COVENANT HOUSING PROGRAM
Kimberlee Dupcak, Program Director
Covenant Housing Program (CHP) develops and manages affordable special needs housing for low and very low income households and individuals with disabilities. CHP develops housing on an individualized basis providing both rental and homeownership opportunities.
What is the “essence” of our work?
We provide opportunities for self-determination, inclusion and independence through the development of affordable, accessible housing. CHP employs a one-on-one approach to housing development and management. Each of our projects is developed with, and for, a particular household or individual with special needs. The input of the individual or family into the development process is what makes our program unique and is central to its success.
Who do we serve?
CHP serves low and very low income households and individuals with significant, permanent disabilities. Most of the people served by Covenant Housing have physical, developmental and/or mental health related disabilities. All have household incomes that fall below 80% of median – the vast majority have incomes that fall below 50% of area median.
How long has the program been in existence?
CHP has been in existence since 1989. Covenant Housing Corporation was incorporated in 1992.
How many clients have been served by the program?
Covenant Housing serves approximately 130 individuals each year.
How does CHP make a difference in our community?
CHP develops housing throughout Onondaga County on a scattered site basis. The location of the housing is determined by the individual seeking assistance. This process provides opportunities for inclusion (through the development process itself and within the larger context of the neighborhood in which the housing is located). It also increases economic diversity by developing affordable housing in neighborhoods that may traditionally be unaffordable to lower income households.
CHP has also intentionally separated the development and management of affordable housing from the provision of residential services for individuals with disabilities. Too often, individuals with disabilities have faced a lack of choice and opportunity for self-determination with respect to residential services because their service and housing providers were one in the same – choosing to give up one meant losing the other. Separating housing and service provision allows individuals to remain in their homes and part of their communities even if their supportive service needs change. By listening, and responding, to individual housing needs and requirements, CHP is able to develop housing that maximizes a household’s independence and chances for residential stability. In a recent client survey, 87% of households served by CHP reported that they were better able to be more independent as a result of their housing. Since the program’s inception, 82% of households served have achieved residential stability – maintaining their homes on a permanent and continual basis.
How does Covenant Housing Program’s work fulfill the mission of the IRC?
Inclusion and respect for the individual are values which are part of CHP’s mission - and they are central to the development and management model employed by the program. It is this sensitivity to the uniqueness of the individual and the central role of inclusion that most clearly reflect IRC’s mission.