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Case Studies

  1. 1. Emerging Best Practices in Siting Housing First A Collection of Case Studies UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER | SPRING 2012 image: Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
  2. 2. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 1 TABLE OF CONTENTSEMERGING BEST PRACTICES IN HOUSING FIRST...................................................... 2THE BUD CLARK COMMONS: PORTLAND OR.......................................................... 8THE RENAISSANCE: DENVER, CO......................................................................... 15EMERSON NORTH: MINNEAPOLIS, MN................................................................. 22THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY INITIATIVE: CLEVELAND, OH........................................ 28HOME AGAIN: WORCESTER, MA......................................................................... 35LOGAN PLACE: PORTLAND, ME........................................................................... 43 The case studies in Housing First were produced by members of the Spring 2012 graduate planning seminar in Locational Disputes in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Colorado Denver. For additional information on Housing First Initiatives Nationwide, please go to: For more information, please contact Associate Professor Bruce Goldstein at (CC) Each of the Case Studies in Siting Housing First Projects is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
  3. 3. Housing First Best Practices Phillip Supino image:
  4. 4. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 3Abstract Discussion The scope of this memorandum is limited to groups Researching online resources, non-profit organizations, publicproviding national, industry-standard best practices for housing agencies and personal interviews, it is clear that despite thefirst facility siting and opposition mitigation techniques and a presence of some useful resources, there is not an industrycompilation of best practices common to the relevant standard set of best-practices for siting housing first facilities indocuments. Despite some constraints, there are a variety of urban and suburban areas. The resources that may be called bestgenerally accepted best-practice resources available to housing practices guides to establishing housing first facilities are usefulfirst proponents. Within this body of research, there are some but uncoordinated with similar documents produced by otherrecommendations common to each document that amount to organizations, despite covering the same topics and providingconsensus-based best practices. These resources may serve as a comparable recommendations. Despite this lack oftemplate for groups nation-wide who seek to establish housing coordination, close examination of the relevant documentsfirst facilities. reveals some essential common themes and practices. The This memorandum will demonstrate that there are best industry would be well served to coordinate these findings andpractice resources available to housing first proponents who proven techniques and compile a housing first developmentwish to develop facilities while avoiding organized opposition to guide to assist in future projects nation wide.their projects. The available resources are produced by private There are a number of government agencies and privateand government organizations and are typically made available organizations engaged in establishment of housing first facilitiesto the public on the organizations’ websites in on-line resource or providing consultative services to housing first proponents.libraries containing a wide variety of other materials related to The relevant federal government agencies include: Thethe organizations’ mission. The resources are typically free Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Thedocuments geared toward industry professionals and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), Theacademics. The assistance provided is limited in scope and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and thecoordination. But the body of research from the numerous Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Relevant national levelhousing first facilities in operation around the county, as well as private and non-profit organizations include: The Corporationoutside groups advocating for housing first, is growing and for Supportive Housing (CSH), Pathways to Housing (PH), Theinformative. The resources provided by housing first Supportive Housing Network (SHN), The National Alliance toorganizations are similar in scope and methodology while End Homelessness (NAEH), The National Law Center onlacking in coordination. Taken together, the body of research Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) and the Homelessand guidelines provides a useful set of tools for housing first Resource Center (HRC). While these lists are notproponents to avoid locational disputes. comprehensive, the agencies and groups included are among the most active in establishing housing first facilities or providing consultation and information to housing first proponents around the country. In addition to these groups, there are
  5. 5. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 4countless State and Local agencies and organizations that The national organization that provides a closeparticipate in the development, funding, establishment and equivalent to best practice guidelines and consultations is themanagement of housing first facilities but fall outside of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. The CSH maintains anscope of this memorandum. extensive database of resources for housing first groups. The In interviews and internet-based research, groups materials cover a wide range of topics related to housing firstengaged in the creation of housing first facilities reported some development issues. The wide range of resources made availableformal coordination or consultation with like groups during the on the CSH website provide a comprehensive guide to theplanning and implementation phases of their projects. 1 Despite myriad community engagement, siting and establishment issuesstrong national organizations lobbying for the funding and faced by housing first proponents.4 These documents provideestablishment of housing first programs and facilities, there is some basic tools and techniques for siting a housing firstrelatively little in the way of coordinated planning, assistance or development while minimizing opposition, which will beliterature regarding best practices for community engagement, discussed in greater detail selection and mitigation of NIMBY opposition. Jordan Press, Director of Federal Policy for the CSH, The most common technique used by housing first indicated that he was unaware of nationally accepted bestgroups to obtain information and best practice guidance for practices.5 He went on to say that the consultation servicesestablishing facilities is through discussion with similar groups provided by his and other organizations are meant to be best-already involved in these activities. In an interview with Bill practices guidance tailored to the unique needs of their clients.Hobson, Executive Director of the Seattle-based Downtown Mr. Press also indicated that there are a handful of nationalEmercengy Services Center (DESC), he indicated that as an housing first conferences held annually, where industryindustry leader in housing first projects, he regularly consults professionals from the public and private sector exchange ideasgroups seeking to establish facilities in other jurisdictions. 2 and information. The Pathways to Housing Conference is theWhile he provides verbal consultation, the DESC does not largest of these, and locational disputes and communityprovide a set of comprehensive best practices to those seeking engagement are topics covered regularly at the conference. 6assistance. Additionally, Mr. Hobson was unaware of anynationally known guide to facility establishment or mitigatinglocational opposition.31 McDivitt, Kay Moshier. Personal Interview, 25 April, 20122 Hobson, Bill. Personal Interview, 16 April, 20123 Hobson, Bill. Personal Interview, 16 April, 20124 McDivitt, Kay Moshier. Personal Interview, 25 April, 20125 Press, Jordan. Personal Interview, 13 April, 20126 Press, Jordan. Personal Interview, 13 April, 2012
