CLPHA Launches Housing Is to Expand Community of Practice in Housing, Education and Health

Date Published: 
February 10th, 2017

Web tool targets idea-sharing and improves cross-sector
collaboration to help low-income families

Washington, DC – The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), a housing advocacy organization and leader in the effort to improve life outcomes for low-income individuals and families, continues its commitment to systems alignment work by unveiling theHousing Is initiative, including a new online resource to help enhance and strengthen its community of practice. Thanks to generous funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, on February 7, CLPHA introduced, an online clearinghouse to support cross-sector collaboration.  
Stable housing provides the foundation for increased success in other areas of life, including education and health. CLPHA has been instrumental in amplifying the call to improve coordination between sectors, creating more opportunities for individuals and families.
“The clearinghouse at will be a place professionals can go to tap into innovative ideas and connect with other forward-thinking practitioners,” said CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman.
Together with housers, researchers, health professionals, educators, policymakers and community leaders, CLPHA and its member housing authorities have been working to create and strengthen cross-sector partnerships, promote best practices, share critical data, host convenings, and improve the policies and practices that directly impact low-income residents and the homeless.  Improving the lives of the most vulnerable is most effective when sectors break down silos and work together.
The Housing Is clearinghouse will be a hub for promoting effective programs and sharing innovative ideas, and it will facilitate coordination between the experts who work within various support systems. The website was designed to support the overall Housing Is initiative by promoting collaboration, expanding partnerships, and serving as a virtual gathering place for a rapidly expanding community of practice.
“HUD is the Department of Opportunity because our work is about more than bricks and mortar,” said former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. “Where people live shapes how they live, from the schools their kids attend, to the jobs they can find, to the health options they can access. Housing Is will be a resource to help more families find opportunity in this 21st century global economy.”
While collaboration among systems that individuals access is vital, partnerships are not always easy to establish. CLPHA’s Housing Isinitiative demonstrates how housers have deep connections to children and families in ways that other systems do not, and how providing collaborative tools for creating and strengthening partnerships can reduce costs and increase effectiveness.
CLPHA and its members have already been working across sectors to improve life outcomes for individuals and families. Among many others, the Vancouver Housing Authority and Vancouver Public Schools collaborated to identify joint goals while working to address challenges for low-income and homeless students. Because of this work, their partnership has reduced costs and improved effectiveness in areas such as chronic absenteeism.
“The more we learn from each other and the more we understand cross-cutting issues, the faster we’ll all reach our goals,” said Leading Age Housing Policy Vice President Linda Couch. “For affordable senior housing, the intersections are seemingly endless – from health to community to preservation to new construction and even broadband availability. Housing Is lets us fill in the blank and identify ways to make housing’s connection to everything else more meaningful to more sectors. This is exactly what we all need.”
The online clearinghouse allows users to access and broadly disseminate research on existing challenges and opportunities, as well as promising and best practices. The site aids professionals in peer-to-peer learning and community data sharing, with space to highlight elements of successful partnerships, case studies on thriving efforts, and on-the-ground examples to scale and replicate.
Users create an individual profile that outlines their professional experience and expertise. Once they’ve established a profile, users can join and create communities based on specific issues, topics or regions, and connect with other experts. Existing members of our community of practice—and those who have yet to join—can share resources, such as reports, articles and research, all within one site that offers collaborative tools.
To learn more about the Housing Is initiative, and to join the community of practice through the online clearinghouse, please and register to create your own profile.
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