On March 5th, Community Housing Network, Inc. celebrated its' fourth anniversary as a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the housing needs of persons with disabilities in Oakland County. We have much to celebrate and much for which to be thankful. We are especially grateful for our ongoing collaboration with the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority. We could not have accomplished as much as we have without their guidance and assistance. Real progress has been made in speaking to the needs of those without a place to call home. The first contract with OCCMHA was the foundation necessary to begin to turn visions into reality.
CHN initially began to manage 200 group homes. Maintenance issues and interactions with home owners were key. We recognized that group homes should truly be homes, with staff and residents living as a family. And we knew that each home's environment had a significant impact upon that goal.
We also created the Housing Resource Center, which provides information, referrals and technical support to persons with disabilities, their family members and their professional supports. The CHN website also provides information and links about various housing and disability related topics. The site now receives approximately 14,500 hits each month. CHN also began to create a more diverse array of housing options by generating and managing various assets. We began to address the issue of runaway rents and lost equity. To date, CHN has purchased sixteen group homes and one condominium to contain leasing rates within a growing market.
In 2002, CHN was awarded a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis to provide homeownership opportunities to twelve low-income, first time homebuyers with special needs in Oakland County. The dream of homeownership has since become a reality for eight hardworking families and four more are in the process of achieving that goal.
Over time, CHN has been awarded four HUD Supportive Housing Leasing Assistance grants that provide rental assistance and supportive services to homeless individuals or families with disabilities. The LAP programs are helping people leave a life of homelessness to reside in the safety and comfort of their own apartments. Each family pays a portion of the rent based on their income and CHN pays the difference. Supportive services are provided in collaboration with core service providers. The Independent Living Club was developed to provide an ongoing program of education, self-help and mutual support for CHN renters and homeowners.
Community Housing Network has also taken a lead role in implementing the Homeless Management Information System in Oakland County. The HMIS is a federally mandated system that will provide an unduplicated count of homeless individuals.
It is impossible to share highlights of our first four years without recognizing the many ways in which individuals and organizations have supported our cause. There are many incredible people who have touched our lives. CHN has gratefully received proceeds from the HOMES Coalitions' Annual Dinner and Auction, and contributions made through the Friends & Family Program, the Charitable Gift Annuity Program, and the Adopt-a-Family project. We offer many thanks to all of you who have supported our mission and our efforts. The CHN staff and board look forward to creating even greater affordable housing choices and opportunities for persons with disabilities in the years to come. – less–ZoomInfo