  6. 6. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 5However, materials and transcripts from that conference are not properties in the New York metro area. The guide and toolkityet available. break down the best practices for establishing facilities and The federal Interagency Council on Homelessness techniques for mitigating opposition. The step-by-step guidecoordinates between various federal agencies including HUD, directly addresses issues like combating NIMBY-ism, media andHHS and the VA. The Council maintains an extensive database public outreach techniques, facility management, goodof resources for housing first and similar homeless advocacy neighbor policies, messaging and other methods for buildinggroups. The database includes primers for housing first community support for facilities. The toolkit provides literature,proponents on topics such as community engagement, case studies and scripts meant to supplement the guide andcombating NIMBY-ism and site selection for facilities. While provide useful tools for housing first proponents.the documents do not represent an attempt to compile or Both documents are made available on the group’srecommend industry best practices, the resource database website. The Network offers consulting services to otherprovided by the ICH is an excellent starting place for proponent organizations, and like Seattle’s DESC, the group engages ingroups seeking to establish housing first facilities.7 informal consultations at the request of other groups. The guide The HUD website offers another federal government and toolkit are a strong attempt by the Network to provide alevel online guide for groups seeking to establish housing first comprehensive best-practices guide, and the documents couldfacilities. Called the Homelessness Resource Exchange, the serve as a model for a national effort in the future. Any groupguide differs from other online resources in that it is a step-by- engaged in the development of housing first facilities shouldstep guide rather than a database of collected resources from consult the Network and their online resources early in theother sources. The guide directly addresses citing conflict and development process.NIMBY-opposition mitigation, as well as guidelines for The National Alliance to End Homelessness coordinatesfinancing and management of housing first facilities.8 While the with other national-level advocacy groups and local-leveldepth of the material is limited, the assistance provided by the facility proponents to promote supportive housing modelsHomelessness Resource Exchange is an effective primer for nation-wide. In a discussion of the utility of national policy andthose engaging housing first development and management. best practices for supportive housing, Kay Moshier McDivitt, The most comprehensive guides for housing first Capacity Building Director for the NAEH, stated: “The NAEHproponents is “Building Support for Supportive Housing” and does not support a unified national policy for the developmentthe “Supportive Housing Toolkit” provided by the New York of supportive housing facilities. Development policy should beCity-based Supportive Housing Network. The private tailor to site-specific circumstances.”9 However, she went on toorganization maintains a number of supportive housing say that there are general best practices, accepted industry wide,7 Interagency Council on Homelessness, Home Page: Department of Housing and Urban Development, Home Page: McDivitt, Kay Moshier. Personal Interview, 25 April, 2012
  7. 7. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 6that are essential for housing first proponents to incorporate • Create a draft plan, vetted by all relevant stakeholders, beforeinto their development plans. She cited the CSH and SHN engaging the public to ensure the project appears wellguides as being good starting points for potential proponents of organized to the concerned public;new facilities. • Educate supportive and interested parties and isolate the While there is no singular best practices guide nationally opposition;available and widely accepted as the go-to guide for housing • Consult attorneys and government administrators to gain afirst proponents, there are a number of useful tools available comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape beforefrom both public and private sources. Groups interested in proceeding with a selected location;establishing housing first facilities are well served to conduct • Avoid selecting locations that require use or zoning variancesinternet-based research to discover the relevant agencies and and thus, public hearings;groups included in this memorandum. Between the The housing first community would benefit frompublications made available on the groups’ websites and development of a comprehensive guide for proponents’ futurethrough consultation with housing first proponents in other use.10 This effort would ensure that groups seeking to establishareas, a consensus on some of the essential best practices housing first facilities utilize proven, effective practices foremerges. community engagement, location selection and mitigation of Through analysis of the relevant publications and online NIMBY opposition to their projects. Until that effort isresources, a consensus emerges among the various groups as to completed, the resources and recommendations outlined in thisthe best practices for development and mitigation of NIMBY memorandum provide a useful starting point for future housingopposition. S ome of the common techniques and first developments nation wide.recommendations among the various resources include:• Avoid selecting locations where the primary land use type is Conclusion well-established residences; There are organizations that provide literature and consulting• Avoid clustering projects in areas with existing homeless on community engagement, siting and mitigating NIMBY facilities; locational disputes over housing first facilities. There are• Engage the impacted public early and often; relatively few industry-wide best practice resources to help• Identify key political, social, financial and technical proponents and organizations effectively plan for community stakeholders; engagement, siting and mitigation of locational disputes related• Seek to build a coalition of supportive community leaders, to Housing First facilities. However, the available resources residents and stakeholders; share a number of commonalities that amount to a consensus• Keep the coalition engaged and empowered to ensure it works on development best practices. Collectively, the available in concert with project proponents;10 Bauman, Tristia: Attorney, National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty. Personal Interview, 24 April, 2012
  8. 8. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 7resources are useful tools for housing first proponents who seekto establish facilities accepted by the surrounding community.
  9. 9. The Bud Clark Commons Portland, OR Kara Silbernagel image:
  10. 10. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 9Abstract 3. Concentrate resources on programs that offer measurable On June 2, 2011, Portland, Oregon opened a multi- results.faceted homeless facility in the heart of the city. The Bud Clark Inherent within the Home Again plan, as outlined withCommons, the cornerstone of Portland’s 10-year plan to end these three key principles, is a “housing first” methodology tohomelessness, provides tiered services to people experiencing end homelessness and develop a comprehensive homelesshomelessness (Home Again, 2005). Within the 10-year plan, facility. At the cornerstone of the plan was the Bud ClarkPortland identified three critical services that helps individuals Commons (BCC), originally known as the Resource Accessachieve stability and end homelessness; shelter services, access Center. The BCC was developed from an innovative partnershipto resources, and most importantly, stable housing. The Bud with the City of Portland’s Housing Bureau, MultnomahClark Commons is the linchpin of the plan by providing all County, Home Forward (previously the Housing Authority ofthree services to individuals within the same building. The Portland) and local service provider, Transition Projects, Inc.facility is a LEED-Platinum building that houses a resource day While Portland Housing Bureau, Multnomah County were keycenter, men’s shelter and 130 studio apartments. These players in siting the facility, Home Forward and Transitionapartments provide permanent housing to the most vulnerable, Projects are instrumental in the management and day-to-daychronically homeless populations under the Housing First operations of the facility.model. The following case study looks at the innovative The first floor of the building houses a 90-bed men’spartnerships between the City of Portland, Multnomah County, shelter, with the second and third floors hosting a Resource Dayservice providers, business associations and citizen groups to Center. The Day Center provides resources such as mentalsuccessfully site and design the facility while keeping sight of health, veteran services, eye care and social security services tothe overarching goal: helping individuals overcome personal anyone in the community seeking assistance. The remainder ofand social barriers to achieve stability. the building is made up of 130 Housing First studio apartments that provides permanent housing to chronically homelessDiscussion individuals who suffer from personal barriers such as mental In 2005, the City of Portland, Oregon and Multnomah illness or drug abuse. See Appendix A for a layout of the facility.County developed “Home Again – A 10-year plan to endhomelessness in Portland and Multnomah County.” The 10-year Appetite for Collaborationplan addresses several issues throughout Portland and Portland has a strong history for collaboration and civicMultnomah County, highlighting three key goals: engagement. Critical to these civic engagement efforts is the1. Focus on the most chronically homeless populations. Office of Neighborhood Involvement, a bureau within city2. Streamline access to existing services in order to prevent government. In Portland there are 95 distinct neighborhood and reduce other homelessness. associations recognized by the City and actively involved
