CSL Announces Major Housing Expansion

Community Services League (CSL) is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of an additional $390,000 in United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funding to help kids, families, and single adults find permanent and stable housing. With this new funding, CSL will now receive more than $1,060,000 annually from HUD. The expansion is a direct result of CSL’s outstanding work in administering other HUD program dollars that has led to positive outcomes in our community. CSL began administering Permanent Supportive Housing in 2011, and following grant competitions in 2015 and 2017, was awarded additional program dollars. Annually, HUD provides a framework for a local competition to ensure taxpayer dollars are making an impact, and CSL’s expansion is a result of continued, outstanding scores in the annual competitions. CSL has excelled at keeping kids, families, and single adults stably housed, helping them improve their earned and unearned (public and private supports) income, and connecting participants to other vital community resources, like mental and physical health.

The Creed family, who was homeless following Hurricane Katrina, was one of our first families in Permanent Supportive Housing, and they've remained stably housed since 2012.

The Creed family, who was homeless following Hurricane Katrina, was one of CSL's first families in Permanent Supportive Housing, and they've remained stably housed since 2012.

HUD organizes regions into Continuum of Care (CoCs), a network of local housing providers working to end homelessness. CoCs are required to perform an annual, independently-conducted "Rank and Review" process to ensure funded programs are high-performing. For the 2019 Rank and Review process, two of CSL's three funded programs ranked as the highest-performing Permanent Supportive Housing program in their category. CSL is committed to being an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars and helping communities achieve good outcomes for neighbors that were formerly chronically-homeless. Permanent Supportive Housing is designed to take formerly chronically-homeless families and single adults and place them in permanent housing, while wrapping the participants in intense services, including job training, financial coaching, mental health/counseling, and income supports. For many participants, CSL pays 100% of their rent, and CSL is the lessee of record with the landlord. These two new grants, which take effect on or about October 1, 2020, will fund two critical needs in our community. The grants further CSL’s ability to permanently house victims of domestic violence and youth suffering from homelessness. While we have provided these services in the past, this new funding allows us to dedicate specific resources to these vulnerable populations. Domestic violence survivors often have a difficult time maintaining permanent housing following their abuse. This will give a pathway from a shelter or on-street homelessness to permanent housing. Many survivors completely walk away from their old lives to start new ones, which can include leaving all monetary assets and employment behind. According to HUD (www.hudexchange.info), 80% of homeless women with children have experienced domestic violence, and 57% of homeless women reported that domestic violence was the immediate cause for their homelessness (Engaging with Domestic Violence Survivors: What CoCs Need to Know, January 2018). The youth homeless grant will allow CSL to house vulnerable 18-24 year-olds who are on the street. According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (www.usich.gov), 11% of people experiencing homeless on any given night are young adults under the age of 25. This equates to more than 41,000 young adults experiencing homelessness nightly, and of those in that condition, 55% slept in their car, outdoors, or another place not fit for human habitation (Homelessness in America: Focus on Youth, October 2018). The expansion allows CSL to house 51 more individuals annually, for a total of 159. Annually, CSL will now provide a total of 58,035 nights of shelter for those who used to call the streets home.

CSL leases about 50 homes and apartments, including the one pictured above, throughout the Kansas City area that house families, children, and individuals that formerly were chronically-homeless.

The Housing Services Program at CSL is led by Amber Bauer, Vice President of Housing Services, with administrative oversight by Lynn Rose, CSL’s Senior Vice President. Pete Jackson and Ashley Miller, Case Managers, both support a portfolio of Permanent Supportive Housing participants, and Belinda Goodwin, Housing Generalist, provides services across all three of our funded programs. Collectively, this team does a phenomenal job working with some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

CSL is a member of the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness. In addition to its work with HUD Permanent Supportive Housing, CSL is also active in the housing services arena with homeless street outreach, tenant-landlord mediation, homebuyer education, housing stabilization through rent and utility assistance, and intense case management through the Family Stability Initiative, a partnership with United Way of Greater Kansas City. CSL’s Noland Road office in Independence has received the designation as a hub for coordinated entry into homeless assistance for the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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