A Platform for Connections (Huffpost Impact)

By Deborah De Santis, President and CEO of CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing)

This week, I will be joining nearly 800 local, state and federal thought leaders and policymakers committed to expanding supportive housing to create more opportunities for vulnerable individuals and families to move into permanent, stable homes where they can receive the services necessary to stay housed and healthy. We are looking ahead, mapping the future of supportive housing, as we gather in Chicago, Illinois at the national CSH Summit 2016.

The Summit is attracting public officials, housing developers, major philanthropic foundations, financial institutions, advocates and supportive housing residents from every corner of the country.

Supportive housing is affordable rental housing that is used as a platform to provide stability for very vulnerable people, including those considered chronically homeless (individuals and families facing multiple challenges/disabilities and homeless for long periods of time). Residents in supportive housing capitalize on a stable environment to access services such as healthcare, addiction treatment and employment that will improve their quality of life.

The Summit is all about how we can leverage affordable, supportive housing as a platform for stability, confidence, independence, and dignity. Supportive housing is proven to work (as supply has increased, chronic homelessness has been cut almost in half), because it forms a strong foundation from which vulnerable people can pursue the connections they need to achieve better health, substance use recovery, jobs, parenting skills and so much more. These connections change the trajectory of their lives.

CSH Summit 2016 participants are engaging a diverse, expansive network and connecting to the issues and discussions shaping supportive housing today and influencing its growth tomorrow.

One goal of the Summit is to help the public better understand the interconnectivity of supportive housing and healthcare, criminal justice reform, family well-being, substance use recovery, economic advancement, and community development.

Other goals include:

* Continuously improving and refining supportive housing to make sure the models are connecting with the vulnerable people who need them most, transforming lives and building healthier communities in the process.

* Expanding the inventory of supportive housing and building a better system of care through changes in the ways communities coordinate and deliver services.

The Summit brings many different viewpoints together as we shape a more powerful future for supportive housing and the people we serve. At the end of the day, we all will leave with one thought in mind - how can we best use supportive housing to connect vulnerable individuals and families to the stability they need and deserve?