Case Studies

Serenity Street Foundation - Raising Government Funding to Reduce the Opiate Epidemic

The heroin/opiate epidemic sweeping the nation has had a dramatic and profound impact across Ohio. In fact, a death from a drug overdose occurs every four hours. Luken Solutions raised $400,000 to combat the epidemic in one Columbus neighborhood.

Demand for services due to the heroin/opiate epidemic has tripled in the last year. In response, Ohio has taken an aggressive approach to reduce the supply of prescription opiates, make more medically assisted treatment available and invest in recovery housing to combat the epidemic.

One recovery housing provider, Serenity Street, employs a sober, safe and structured residential environment, peer support and recovery assistance to promote a radical life change, dynamic personal growth and permanent sobriety for men suffering from the devastating consequences of addiction in Columbus, Ohio.

Luken Solutions assisted Serenity Street in obtaining its first government grant of more than $100,000 and helped the nonprofit build relationships with the county to tee up $300,000 to renovate two foreclosed houses and add more recovery beds in Columbus. Working with staff and volunteers, Luken Solutions assisted in developing and tracking outcomes and economic impacts utilizing these success metrics to obtain additional funding.

“Sally Luken is the consummate professional. She did an extraordinary job in getting us grant funds as well as implementing invaluable tools to measure metrics/outcomes in various areas of our organization.” Terry Kelley, CEO Serenity Street Foundation

Jackson County, Oregon Homeless Task Force - Building a Community’s Capacity to Meet Homeless Housing Needs

A picturesque high desert community in Oregon struggles with one of the nation’s highest rates of homeless veterans living on the streets. Luken Solutions provided guidance, coaching, tools, materials and training to local teams combatting the problem.

Nestled between mountain ranges in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, Jackson County produces luscious pears and boasts wonderful, wild outdoor adventures. It also has a high rate of veterans who are homeless and a severe housing shortage – less than a 2% rental vacancy rate compared to a national average of 7%.

Luken Solutions, is providing guidance, coaching, tools, materials and training to support the local homeless task force and other key stakeholders in building support to develop more affordable housing. Services include preparation of a case statement on the need for more affordable, supportive housing, facilitation of stakeholder meetings, training on best practices, and advice on homeless CoC governance. Partnerships are the key to success and we have engaged with partners that include the local community action agency, ACCESS, the City of Medford, the Portland HUD field office, the Medford Housing and Community Development Commission, Seth Kaplan Consulting and the Center for Social Ecology and Public Policy.

One outcome of our ongoing efforts is a new RFP for Community Development Block Grant funds for permanent supportive housing development issued by the city.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Ohio Chapter - Preventing Relapse among Ohioans with Mental Health Disorders

Unable to obtain adequate treatment to stabilize their chronic health issue, Ohioans with serious mental health disorders are at greater risk of relapse, a setback for the mentally ill and to their families. Luken Solutions raised $500,000 on behalf of its client to address the devastating problem.

The Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center is the outgrowth of a collaborative initiative facilitated by Luken Solutions as an alternative to hospitalization for ongoing treatment, with the goal of increasing positive health outcomes and reducing the incidence of suicide.

Plans call for a 16-bed facility that will provide short-term rehabilitation healthcare for persons who have serious mental health disorders. The center will specifically serve individuals who have been discharged from a psychiatric hospitalization or can be diverted from a psychiatric readmission for treatment under a supervised living arrangement.

On behalf of NAMI Ohio, Luken Solutions conducted research on best practices to gage the need and drafted a plan of action. Armed with a case statement, NAMI Ohio met with potential investors and stakeholders to roll out a response to the crisis.

Luken Solutions prepared the operational budget that addresses Medicaid reimbursement rates under current and future systems of care, operating structure, training of clinical and facility staff and utilization of bed days. It is now assisting NAMI Ohio with the capital campaign strategy, communications and outreach. To date, $500,000 has been raised from the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services agency.

“Sally’s vast experience in housing along with her compassion for vulnerable populations combine to make her an excellent choice to partner with to bring housing projects to fruition.”  Stacey Smith, Director of Operations, NAMI-Ohio

Pearl House supportive housing development, Lancaster Ohio

In a small city southeast of the Ohio capital, the issue of opiate addiction was taking its toll on women, their children and the criminal justice system. 

