Increasingly, housing providers, impact investors, capital partners, service providers, and policymakers recognize that by pairing affordable homes with resident services, we can support residents in improving a wide range of outcomes from housing stability to income, employment, education, and health. Shared language and improved practices can help housing providers and their partners identify what works and build partnerships, policies, and investments to scale it.
With the support of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, SAHF has created a new toolkit bringing together over a decade of work around resident outcomes provide guidance to affordable housing owners, operators, funders, and partners on approaches to services that are outcomes-driven, equitable, and resident-centered. This toolkit may be particularly useful to housing and services providers seeking to scale or refine their services programs, housing providers seeking to add or better integrate outcomes measurement with services, or funders of housing and services.
Measuring the impact of programs and services is an integral component of an effective resident services program, from data collection and analysis to incorporating resident feedback. However, data collection does not exist in a vacuum, but rather is strengthened when layered within an equitable, resident-centered approach to service-enriched housing. In this process, it is essential to locate evaluation work within a “resident-centered” system of resident services, as described by our Framework for Resident Services, which outlines how residents can engage with and inform each step of the resident services process.
The toolkit is informed by and rooted in SAHF’s deep practice in this area with its members and partners, including lenders, investors and health care actors. Over the past two decades, SAHF members and other affordable housing providers have worked to better integrate, systematize, and evaluate the impact of their resident services programs. With support from the Kresge Foundation, SAHF launched the Outcomes Initiative in 2012 with a vision of increasing the effectiveness, availability, and financial support of service-enriched housing. Through iterative conversations with SAHF members and external partners, the Outcomes Initiative led to the development of two complimentary frameworks for establishing a common approach for systematically implementing and evaluating service-enriched affordable housing: (1) Our Framework and Guidelines for a System of Resident Services Coordination and (2) Our Resident Outcomes Initiative. This Toolkit is a synthesis of these two frameworks.