  11. 11. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 10community government. Whether private or public, any new housing typically do not have the means to support businessesdevelopment, deed or permit must notify and engage with and retail. Without a balanced housing market, the communityappropriate neighborhood association(s) prior to receiving could not sustain a vibrant business district. Owners wouldapproval from City Council.1 This process allows community leave the neighborhood, creating a windfall for the community.2members to voice their concerns and provide valuable feedback At the onset of the siting process, members of theto City officials to better shape development in Portland. community, specifically OTCT were unhappy with the location The Bud Clark Commons is sited at the juncture of Old and many argued the City ignored the Vision Plan and its goalsTown China Town Neighborhood and Pearl District in for balance in the community. Members felt the City wasdowntown Portland. Historically known as the “skid row” of placing an unjust burden on the Old Town ChinatownPortland, Old Town Chinatown (OTCT) is the common neighborhood. While residents and business owners acceptedgathering location for people suffering from homelessness, that the community needed to provide services to the homeless,mental illnesses, drug addition and other illnesses. In an effort they felt adding additional low-income housing was shifting theto help individuals overcome such barriers, several human balance and creating an unsustainable community.service providers have located to the neighborhood over the In addition, OTCT Vice Chair, Nancy Stowell recalls atyears. Local service providers, such as Transition Projects have the beginning of the siting process that the Bud Clarkbeen providing men’s and women’s shelters, meals and social Commons was not the only development being proposed. Thereservices to the homeless in OTCT for years. As a staple fixture were multiple low-income and affordable housing developmentsin the community, many of these service providers are not only under consideration which only increased the community’sbusinesses, but they are also active, engaged community concern about an unbalanced neighborhood. Through the sitingmembers participating in neighborhood associations. and design process, the City and project partners actively Approximately 30 years ago, the Old Town Chinatown engaged with residents and businesses to address their concernsNeighborhood Association adopted a Vision Plan for the and ensure the facility would not inhibit the value of thecommunity. Due to the neighborhood’s longstanding reputation neighborhood, but rather sustain and contribute to a safe,as “skid row” residents were determined to address the issues healthy community.facing the area and develop a plan to create a vibrant, safe, andhealthy community. Rather than try to clean-up and eradicate Case Studythe neighborhood of its nuisances, OTCT embraced and Phase I: Locationintegrated the diversity of the area in their plan. The Vision Plan The Bud Clark Commons facility is located in OTCT,set out goals to balance low-income, poverty residences with just south of the Portland Union Station, and borders the Pearlmarket rate and above housing. Residents of low-income District neighborhood – a historically higher income,1 Office of Neighborhood Involvement ( Stowell, Nancy. Vice Chair of Old Town China Town Neighborhood Association. Interviewed 4.17.12
  12. 12. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 11destination neighborhood. The specific space was a vacant lot renewal block. The other half of the block would be set aside forowned by the Portland Development Commission (PDC), the redevelopment and market-rate housing. This resolution,urban renewal agency for the City charged with developing coupled with the fact that the intent of the 10-year Home Againprojects to meet the City’s housing, economic and homeless plan was always intended to site the facility in Oldredevelopment priorities. In 2008, City Council transferred the Town Chinatown, helped to alleviate tensions betweenblock from the PDC to the Portland Housing Authority to community members and service providers. Citizens moveddevelop the site for the Bud Clark Commons.3 The siting beyond opposition and entered into a collaborative decisionresolution outlines an alternative block if the NW Irving block making process with the site developers to ensure the facilityis deemed inadequate, due to an environmental assessment or simultaneously addressed homeless needs in the neighborhood,cost. This alternative block is still located within OTCT as well as community member concerns.neighborhood – demonstrating the City’s plan to develop thefacility that is the cornerstone of the 10-year plan within OTCT. Phase II: DesignThe resolution also outlines that the Office of Neighborhood The Portland Housing Board and Home ForwardInvolvement must help facilitate a good neighborhood created a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) toagreement between all agencies and neighbors, “as required by participate in the development and design of the facility. LocalCity Policy.” residents from neighborhood associations, business association As mentioned above, there was high interest from representatives, service providers and individuals who hadcommunity members in the siting of the facility. To address previously been homeless and could speak on behalf of thosecommunity concerns, the Old Town Chinatown Visions currently suffering from homelessness served on the CAC. Forcommittee hosted twelve meetings between 2007 and 2008. One two years, the advisory committee, with leadership from Homeof the top concerns from these meetings was the housing Forward, worked with the designers and architects to create animbalance it would create in the neighborhood, as well as that engaging design that reflected the values of the community.5the siting may impede future redevelopment of the Broadway The advisory committee provided crucial perspectivesCorridor – a significant city project to promote redevelopment on pieces ranging from exterior design, aesthetics to overallin downtown Portland.4 As a compromise for both resident and community impacts. For example, the CAC helped problembusiness concerns, the PDC and Portland Housing Bureau solve a common concern, queuing. Oftentimes, individualsagreed the facility would only be on half of PDC-owned urban queue in front of facilities, blocking sidewalks, littering and in3 Resource Access Center (RAC) Resolution, 2008. Portland Development Commission Resolution, 2008. Allen, Kate. Senior Policy Advisor, Portland Housing Bureau. Interviewed 3.31.12
  13. 13. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 12some instances, exhibiting disruptive behavior. To resolve sparked the idea for the Good Neighbor Agreement, Kate Allen,queuing tensions, the Bud Clark Commons only allows Senior Policy Advisor stated it is a common practice in Portlandindividuals to queue within the facilities courtyard. Not only and required by City policy for certain developments, such asdoes this provide a safer, cleaner environment for the this one.8 While neighborhood agreements and processes differcommunity, it also provides a safe, protected environment for depending on circumstances, it is common for the City’sthe homeless, especially during times of bad weather when lines Neighborhood Involvement Bureau to facilitate neighborhoodare the longest.6 CAC members were also concerned about how agreements, oftentimes between business development andthe design of the facility may impede future redevelopment on neighborhoods. The idea to develop a neighborhood agreementthe remainder of the block. This was agreed upon by all parties was always planned to be a part of the siting process.and helped foster the design of the ground floor in ways that Many of the stakeholders that participated in thesupported the functionality of the building without creating Community Advisory Council were the same as those thatproblems for residents or the Portland Police Bureau.”7 Through participated in the Good Neighborhood Agreement (GNA)two design workshops multiple Community Advisory negotiations. However, GNA stakeholders represented a largerCommittee meetings, the architects were able to incorporate the congregation of community stakeholders than those thatneeds and concerns of all the stakeholders into the facility. participated in the CAC. In addition, Transition Projects Additionally, the Community Advisory Committee also identified homeless representatives to also participate in theplayed vital roles in securing permits, receiving authorization process. As part of the GNA negotiations, future Bud Clarkand financing for the facility. Representatives from the CAC Commons residence were engaged in the process to buildprovided vital testimony for City Council throughout the community and help residents take responsibility for theirprocess, including the Resolution process transferring home. The impact from their participation can be seen in theownership of the block, approving the design of the facility and GNA. When neighbors saw that residents were engaged andeventual development. Again, reiterating the collaborative taking a stake in their combined community, there was a largedecision framework. shift from an “us versus them” to an “us” mantra.5 To effectively enter into a neighborhood agreement, theGood Neighbor Agreement Development Process City paid for a professional facilitator to manage the Once the Bud Clark Commons secured funding and discussions. This allowed representatives from the Portlandbegan to move forward with building the facility, the Portland Housing Bureau, Home Forward and Transitions Project toHousing Bureau initiated a community engagement process to participate as stakeholders, rather than a facilitator.develop a Good Neighbor Agreement. When asked what Representatives of these agencies were largely leadership and6 Home Forward ( Design Workshop Notes, 2008. Allen, Kate. Senior Policy Advisor, Portland Housing Bureau. Interviewed 3.31.12
