How to Jumpstart an Interim Supportive Housing Community

For cities looking to address the issue of homelessness, Interim Supportive Housing Communities can be a crucial step toward permanent housing for vulnerable individuals and families.

There are three important questions to consider when first looking to build interim supportive housing:

1. Do you have land available?

2. Do you have funding sources?

3. Do you have support from the city and local constituents?

By addressing these questions early, cities can greatly improve outcomes, reduce implementation time, and help ensure community support.

In this post, we look at the steps required to initiate an Interim Housing Community, focusing first on the elements needed to jumpstart the process.  

Do You Have Land Available?

Finding the right spot for the community is paramount. Here are some areas to consider when looking for the best location to begin development.

  1. Look for Available Land and Flexible Locations: Identify suitable locations or existing facilities where temporary housing can be established. This could include vacant spaces, community parking lots, or unused land. Locations that are already zoned for future builds are great places to build temporary housing. It is a win-win in that there is an immediate use for undeveloped property, and there is a strategic exit strategy for when the community will transition to other uses.

  2. Choose Housing Options that Work for Your Time Frame: For example, BOSS Cubez housing solutions can be temporary or permanent. Temporary Cubez that meet California Building Code Appendix P for temporary emergency housing can be set up on any lot for a short period of time (i.e. several years) and then moved to another location. Permanent Cubez can be built for the long term as they are designed to meet California Building Codes. 

  3. Review Zoning and Regulations: Ensure that the chosen location complies with local zoning regulations and land-use policies. In some cases, cities may need to amend zoning laws to allow for temporary housing in specific areas.

Do you Have Funding Sources?

Funding is the second key component of building a temporary community, one that requires planning and collaboration.

  1. Find Funding Resources: Identify funding sources to cover the costs of setting up and maintaining temporary housing. This may include government grants, private donations, and collaboration with philanthropic organizations. Other options include local banks that may have funding available for communities as well as a local community fundraising office.

  2. Consider Funding Partnerships: Partnering with nonprofit service providers and/or other cities is one way to share resources and bring in the necessary funds to build and support the community. In addition, there are many local nonprofits focused on housing and aiding the homeless, focusing on their local communities.

  3. Think about Strategies and Permanent Housing Solutions: Plan for the transition of individuals from temporary housing to more permanent solutions. Work on developing affordable housing options and supportive services to facilitate this transition.

      Do you have City and Local Support?

      Finally, make sure you have engaged with all the important stakeholders in the project by reaching out to them for input, support, and approval. 

      1. Communicate with City Councils and Mayors: Every city is concerned with homelessness, and council members and mayors are the key people who can get behind the initiatives. They can often be the driving force behind final approvals on the project and are very important to engage early and often.

      2. Engage with the Community: Communicate openly with the community about the temporary housing initiative. Try to address concerns, clear up misconceptions, and involve residents in the decision-making process. 

      3. Provide Education and Awareness Campaigns: Conduct education and awareness campaigns to inform the public about the purpose and benefits of temporary housing. Dispelling myths and fostering understanding within the community are important steps.

      Once you have land and funding, and have initiated community support, you are well on the way to getting the go-ahead for the project. The next important step will be developing the infrastructure for the houses and community structures as well as the supportive services provided. We will cover these in the next post.

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