This month the SobelCo nonprofit spotlight shines on the Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey (SHA), a statewide member organization located in South Orange, New Jersey.

Before describing the benefits that SHA delivers to clients and the community, it is essential to understand exactly what the term supportive housing means.

To fully appreciate the advantages that SHA delivers, it is key to realize that the term supportive housing refers to permanent, affordable lease-based housing that allows people with limited income and with special needs such as chronic homelessness, mental health, addiction, physical or developmental disabilities to live independently. Those residing in supportive housing also have access to critical flexible, supportive services such as case management, care coordination, job and education coaching, assistance with daily living skills, transportation assistance, access to public entitlements and crisis intervention.

It is also important to note that there are many types of supportive housing arrangements, ranging from individual and shared apartments to group homes to and occasionally home ownership.

According to SHA’s Executive Director, “Study after study has proven the positive effects of supportive housing.  Not only does it reduce the reliance on other costly public programs such as hospital use, child welfare and criminal justice systems but it increases the physical and mental health of individuals and improves family outcomes.  It has become the most effective method to reduce homelessness while also helping people with long term needs move from institutions to independent living.”

With this in mind, it is easy to see the valuable role that SHA has played in our community for more than 20 years since it first opened its doors in the state.

Because each individual has unique needs, SHA helps all their members, including service providers and nonprofit and for profit developers, work together to create innovative solutions. This means enabling them to help people living with challenges to find a home and a living situation that is right for them. Whether the problem is mental health, addiction, physical, intellectual or other impairments, SHA offers a creative approach in this very complicated arena. The staff is committed to working across silos, seeking commonalities and sharing best practices, collaborating and solving problems together by encouraging the germination of fresh and innovative ideas (rather than working separately) in order to ensure independent living and stable lives for all.

Under the guidance and leadership of Diane Riley, Executive Director, and Tom Toronto as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, the SHA has evolved into a sophisticated organization, enjoying consistent growth and sustainable success. At the same time, the strong leadership team continues to look ahead, preparing and positioning the organization to get to the next level and achieve their vision for the future.  

Like so many other nonprofits they face tough challenges regarding increasing both the staffing and funding necessary to accomplish their mission of making a positive impact and changing lives every day.

As such, they welcome new partners in order to expand their services, competencies, and new technology as they remain at the forefront of the supportive housing movement.

To learn more about SHA, we invite you to visit their website at www.shanj.org