  14. 14. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 13Board Members. Staff from these agencies served mostly as Good Neighbor Agreement Impactsresources to address questions, rather than participate in the In the end, the Good Neighbor Agreement is simply notSiting Committee. just a paper of signatures. Rather it outlines, in detail, how the As a staff resource present at these GNA negotiations, community, businesses, and Bud Clark residents can mitigateMs. Allen lauded the role of the facilitator. The facilitator was concerns and conflicts moving forward.10 The GNA providescritical in rephrasing comments and concerns into constructive protocols for addressing any safety or disturbance concerns.criticisms and a common platform. This helped mitigate the role Rather than allowing any circumstance to escalate, theof emotions and allowed the stakeholders to effectively and Good Neighbor Agreement encourages any persons with aefficiently address concerns. It created a comfortable, safe concern to call representatives. This helps to address concernsenvironment, free to be critical while remaining respectful of immediately and proactively respond. The GNA also includes aothers.9 In the end, the stakeholders were working towards a detailed call list of stakeholders which, according to Ms. Allen,common goal, rather than complete opposition. has been instrumental in the operations of the facility. This As part of the GNA negotiations, the Portland Housing allows person-to-person connections, rather than simply feelingBureau developed an outreach and communication plan to that a concern may not be addressed.effectively engage as many residents, business owners and other Another aspect of the Good Neighbor Agreement alsostakeholders as possible. It is clear that Portland Housing includes the Operating Rules for Bud Clark CommonsAuthority went beyond generally accepted engagement for this residents. This inclusion into the Agreement allows communityprocess. Rather than simply posting public meetings in legal members to see that BCC residents are also held to a high safetysections of newspapers, PHA compiled a complete PowerPoint standard and they are responsible for maintaining a safe andpresentation that was available on their website, went into the clean neighborhood as well. This helps ensure the weight of thecommunity, and hosted a GNA signature party once the community is equally dispersed among neighborhood residentsnegotiations were complete. This outreach fostered the idea that and businesses, agency partners and Bud Clark Commonsnegotiations were not a one-step process that ended at a one- residents.time meeting. Rather, it was an iterative process that depended In efforts to continue community development with allon the stakeholders to carry-out the GNA once the facility was the stakeholders, neighborhood associations invite residents tobuilt. For a complete list of stakeholders see the Good participate in their quarterly meetings. In addition, serviceNeighborhood Agreement, Appendix B. provider representatives also participate in meetings. As both Ms. Allen and Ms. Stowell reiterated to me, the residents at the Bud Clark Commons are not isolated, but rather part of a9 Allen, Kate. Senior Policy Advisor, Portland Housing Bureau. Interviewed 3.31.1210 Good Neighbor Agreement – Appendix B
  15. 15. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 14community, which can be just as vital to attaining housing balances housing market. Through thoughtful and articulatestability as housing itself. meetings, project partners and community stakeholders were able to site, design and operate a facility to tackle homelessnessConclusion and provide a value-added benefit to the neighborhood. While the Bud Clark Commons Housing Facility What lessons can North Boulder Alliance and Boulderinitially received community push back, through a Housing Partners learn from the Bud Clark Commons? It iscomprehensive community engagement process and evident that community engagement is embedded in the City ofcollaborative decision making, the facility was successfully sited Portland. There were strong expectations that communityin its intended location. While some of the efforts from the members would be integrated into the process. But is that not soproject partners were innovative and transparent, such as the different from the culture in Boulder? Boulder also has a strongCommunity Advisory Committee that was involved from the tradition of transparency and engagement that is oftenbeginning, the City of Portland has historically fostered a correlated to Portland. Moving forward the City of Boulder maytransparent, collaborative process between city government and develop regulated procedures that foster a civil civicresidents. For over thirty years, Portland has officially engagement process. Provide a platform for neighborhoodrecognized neighborhood associations and created policies and associations to be heard, such as a Neighborhood Involvementregulations that regularly involve community members. This Bureau. This not only benefits community members, but it alsoenvironment for collaboration and transparency created a high outlines a process for all developers. Planners and developerslevel of expectations on part of both residents and project can plan for methods to alleviate opposition and conflicts,partners to ensure the Bud Clark Commons met the needs and rather than address more common claims, which is that theconcerns of stakeholders. community wasn’t heard. Boulder Housing Alliance can learn In looking at the Bud Clark Commons process, we can from Old Town Chinatown and adopt a vision plan for thelearn from their community engagement to ensure successful community. The homeless providers are not leaving thehousing services in the City of Boulder. While common neighborhood. The facility is going to be built. It is time to workopposition to the Boulder Housing First facility is that one with the city, engage with the homeless population so they arecommunity is bearing the burden of services for the entire city, also part of the community, and adopt policies for futurethe Old Town Chinatown neighborhood association accepted development so the burden can be address immediately.this role within Portland. In addition, several years prior todeveloping the facility, the City highlighted that the cornerstoneto ending homelessness would be providing services within OldTown Chinatown. Guided by a decades-old Vision Plan that isformally recognized by City Council, OTCT addressed the issuehead-on. Community Advisory Committee members addressedspecific concerns related to business sustainability and a
  16. 16. The Renaissance Denver, CO Dylan Grabowski image:
  17. 17. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 16Abstract Housing First is “a model under which hard-core In 2004 Denver, Colorado adopted a ten-year plan to homeless people were placed in housing and immediatelyend homelessness in order to receive federal fiscal aid, and steered into treatment for mental illness and substance abuse.”1further fund a permanent housing model initiated by Denver A Cost-Benefit Analysis and Program Report created by theHousing First Collaborative (est. 2001). Following the model Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) on December 11,Denver pioneered in the early 2000‘s, multiple Housing First 2006, portrays the positive economic associations attached tofacilities have since been developed using the federal aid. Denver’s Housing First program. The study was conducted overHousing First is a form of permanent housing that removes the a 24-month period, and found that compared to the investmentchronically homeless from living on the streets, regardless of costs of providing temporary or transitional housing andsubstance abuse or mental health issues. This case study will supportive services, there is a net cost savings to tax-payers oflook at the relationship between the developer and $4,745 per homeless person in a Housing First facility.neighborhood communities. It will entail the siting process of Renaissance at Civic Center is Denver’s first Housingthese types of facilities, how the communities were engaged, and First facility. There have since been multiple facilities developedthe success of said relationships and facilities. throughout the immediate metropolitan region. Such facilitiesBackground include Renaissance 88 in Thornton, CO, as well as, Off Denver’s Road Home (DRH) is the result of a Broadway Lofts and Renaissance Uptown in Denver, CO. Thecollaborative effort to stop and prevent homelessness, as well as Housing First model has been successful for Denver, and hasthe author of the goals set in Denver’s Ten Year Plan to End decreased the amount of money taxpayers spend on socialHomelessness. A few of the eight goals in the ten year plan services used by the chronically homeless. Post-entry into theinclude 1.) providing permanent and transitional housing, 2.) Housing First program, rates in detox, incarceration, emergencyproviding better services, and 3.) enhancing community room visits, inpatient, and shelter costs have all decreased forawareness and coordinated response. (Ten Year Plan to End the formerly homeless residents.Homelessness, 2006) Since 2005, DRH has provided nearly2,000 units of housing, prevented 5,500 individuals from Discussionbecoming homeless, and placed 5,200 individuals in part or full- Denver’s first Housing First facility, Renaissance Civictime jobs. (Denver’s Road Home Funder Collaborative, 2011) Center, is located on the eastern periphery of Denver’s centralHousing First is one of the initiatives that was detailed within business district. Surrounding the neighborhood is an array ofthe ten year plan and provides permanent housing solutions. office buildings and parking lots, which made this siting process unique. With a small amount of neighbors to oppose its1Denver Commission to End Homelessness. (2006) Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness: A Report to the Citizens of Denver. Denver, CO: Author. Retrieved from “”
