Quality, affordable housing is a foundational social determinant of health and can serve as a platform to increase access to opportunity and promote the independence and dignity of residents. In order to realize the full benefits of housing as a platform to create healthier and more equitable communities, housing and services must be connected in a way that not only provides resources to residents, but also recognizes and supports the agency of residents and gives them real voice and shared power in shaping the design, culture, and the operations of their community. A systematic and strategic approach to resident services coordination is a critical tool for making such a connection.
In 2016, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) formed a Community of Practice and worked with SAHF members to better understand and define the key capacities, approaches, and structures that have been developed by many leading affordable housing organizations to systematically and thoughtfully frame and implement resident services at their properties. The goal of this work was to identify replicable and scalable approaches to resident services – both at the organizational/corporate level and property levels. Following extensive engagement with SAHF members and other partners in the health, social services, and education fields, SAHF created the Framework for a System of Resident Services Coordination, which was initially published in 2018.
This 2021 Update to the Framework for a System of Resident Services Coordination (Framework) builds off the original tool and highlights the commitments that many in the field are making to re-imagine some of the power structures and decision-making policies that have historically shaped affordable housing development and resident services initiatives. In addition to laying out some of the common elements and recommendations for an effective implementation of a systems-approach to resident services, the Framework now also identifies key strategies and opportunities to implement more resident-centered practices and processes to support greater equity and resident well-being.
This Framework is part of a broader Resident Outcomes Initiative that SAHF launched in 2012 to expand opportunity and promote dignity for all residents living in affordable rental homes by increasing the effectiveness, availability, and financial support for service-enriched housing. This Framework for a System of Resident Services Coordination and SAHF’s Outcomes Measures are tools that can be used together to build more robust resident services infrastructure, to test and evaluate business models, and to leverage data to make programmatic and strategic decisions.