2011 Midyear Update!

Greetings from Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing!

We are wrapping up our contract year and looking forward to celebrating our 5th anniversary this fall! We are grateful that as of July 1, DISH has been able to provide more than 777,000 opportunities for our tenants to close their door, turn down the sheets, hit the lights, and lay down to sleep in their own home after years on the streets. Since our last update, we have been busy! We wanted to share the greatest hits of the last few months to keep our supporters connected with the latest at DISH.

Our tenants: Each year we survey our tenants about our efforts, and this year we heard back from 86% of our tenants who overwhelmingly (92%) responded with overall satisfaction with our services. We are proud of those results and try each year to obtain even higher marks from our customers. In May we hosted our first DISH-wide Tenant Appreciation Party for our 450 residents from our 6 supportive housing sites. We had a great turnout, served a ton of food prepared by our staff, and hosted an “Open Mic” showcasing some incredible talent from our tenant community and staff. It was great to have an opportunity to thank our tenants and to come together as a larger DISH community. The event will now become an annual tradition, and we look forward to making it even better next year. We also welcomed some new tenants on a temporary basis from our friends across the way at Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. As you may have heard, TNDC’s Franciscan Towers property suffered a fire that left the building inoperable. We were delighted to assist by temporarily housing 30 suddenly homeless tenants in less than two days.

Our team: We conducted our first staff satisfaction survey in nearly two years and got some very encouraging news. With 80% of staff participating in the detailed survey, staff report a 96% satisfaction rate! Staff used the anonymous survey to offer some great ideas on how to get even better, too. Our newest additions to the team are our new bosses! We launched the DISH Advisory Board earlier this year and we are honored that Jennifer Jordan, Maryann Leshin, Patrick Murcia, Nancy Ortberg, and Angela Winn have joined the Board. We are grateful for their very welcome advice and energy.

Our buildings: We made great progress this year in upgrading our facilities thanks to the hard work of our staff and the investments of our building owners. The owners of Le Nain modernized its elevator and site staff worked hard to make the upgrade as easy on tenants as possible. Next up is the Windsor’s elevator in tandem with a substantial plumbing upgrade already underway! In addition, we have secured volunteers from a number of corporations such as Charles Schwab and Levi’s thanks to our partnership with Hands On Bay Area. We are making strides in improving the energy efficiency at our sites through the LIHEAP program of the Economic Opportunity Council which has not only provided a cash benefit to our tenants, but also improvements in all of our buildings to increase our energy efficiency.

Our successes: We continue to take pride in the high rates of housing stability and low eviction rates across our sites: 83% of our tenants have remained successfully housed for at least one year and the rate of eviction at our sites is 2%. We also wanted to share with you some feedback we recently received from our friend and colleague, Dr. Pam Swedlow, Director of Behavioral Medicine at the Housing and Urban Health (HUH) Clinic sandwiched here on Eddy Street between our mighty Windsor Hotel and the DISH Central Office. Earlier this year, a tenant at one of our sites was really struggling to the point that Mobile Crisis and SFPD needed to be engaged. Pam relayed this story to us: “When the Mobile Crisis doctor, on his FIRST visit to this site, said to the General Manager and me that he would be back again ASAP to find the client if we called because he knew that if a client couldn’t make it with all the fine care at the Empress, the hospital was the only place to be, well, I knew that HUH/Direct Access to Housing have really come to be recognized for their important contributions to the systems of care.” We are grateful to be achieving successes with our tenants and service partners at the Department of Public Health at such a standard that it is causing members of the mental healthcare community to take note!

Our funding: We had a wild ride in the City budget process this year, but we were fortunate to successfully advocate for our funding to remain intact for the upcoming fiscal year. Given that we would like to do more with our sites than our contract with DPH provides for, we have also been looking to diversify our funding sources this year. So far, we secured financial support from the Yahoo! Employee Foundation and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, allowing us to continue to improve our services and have a greater impact in the community. We are also hopeful of increasing our donations from individuals and corporations in preparation for our holiday festivities this winter. Stay tuned for an invitation to our 5-year Anniversary Bash in September. It will be a party you don’t want to miss!

While we are incredibly grateful for our successes and the support we receive from the Department of Public Health and our fiscal sponsor the Tides Center, we need you so we can do more! We hope that we can count on your continued support to be part of our efforts to end homelessness one night at a time. If you are interested in supporting DISH please visit our website or contact us at 415.776.3474. On our website you will find a link to donate  as well as information about how you can get involved with our communities.

Thanks for your support for working to end homelessness in San Francisco!

Published on July 20, 2011