  18. 18. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 17siting,there was little need for community engagement. to other services is available. The largest factor in siting a facilityColorado Coalition for the Homeless purchased the building is access to health and mental services, public transportation,from the YMCA in 2001 with minimal opposition as the 167 jobs, and retail. Renaissance Uptown’s location is ideal due to itsunits were facing the risk of loss.2 Today, it is a 216 unit proximity to the Stout Street Clinic, which is CCH’s most visitedresidence that shares the first floor with the YMCA, where homeless clinic service.summer camps are held seasonally. An effort to gather The role of urban planners in the siting was minimal.information about the siting process from the director of the City Councilwoman Jeanne Robb of District 6 noted in a16th Street Housing First program, James Ginsburg, was stunted Capitol Hill Newsletter that “MS-3 zoning is in place for the site,as he was unable to be reached. Typically, Housing First facilities it is unlikely that City Council will be called to take any actionare not sited in areas with business and parking lots as the on the project. Only design review by the Planning Departmentpredominant neighbors. Thus, there was no ‘community benefit’ should be necessary.”4or ‘good neighbor’ agreement found on record. The next casewill demonstrate how dynamics change when a facility is sited The Developer and Property Acquisitionin an established neighborhood. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is a non-profit organization established in 1984, their aim is to end and preventCase: The Renaissance Uptown homelessness. When purchasing sites for permanent housing, The siting process for Renaissance Uptown began in CCH will use zoning rights that allow for dense, mixed-useJune of 2008 with the first community meeting led by the living situations. The properties are acquired upfront prior toColorado Coalition for the Homeless. In January of 2011 the gaining approval from the neighborhood. Economically, this isdoors for this LEED certified facility, located on Colfax Ave. and the best method for purchasing land. If an entity in thePearl St., were opened to new residents. It’s a 98-unit residential neighborhood discovers details of the purchase, a second buyerfacility, with commercial/retail space on the first floor that may potentially be offered who would be willing to purchase theprovides job training for residents.3 site for more money. After the land has been purchased, the A location for permanent housing is chosen based on developer creates blueprints and plans for the building andthe needs of the population being addressed. The chronically presents the information in tangible displays to the community.5homeless will likely be placed in an urban setting, where access Once the community has been informed to CCH’s plans for a2What We Do: Renaissance at Civic Center Apartments. (n.d.). Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Retrieved from “, Vanessa. “CCH details ‘Renaissance Uptown Lofts’.” Life on Capitol Hill [Denver] n.d. 2. Web. <>4Martin, Vanessa. “CCH details ‘Renaissance Uptown Lofts’.” Life on Capitol Hill [Denver] n.d. 2. Web. <>5 Windsor Interview, 2012
  19. 19. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 18development, the developer asks for an invitation to activity.”6 In the instance of the Renaissance Uptown, the Colfaxneighborhood and community organizations monthly meetings. BID held no objection to the development proposal and noThe Neighborhood Association: Capitol Hill United businesses vociferously objected the facility. Attempts made toNeighborhoods (CHUN). interview the executive director of CBID were met with no CHUN is a neighborhood association that has been success.representing Capitol Hill and its residents for over 31 years. As a The main opponents of a Housing First facility willregistered neighborhood association, they act democratically to usually be the neighbors or neighborhood associations in closeinvolve all who care and will participate to improve the quality proximity to the permanent housing facility. While Rogerof life in greater Capitol Hill. Acting as a neighborhood Armstrong stated, “CHUN’s mission is to support diverseadvocate, CHUN will represent its resident’s ideas to City housing opportunities,”7 neighbors and CouncilwomanCouncil, State Legislature, and administrative agencies. The Madison were concerned about the concentration of the 1,000group is important to mention because they were a key already existing low-income units within a quarter-mile radiusstakeholder in the development of the Renaissance Uptown. The of the site.8 Other concerns involved the physical aspect of theneighborhood associations Executive Director is Roger new facility, such as building design, proper zoning, retailArmstrong. spaces, parking spaces, and number of units. A key issue for the neighborhood regarding development was the building’s façade,Engaging the Community as it was labeled a historic site by CHUN‘s Historic Preservation Community engagement is an important aspect in siting Committee.9 The best way to address fears community membersa facility, and should be done early in the process for optimal may have about negative externalities associated with a Housingresults. Typically supporters of permanent housing facilities First facility in their neighborhood is to take them on a tour ofwithin communities are the businesses and business an already existing facility.organizations. In an interview Bill Windsor, Housing Director Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ Housing Direct,for CCH, made the statement, “good partners who usually Bill Windsor, uses the Renaissance at Civic Center facility as thesupport permanent housing facilities are businesses… [they] primary example for community members who may expressrealize that development of [Housing First] facilities brings concern for having such a facility located in the vicinity. Thecommercial activity to the area, and enhances economic Coalition will provide uneasy community members tours of this6 Windsor Interview, 20127 Armstrong Interview, 20128Martin, Vanessa. “CCH details ‘Renaissance Uptown Lofts’.” Life on Capitol Hill [Denver] n.d. 2. Web. <>9Martin, Vanessa. “CCH details ‘Renaissance Uptown Lofts’.” Life on Capitol Hill [Denver] n.d. 2. Web. <>
  20. 20. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 19facility, as well as, introduce them to neighbors of the existing the retail space were a 7/11, and Pizza Fusion, a pizzeria. Pizzafacility to quell fears. Windsor was pleased to highlight the fact Fusion is owned by a subsidiary of CCH, and is a place Housingthat the YMCA serves as a children’s camp during the summer, First residents are able to receive job training. Third, anand that no child has ever been harmed by the residents living Advisory Panel was created for on-going communicationabove.10 between the developer and neighborhood. “After meeting with To address the variety of concerns held by neighbors, local associations during the development phase, CCH will offerthe Colorado Coalition for Homeless held a community an invitation to join an advisory group. The advisory group is ameeting June 24, 2008 regarding the development of collaboration of community members, neighborhoodRenaissance Uptown. Parties at the table included City associations, and the developer that meets regularly after theCouncilwomen Jeanne Robb and Carla Madison, CHUN, The Housing First facility is developed and is fully functioning.”11Unsinkables (an anti-crime community group in Capitol Hill), Armstrong thought the developer had properlyand CCH. The meeting served as an opportunity for all parties addressed the neighborhood and community in development ofto provide input into the buildings development. Renaissance Uptown. During the siting process, “CHUN worked with developers and the community, to bring bothOutcome together what the developer wanted to do and address the The outcome of the community meeting held in 2008 neighborhood’s concerns.”12 The community did not oppose thelead to a good neighbor agreement held between the developer project. In fact, John Parvensky, Executive Director of CCHand the neighborhood. The agreement was constructed by CCH received a “Homelessness and Affordable Housing Goodand addresses the community’s specific concerns regarding Neighbor Award” from CHUN in January of 2011. ArmstrongRenaissance Uptown. was quoted, “You and your organization have been pioneers in First, concerns of the historic façade were addressed by creating affordable housing and services to the homeless thatthe architect, Humphries Poli Architects. The firm constructed a sensitively integrate into and compliment the communities theybuilding model that replicated and would still maintain the are located in.”131923 façade. Second, requirements were made for the additionof retail spaces on the first floor. CCH relayed the task of Construction of Good Neighbor Agreementsparking spaces and type of business to those who bought their For construction of a good neighbor agreement theway into the units. Major commercial activity that bought into developer and community representatives (neighborhood10 Windsor Interview, 201211 Windsor Interview, 201212 Armstrong Interview, 2012 Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN) Honors Colorado Coalition for the Homeless During Annual Awards Dinner. (2011, January 6). Colorado Coalition for the13Homeless. Retrieved from “”
