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May 9, 2017

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Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) was founded on the idea of giving the most needy men and women on the streets a home and surrounding them with the care they need. A national organization with headquarters in New York City and three offices in California — including San Diego — its mission is to advance housing solutions that deliver three powerful outcomes: 1) improved lives for the most vulnerable people 2) maximized public resources and 3) strong, healthy communities across the country.

CSH impactTo date, CSH has made over $500 million in loans and grants, which — along with advocacy efforts — have created access to 200,000 homes for those who need housing and important services to achieve stability and transform their lives.

CSH partners with SDWP on a county-wide strategic plan called the Work Well Initiative to increase employment for those with lived experience of mental illness. The plan is the result of the Supported Employment Initiative for the Adult and Older Adult System of Care initiated by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s Behavioral Health Services Division in 2013.

Supported employment — or known officially as Individual Placement and Support (IPS) — engages clients in community health settings to become a part of the competitive job market, which has been shown to be nearly three times more effective than other vocational approaches, when getting people with mental illness back to work is the goal. The model focuses on individual preferences and strengths, and long-lasting personalized support services.

Thanks to the plan and the IPS model, the County of San Diego now employs an additional 10 full-time employment specialists at its mental health clinics. Of those seeking behavioral health services in the county, there has been a one-percent increase in employment each year the plan has been in place.

“We are really proud of taking a concept and turning it into real action,” says CSH Senior Program Manager Tom Stubberud. “It would be great to get more businesses on board with hiring people with lived experience.”

“CSH has been a pivotal partner on the Supported Employment / Work Well Initiative,” says SDWP Program Specialist Mario Becerra. “Not only are they experts in housing solutions, which is the foundation to stability; they are also thought changers who bring community partners together to reduce stigma about mental illness and promote wellness and recovery.”

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