CHN Housing Partners helped 28,004 households reduce their housing costs by an average $1,293 in 2013. That’s according to a study conducted as part of its strategic plan.
The plan outlines a comprehensive strategy to help low-income families—and the neighborhoods in which they live—to achieve greater economic success. The plan calls for moving the needle on critical issues, while developing performance measures that track outcomes of the families and neighborhoods we serve.
“We’re moving the needle for families towards greater economic success. Each family has their own challenges and we are creating tools around that fact pattern, using quantitative data to inform our work” said Rob Curry, CHN’s executive director.
To that end, CHN has extended until 2017 its strategic plan outlining the agency’s measureable goals including using the data and outcomes it has collected thus far to make informed changes to its goals, objectives and tactics.
Before the agency developed its strategic plan in 2012, CHN focused on a detailed annual planning process which still continues today. However, as the organization grew larger and expanded its program menu, it became clear that a more comprehensive, holistic view of its long-term goals was essential.
“The strategic plan has changed CHN’s internal culture and the way we do business,” said Kate Monter Durban, assistant director at CHN. “It interrupted program-by-program thinking, and it’s no longer just disparate programs producing a lot of outputs. We’re working together, across programs, to achieve impact.”
Executive director Rob Curry agrees. “It’s no longer just about housing. Housing is a platform from which low-income families can change their trajectory. Quality housing where rents are affordable is a necessary component, but the innovative work goes beyond housing, and it’s where intergenerational poverty is interrupted.” said Curry.
For example, CHN’s work around financial literacy counseling and education is important, but “what does that mean for their lives?” asked Curry. “The outcome – how those students used that information to improve their economic situations – may be the more valuable metric.
CHN will continue to adapt the strategic plan in response to its outcome findings. Its 2013-17 Strategic Plan now includes five primary goals:
- Goal 1 – Affordable Housing Opportunities: CHN will be a partner of choice in addressing affordable housing needs of Cleveland and surrounding areas.
- Goal 2 – Housing Stability for all CHN Clients: Integrated strategies will be in place to help all CHN clients to achieve housing stability.
- Goal 3 – CHN Resident Success: Residents living in CHN housing will achieve improved housing and economic stability.
- Goal 4 – Neighborhood Vitality & Partnerships: CHN will engage in partnerships through which its core strengths and capacity can help address challenges facing our neighborhoods, the City of Cleveland and low-income families of Cuyahoga and surrounding counties.
- Goal 5 – Financial & Organizational Sustainability: CHN will have sustained/improved long-term financial strength and increased capacity to make a significant impact.
“We basically have the same goals, with some minor changes, but our approaches have shifted. We will keep shifting, based on the data we are now collecting” said assistant director Kate Monter Durban. “We’re changing as we learn what’s going to move the needle.”
CHN’s strategic plan was made possible through the support of Deaconess Community Foundation and the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation. CHN will continue its impact measurement through support from Enterprise Community Partners, who is funding deeper quantitative analysis of CHN’s programs. The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.