  21. 21. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 20association) need to engage in a discussion, reciprocating equal which is a signal that any neighborhood input isand respectful communication. DenverINC is a neighborhood irrelevant. Neighbors generally oppose any projects thatassociation comprised of over 100 neighborhoods whose they perceive are “sneaking in,” even if no contact ismission is “to advocate for Denver citizens by bringing together, legally required. Early contact disarms muchinfor ming and emp ower ing D enver neig hb orho o d opposition.organizations to actively engage in addressing City issues.”14 2. Honest communication. Misleading statements orMichael Henry, Chair on the Zoning and Planning Committee partial truths poison relationships with neighbors.of DenverINC, urged enhancing developer and neighborhood 3. Thoughtful explanation of the need for such aassociation’s relations through a good neighbor agreement. development in this neighborhood, the type of persons“Good Neighbor Agreements are instruments that provide a targeted to be served and the general size of thevehicle for community organizations and a [developer] to developmentrecognize and formalize their roles within a locality. The 4. Recognition that some neighborhoods rightfully believepurpose of these agreements is to foster sustainable that they are over-saturated with housing for specialdevelopment in a community by reconciling economic populations, coupled with a genuine effort to locate indevelopment with the communitys welfare, including the health areas that are not over-saturated.of its environment and its individual members.”15 Henry told a 5. Continuing contact with immediate neighbors andstory of a siting process gone awry in a siting of a Five Points neighborhood groups as plans and constructionneighborhood permanent housing facility. The developer didn’t progress. If plans change, that should be discussed withinitially engage the community and used an authoritative tone neighbors.when discussing the plans for the facility’s development. The 6. Genuine attempt to work with entire community andrelationship was later salvaged after six to eight months of not try to pit one community group against another.battling by entering into a good neighbor agreement. Outlined 7. Willingness to enter into a written “good neighborbelow are Henry’s steps to success for good neighbor relations a g re e m e nt” w it h i m m e d i at e n e i g hb or s an din affordable housing communities: neighborhood groups. The most frequent and legitimate 1. Early contact with immediate neighbors and adjacent subjects of such an agreement are: neighborhood organizations. Usually a city or county a) description and/or drawings of the form and planning department will be able to identify key contact architecture of the building. Obviously, neighbors persons for neighborhood groups. The first contact want a development that is attractive and that should be well before the design plans are finalized. generally fits into the context of the neighborhood. Neighbors are resentful if developers unveil final plans,14 INC Mission Statement. (n.d.). DenverINC. Retrieved from “”15 Lewis, Sanford, and Diane Henkels. 1996. Good neighbor agreements: A tool for environmental and social justice. Social Justice 23 (4): 134-51.
  22. 22. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 21 b) description of the income-level and/or type of in the development process very early on. The developer was individuals to be ser ved. (Note that most open to hearing their insights into physical design and neighborhoods much prefer mixed-income persons operations of the facility. This process allowed residents to or families) accept the facility, as they were given the amount of engagement c) description of how residents will be selected and/or necessary to locate permanent housing their community. To screened address the fears a community may have in regards to this type d) description of how the property will be maintained, of development, provide tours of existing facilities and arrange landscaped, etc meetings with that facility’s neighbors to better understand e) description of level of staffing for the project. some fears may be unfounded. These scheduled visits will Generally, neighbors prefer at least one resident provide opportunity to show worried residents that Housing manager or staff at all times. First facilities, indeed, are not going to degrade the f) description of how security will be maintained neighborhood. g) description of what controls will be in place to Opportunities for open discussion must be available as remove a dangerous or disruptive tenant – such as a exhibited in the Renaissance Uptown case, via community no-crime lease agreement meetings and the induction of an advisory panel. Another h) agreement to meet every few months after the important factor for communities facing a new permanent opening to discuss any possible issues – possibly housing facility is the perception of social enhancement. This through a designated neighborhood advisory group idea is illustrated when residents are able to understand, “[a] i) communication to neighbors of contact information benefit to the community is that these permanent housing for the manager in case issues arise facilities are addressing the roots of homelessness. By providing 8. Open house for neighbors soon after the facility opens a place for people to live, there will be fewer homeless folks 9. Participation by the manager and residents in sleeping in the neighborhoods, alleys, and in front of businesses. neighborhood association meetings and activities. Also, by providing help for the homeless, fewer tax payer dollars will be spent on police, court costs, jail, mental health services,Conclusion and negative externalities associated with homelessness.”16 If a CCH, the developer, engaged the community after the community is heard, and in return are able to understand suchsite had been purchased and had developed a plan for a housing facilities can be a win-win situation, they will be moreHousing First facility. The community was introduced to the likely to work alongside the developer.development plans during a community meeting, and wasprovided the opportunity to express their thoughts. Successcame from the fact that residents of Capitol Hill were engaged16 Windsor Interview, 2012
  23. 23. Emerson NorthMinneapolis, MN Annalisa McDaniel image:
  24. 24. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 23Introduction within the state, are creatively seeking solutions to end The following report provides an account of a recent site homelessness in their jurisdictions. Hennepin County islocation dispute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The report following the Housing First strategy provide safe homes forprovides examples of strategies that have eased local opposition chronically homeless individuals and families. In Minneapolis,to a proposed multifamily development that includes Housing Housing First units are located in developments that include aFirst units. This paper analyzes the actions of the Plymouth combination of supportive housing, workforce or market rateChurch Neighborhood Foundation (PCNF), a nonprofit units.developer, and the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council Unlike other areas throughout the country, neither(NRRC), the Near North/Willard-Hay neighborhood Hennepin County nor Minneapolis Housing Authorityorganization, during the beginning phases of the Emerson constructs Housing First facilities. The County partners withNorth multifamily development. PCNF has proactively engaged housing service providers, community landlords, business, faiththe community from the beginning, and as a result the and advocacy leaders to provide housing first units fordeveloper has received community support for their project individuals and families .3despite initial pushback from some community members. Under Minnesotas Group Residential Housing (GRH) Statute, the State subsidizes, or often times fully covers, rentDiscussion payments for chronically homeless individuals. Individuals In 2006 the state of Minnesota, along with over 300 qualify for support due to metal health issues, disabilities,states, cities, and counties throughout the Nation, created a ten- addiction, Native American heritage, or are single women withyear plan to end homelessness.1 Heading Home Hennepin is a children. Many nonprofit and religious organizations thatcomponent of the statewide plan that is specifically focused on provide housing for the homeless and develop Housing FirstHennepin County and Minneapolis, its largest city. Housing facilities receive their tenants monthly rent payments directlyFirst is a cornerstone of the ten-year plan. Prevention, outreach, from the State of Minnesota.service delivery improvement, self-support capacity building, Construction of new housing units is absolutely essentialand systems improvements are additional strategies to address because the state is actively trying to address homelessness andhomelessness emphasized in the plan.2 move homeless individuals and families in to safe, clean, and The ambitious plan puts Hennepin County at the well-kept housing. Despite the demand, affordable/workforceforefront of the movement to end homelessness. The State of housing facilities, homeless shelters, and Housing First facilitiesMinnesota, as well as the counties and local municipalities1Hennepin County and City of Minneapolis Commission to End Homelessness. (2006). Heading Home Hennepin: The Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Minneapolis andHennepin County.2Hennepin County and City of Minneapolis Commission to End Homelessness. (2006). Heading Home Hennepin: The Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Minneapolis andHennepin County.3 Hennepin County. (2012). Hennepin County Fact Sheet, Housing First Partnership.