Affordable, safe housing for these women and their children during their recovery from addiction was an acute need.  Sally’s role was coach, advocate and sounding board to the development team, led by community leader and President of Fairfield Homes, Jennifer Walters.   Sally provided feedback on written materials, advised on how to positively engage the community and media, gave assistance during contentious city meetings and coached Ms. Walters on staying true to her vision despite challenges from a minority in the community.   One year after the project opened, Sally was asked to return and assess the operations and support services.  Her assessment included a tenant focus group and a written report on the strengths of Pearl House and areas for improvement.

“Luken Solutions consulting services was a perfect fit for Fairfield Homes, Inc. when we needed to evaluate the services for a PSH model. Sally is an incredible listener and trustworthy. She worked fabulously between all the partners and residents.” Jennifer Walters, President

Business plan for Community Research Partners (CRP), Columbus, Ohio


CRP has been in existence for over 20 years, providing research and community reports on human service needs in central Ohio and similar communities in the Midwest.   Yet, despite their success, CRP wasn’t growing.

A new Executive Director brought a passion for developing a social business to expand CRP’s reach and raise new revenue.  Sally Luken was invited to join the new Impact Team brought together to develop a solid business plan to meet the dream of expansion.  Sally’s role was facilitator and team lead.  She provided solid project management including a project plan, timeline, and written materials.  She utilized her business planning expertise as well as tools contributed by team members.  Sally asked the team tough questions, and kept them on task and on time.  The draft written business plan was then complied by Sally for the Executive Director’s use in raising capital to launch the new business lines.

Needs assessment for growth for the Women to Women program, Columbus Ohio

Women to Women (W2) is a listening ministry of the Spirituality Network of Central Ohio.  Comprised entirely of volunteers, in 2015 Women to Women celebrates 25 years–a remarkable feat for a volunteer-run program.  W2W provides small group, non-judgmental, and nonsectarian listening circles in homeless shelters and supportive housing apartments.  The personal testimonies of women empowered by W2W circles are inspiring. Over the last twelve months, however, attendance at some circles has dwindled.  Luken Solutions has been engaged to help W2W with a needs assessment to plan for growth.

“Sally’s knowledge and experience with women living in the margins and with listening circles such as W2W fueled our interest in working with her. Her understanding of our mission excited us and her interest in helping us further our mission was a key factor in engaging her services.”  –  Collaborative Circle Leadership of W2W

Helping homeless Continuums of Care assess program and organization’s ability to change

The numbers of homeless people in the US has been dropping but work must continue  to end and prevent homelessness for good.  

As an approved federal Housing & Urban Development (HUD) technical assistance provider, Sally has assisted continuums of care (CoC) across the country to improve their homeless system’s performance, access nonprofit organization’s capacity to change program structures and gain wider community involvement to end homelessness, especially for Veterans.

Homeless CoCs assisted spanned the gamut in size, complexity and location.  A $20MM faith-based organization based in Detroit was reviewed by Sally on behalf of the Homeless Action Network of Detroit (HAND) to determine whether the largest site based transitional housing program in the city, run by the faith-based group, was able to improve performance and/or convert to another type of housing program.  HAND, Detroit’s CoC manages over $26MM in CoC funds.  At the opposite end of size and scale, Sally provided technical assistance to a $357,000 CoC which serves a rural, 4-county area in northern Florida.  For this CoC (Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, and Suwannee Counties) Sally worked with a cross-section of stakeholders including the local United Way, the Veterans Affairs healthcare for homeless Veterans staff and several nonprofit providers.  With Sally’s assistance, this CoC implemented best practices to end homelessness among Veterans.

“Sally is a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and dedicated professional and colleague.  Sally has provided TA (technical assistance) as a HUD (federal department of Housing and Urban Development) TA provider; worked closely with affordable housing professionals throughout Ohio; and successfully created and launched new initiatives…”  –  Liz Drapa, Managing Director of Consulting and Training, CSH (Chicago)

“Sally is an excellent program evaluator. Sally worked the Indiana Balance of State CoC evaluate Transitional Housing Programs considering reallocating CoC funds to Permanent Housing.”  –  Rodney Stockment, Research and Innovation Indiana Community Housing Development Agency, (Indianapolis)

“Sally’s knowledge, experience and guidance were invaluable to the Upstate SC Continuum of Care Vets@home initiative. She was able to facilitate the collaboration of a variety of stakeholders that made the initiative that much more successful.” Diane Cilento, CEO, United Housing Connections

Luken Solutions consulting services was a perfect fit for Fairfield Homes, Inc. Sally is an incredible listener and trustworthy.

- Fairfield Homes Inc.
Luken Solutions