Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing (DISH)

Fall-Winter 2017
Project Type
Fast track
Project Focus
Expansion or Replication,
Organizational Development
Organization Type
Human Services


Founded in 2006 by Doug Gary and Lauren Hall, Delivering Innovation in Support of Housing SF (DISH) provides property management and community building for individual adults who have experienced long term homelessness, and other trauma and illness, in San Francisco. It currently serves five hundred tenants in seven facilities and has seventy employees. DISH is the largest fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Foundation, which provides administrative services (including HR, accounting, and legal). DISH’s $7M annual budget is funded in part by tenant rent but primarily by the city of San Francisco under contracts.


How can DISH best manage the growth from the addition of a new housing facility?


According to the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), a national leader in the field, effective property management is not the norm, and DISH has become a model for this work nationally. DISH creates and delivers training curriculum on housing operations, eviction prevention, the partnership between support services and property management, harm reduction, leadership and supervision, customer service and tenant satisfaction, staff development and morale, community building, organization planning, and success measurement. CSH and others have contracted DISH to train other nonprofit housing organizations in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Connecticut, as well as through national webinars. DISH founders are well known in the field and have participated in a number of national conferences in 2018 to network with potential clients.

For the past decade, the founders have directly managed six Property Managers and other organization leaders. DISH has recently hired a Property Supervisor to oversee the properties and accommodate additional city contracts, freeing up some senior staff time. DISH desires to increase its consulting & training work to provide flexible revenue as well as professional development opportunities for the staff.

Project Objectives

DishSF asked the ACT team to perform the following tasks:

  1. Define DishSF’s goals and objectives for its Consulting offering
  2. Conduct market research and interviews to define the clients and market
  3. Outline all potential consulting offerings and products through questions in client interviews, and facilitate brainstorming session with DISH leadership
  4. Create preliminary structure for identifying proper pricing via DishSF previous consulting offerings and client interviews
  5. Outline consulting practice structure and create a running list of tools and frameworks needed to help DishSF identify its preferred practice structure
  6. Create a list of potential next phases/projects

Key Recommendations

The ACT team produced the following outputs:

  1. A step-by-step schedule with achievable action items for the upcoming year in order to gain Board buy-in and increase chances of success for this new initiative
  2. A negotiated Corporation for Supportive Housing Training Center proposal
  3. A list of DISH training  topics

In addition, the ACT team made the following recommendations:

  1. DishSF should develop a training module that is lightly designed, easily replicable, and consistent for all training types
  2. DishSF should develop a client review process that consists of a smart-targeted questionnaire
  3. DishSF should develop clear pricing guidelines through experimentation
  4. DishSF should identify staff needs and understand when a new hire is required. Funding for staff needs should be covered by current consulting work

Key Conclusions

  • DishSF is recognized as an exemplary leader in the supportive housing community
  • DishSF Consulting is an idea worth trying
  • DishSF needs a structured framework to follow as it launches and scales its consulting practice
  • DishSF must take ownership of DISH Consulting
  • The Stanford ACT team recommends starting with a partnership with CSH Supportive Housing Training Center (CSH SHTC)

Final Report Outline

  1. Summary
  2. DISH Consulting: Identified Goals
  3. DISH Consulting: An Idea Worth Trying (Why and How)
  4. DISH Consulting Objectives for 2018
  5. DISH Commitments: 2018 and Beyond
  6. Appendix