  25. 25. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 24are invariably magnets for controversy and are often difficult to tornado. The site is surrounded by residential land uses and issite. located a block from West Broadway Avenue, a major On May 22, 2011 a tornado damaged 500 units of commercial corridor.affordable housing stock in the North Minneapolis The development is located in the Near Northneighborhood. The damaged housing units were predominantly Minneapolis neighborhood, which is racially and ethnicallyolder, inefficient duplex and multiunit houses. The Emerson diverse. Near North Minneapolis has traditionally been aNorth development was proposed in June 2011 as a direct working class neighborhood. Residents have a lower averageresponse to the loss of affordable housing units in the household income than the City of Minneapolis as a whole.neighborhood. Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation The residents of the Old Highland neighborhood directlyowns a parcel of land at 1800-1826 Emerson Avenue North in surrounding the Emerson North development site are morethe neighborhood damaged by the tornado. An old grocery affluent compared to the larger neighborhood and arestore is currently located on the project site and houses an predominantly white. Homeowners in Old Highland haveoperating day center for homeless families. invested significantly in renovating their large Victorian homes. Emerson North was initially proposed as a 48-unit The residents are well organized and many are active in theapartment complex, the number of units has since been reduced Democratic Party.6 Democratic U.S. Congressman Keith Ellisonto 41. Twelve units are reserved for formerly homeless families is a resident of the neighborhood and a supporter of the project.and preference will be given to families affected by the tornado.4 PCNFs Community Engagement StrategyIn Minneapolis, approval for supportive housing requires only a Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation is aconditional use permit. Supportive housing is a use by right in nonprofit faith based housing developer. Through its work,the majority of residential and commercial districts including PCNF has gained the support of many congregations in thethe area where Emerson North is proposed.5 The parcels are Twin Cities area. Because PCNF is well connected withcurrently zoned for moderate density housing and the day churches, the first stages of community outreach began withcenter is therefore a nonconforming use. (A nonconforming use Near North neighborhood congregations. After initial outreachis a use that is not allowed by right and requires a zoning was conducted, six churches came together to create a task-forcevariance or a special use permit to operate.) dedicated to moving the Emerson North project forward. The PCNF viewed their property as an ideal location for a participating congregations were multi-racial and multi-faithdevelopment that combined the existing day center, permanent and included a Catholic Church, an African American Mosque,housing units for formerly homeless families using the day an African American Pentecostal Church, a Missionary Baptistcenter, and workforce housing to help those affect by the Church, and a Presbyterian Church. PCNF made an effort to4 PCNF. (2012). Emerson North. Retrieved April 1, 2012, from Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation: Smoley, J. (2012, April 13). City Planner, City of Minneapolis. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer)6 Israel, I. (2012, April 17). Interim Director, Northside Residents Redevelopment Council. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer)
  26. 26. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 25gain the support of congregations that reflected the diversity of services and Emerson North would further burden thethe neighborhood. Later in the process, local church leaders neighborhood. The addition of over 200 new tenants was alsohelped encourage greater community participation. Church concerning to existing residents of the neighborhood, theyleaders were able to convey to their congregations the viewed the development as too large.9importance of attending community meetings in support of After receiving opposition from the nearest residentsEmerson North. and support from the overall neighborhood, the NRRC Board P C N F appro a c h e d t h e Nor t hs i d e R e s i d e nt s decided to neither support nor oppose the development. TheRedevelopment Council in August 2011 and asked the group to Board took a neutral stance with the caveat that they wouldsubmit a letter of support for Emerson North to the City of support the project if PCNF would enter into a legally bindingMinneapolis. A letter of support was needed to receive grants Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). As PCNF is committedfrom the City and Low Income Housing Tax Credits allocated to constructing housing to help end homelessness, theby Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. NRRC arranged a developer agreed to negotiate with NRRC in order to gain thecommunity meeting in September 2011 to assess support for the neighborhood organizations support.project. Residents of the Old Highland neighborhood voted 44 According to Allison Johnson, Congregationalto 11 in opposition to the project.7 According to Ishmael Partnership Organizer with PCNF, a subcommittee was formedIsrael, the Interim Director of NRRC, the residents nearest to to negotiate the CBA. The subcommittee held over ten meetingsthe project were the least supportive and the most organized. and dedicated hundreds of hours to the negotiation process.10Residents of the larger neighborhood voted 85 to 20 in support The CBA was negotiated with the help of a third party, theof the development.8 Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. The Alliance for The vocal minority skewed the broader neighborhoods Metropolitan Stability promotes local participation inposition on the project. The opposition group suggested that development and helps communities link development withnew owner-occupied units should be developed instead of localizes benefits.11 The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability hasrental units. Many residents of Old Highland believed that their advised other nonprofit groups, and a facilitator from theneighborhood was home to more than their fair share of social7Northside Residents Redevelopment Council. (2011, October 3). September Board Meeting Minutes (unofficial). Retrieved April 13, 2011, from Northside ResidentsRedevelopment Council website: meeting-minutes-unofficial/8Northside Residents Redevelopment Council. (2011, October 3). September Board Meeting Minutes (unofficial). Retrieved April 13, 2011, from Northside ResidentsRedevelopment Council website: meeting-minutes-unofficial/9Northside Residents Redevelopment Council. (2011, October 3). September Board Meeting Minutes (unofficial). Retrieved April 13, 2011, from Northside ResidentsRedevelopment Council website: meeting-minutes-unofficial/10 Johnson, A. (2012, April 18). Congregational Partnership Organizer, Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer) Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. (2008, October 10). Community Benefit Agreements. Retrieved April 18, 2012, from Alliance for Metropolitan Stability11website:
