operation of the HEN program which assists homeless individuals with disabilities.
Community Services Northwest (CSNW) has been providing housing support services since 2002, and made supportive housing a component of its core mission in 2008. We recognize that stable housing is a fundamental component of the recovery of individuals and families experiencing mental health disorders and addictions. The ever-increasing momentum of government, corporate and philanthropic investment in supportive housing has been bolstered by research documenting its effectiveness. To date, these studies indicate:
- Positive impacts on health: A decrease of more than 50% in tenants’ emergency room visits and hospital inpatient days; a decrease of more than 80% in tenants’ uses of emergency detoxification services; and an increase in the use of preventive health care services.
- Positive impacts on employment: An increase of 50% in earned income; an increase of 40% in the rate of participant employment when employment services are provided in supportive housing; and a significant decrease of $1,448 per tenant in dependence on entitlements each year.
- Positive impacts on treating mental illness. At least a third of those people living in streets and shelters have a severe and persistent mental illness. Supportive housing has proven to be a popular and effective approach for many mentally ill people, as it affords both independence and as-needed support.
- Positive impacts on reducing or ending substance use. Once people with histories of substance use achieve sobriety, their living situations are often a factor in their ability to stay clean and sober.
Supportive housing services begin by creating an environment of stability and end in long-term self-sufficiency. Affordable housing, combined with support services, provides special-needs populations with essential tools for building the skills to end cycles of homelessness and instability. Participants have individually-designed goal plans and opportunities to engage in a broad range of support services. Services include access to mental health and addictions treatment, medical healthcare, tenant education, budgeting, childcare, supported employment and education.