  27. 27. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 26organization guided NRRC and PCNF through the CBA In the end, the board members vote in support of Emersonnegotiation process. North was needed for NRRC to accept the CBA. The developers willingness to negotiate a CBA has been A draft of the Community Benefits Agreement wasthe key factor in garnering neighborhood support for the accepted by the NRRC Board at a meeting that took place onproject. A draft of the Community Benefits Agreement is April 16, 2012. Approximately 100 people attended the meeting,attached in the Appendix. Several items were negotiated during and the majority of attendants supported the development.13the process. The number of units was reduced from 48 to 41 to Minneapolis Ward 6 City Councilman Robert Lilligrenbetter integrate with the neighborhoods exiting character. is an important stakeholder that was absent during theMinority and women owned business requirements for negotiation process. U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison was a vocalconstruction and operation of Emerson North were increased. supporter of Emerson North, but the NRRC felt it needed the The CBA contains more than developer concessions, support of their councilperson as well. Alliance HousingNRRC has a responsibility to maintain engagement with the Incorporated Director Herb Frey stated outright in an interviewdeveloper and identify potential tenants that were displaced by that a councilpersons support can make or break a project.14the tornado. A lasting affect of the CBA is the creation of an Cultivating support in City Council is critical for the success ofAdvisory Group to include representation from NRRC, a both nonprofit housing developers and neighborhoodneighbor at large, a PCNF staff person, the property manager, associations.and a tenant. Maintaining a relationship between all parties iscritical to the projects long-term success and acceptance. The ConclusionAdvisory Group is required to meet at least once a year for PCNFs approach to community engagement is whatthirty years. helped them gain neighborhood support for their project. The process of negotiating the CBA helped change the Engaging with a diverse group of stakeholders was a successfulopinion of some community members and NRRC Board strategy for the developer. The support of local religious leadersmembers. One particular board member was initially very helped increase the number of residents that attended publicvocally opposed to the development. Participating in the meetings in support of the project. Continuing the existingnegotiation process and building trust with the developer relationship with local congregations will also help thethrough communication changed this particular individuals developer maintain contact with the neighborhood after thestance from opposed to the project to in favor of the project.12 project is completed.12 Israel, I. (2012, April 17). Interim Director, Northside Residents Redevelopment Council. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer)13 Johnson, A. (2012, April 18). Congregational Partnership Organizer, Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer)14 Frey, H. (2012, April 10). Director, Alliance Housing Incorporated. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer)
  28. 28. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 27 While some developers prefer to fly under the radar and need full community support to move the project through thesite supportive housing and Housing First units in entitlement process. Nevertheless, the developer was willing toneighborhoods with low property values and concentrated dedicate significant resources to the negotiation process. PCNFpoverty, PCNF makes it a priority to place affordable and did not have to reduce the number of units in the building, butsupportive housing units in all neighborhoods.15 This strategy, they did so to appease the public. Meaningful engagementwhich mirrors the City of Minneapolis overall strategy, requires between the developer and the neighborhood organizationPCNF to have a clearly articulated response to objections created a beneficial result for both parties. This will not be aregarding increased concentration of poverty. Congressman one-off success for the community; rather the neighborhoodEllison addressed this concern at a public meeting held about organization is now more empowered to participate in theEmerson North. By supporting housing for the homeless and development process. NRRC is in the process of creatingproviding safe places for homeless families to live, the statewide Community Benefits Agreement Council to aid othercommunity is helping to break the cycle of poverty and nonprofit neighborhood associations in Minnesota. By creatingultimately de-concentrating poverty. When the homeless have a a framework for Community Benefits Agreements, NRRCplace to live, they are taken off the street and have the hopes to empower other community groups and help themopportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. When people are understand that they can play a meaningful role in developmentsafely housed, they are no longer homeless; therefore they do that occurs in their neighborhoods.not increase the concentration of homelessness. This concept should be communicated effectively to thecommunity at the beginning of any siting process, and theimportance of messaging should not be understated. Individualsare not destined to always be poor or homeless, individuals areexperiencing homelessness and poverty. PCNF admitted thismessage was overlooked and undervalued even though theybelieve they tried to explain it to neighborhood residents.16 Themore time that passed, the harder the message was to convey.PCNF had to make a concerted effort to explain this mission tothe community. A final factor that contributed to neighborhoodacceptance of Emerson North was the willingness of thedeveloper to negotiate with the community. PCNF likely did not15 Johnson, A. (2012, April 18). Congregational Partnership Organizer, Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer)16 Johnson, A. (2012, April 18). Congregational Partnership Organizer, Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation. (A. McDaniel, Interviewer)
  29. 29. The Cuyahoga CountyHousing First Initiative Cleveland, OH Evan Carver image:
  30. 30. Case Studies in Siting Housing First | 29Abstract cities and charitable organizations try to deal with the ever- Ralph DePalma poses in front of his modest kitchen, a increasing problem of chronic homelessness. While manyfew photos of family members tacked to the cabinets behind people can agree that their fellow citizens should have shelter, ithim. His close-cropped beard and plain t-shirt betray a modest is much more difficult to agree on how and especially where toself-confidence. During a prior economic downturn, Ralph lost provide this shelter. This paper attempts to shed more light onhis job and then his suburban home, and wound up on the the Housing First Initiative in Cleveland, both its successes andstreets. For three years, Ralph was homeless. But now he lives in failures, and to focus on the process of intelligently choosingthis studio apartment at South Pointe Commons, an 82-unit sites, winning political support, and engaging neighbors. It isbuilding that is part of Cleveland’s Housing First Initiative. hoped that other communities will look to Cleveland, whereHousing First literally “saved my life,” says Ralph. And the successes outnumber failures, and take useful lessons in order toeffects on the neighborhood of this $12.2 million investment are avoid conflict and further their efforts to end chronicvisibly evident everywhere, in the new South Pointe Commons homelessness.complex itself, a combination of rehabilitated townhouses and abrand new building with a café on the ground floor, and in the Discussionsurrounding area where neighbors have improved their own The public housing movement in the United States dateshomes in response.1 to the 1920s and 1930s. Ohio, especially Cleveland, with its A few miles away, in the diverse Ohio City dense population of vulnerable industrial workers, was amongneighborhood, former councilwoman Helen Smith does not like the first places to recognize the need for public housing. Inthe idea of a facility like South Pointe moving in. Ohio City 1933, Cleveland hosted the first national conference on housing,already has its share of homeless services, and it is revitalizing and Ohio state representative Ernest Bohn was named the firston its own, she claims. Other locals point out that homeless President of the National Association of Housing Officials. Thepeople already congregate in Frank Novak Park; bringing more same year, the Cleveland Housing Authority was created, theto the area would only exacerbate the problem.2 first of its kind in the nation.3 Throughout the subsequent This tension – with success stories like South Pointe on decades, the Cleveland remained both a place with seriousone side, and resistance from local residents on the other – has public housing needs as well as test case for new approaches toarisen repeatedly across Cleveland and across the country as address those needs. Many mayors, including notably Carl1Joe Frolik. 22 August 2011. “Permanent supportive housing is more than a place for people to live; it’s a chance to reconnect.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. Accessed online: Frolik. 22 August 2011. “Permanent supportive housing is more than a place for people to live; it’s a chance to reconnect.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. Accessed online: William Donahue Ellis. 1998. The Cuyahoga. Cleveland, Ohio: MSL Academic.