SAN DIEGO – Cook + Schmid, a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising agency, announced that the Health Care Communicators of San Diego recognized the agency’s work with two awards for Housing Matters, a campaign to reduce the stigma around homelessness and mental illness, while raising awareness of supportive housing.

Cook + Schmid received the Gold award in the Off the Wall category for creative tactics. The firm earned the award for an interactive video booth that humanizes the issues of mental health and homelessness by showcasing the success stories of individuals who participate in supportive housing. Cook + Schmid also received the Silver award for logo and brand development for Housing Matters.

Supportive housing, a program sponsored by San Diego County Behavioral Health Services, is proven to be effective in breaking the cycle of mental illness and homelessness. However, supportive housing units in San Diego County had experienced strong opposition (NIMBYism), to the extent that one development project had to be abandoned before completion. Cook + Schmid’s campaign was the first in the nation to seek to reduce NIMBYism caused by the stigmas associated with mental illness, homelessness and supportive housing. The campaign has reduced opposition to supportive housing projects that were in various stages of planning or completion.

“It’s very rewarding to have our creative work recognized,” said Jon Schmid, Cook + Schmid founder and president. “But that doesn’t come close to the personal enrichment we get from knowing our program has made a difference in the lives of others.”

The campaign used a wide variety of campaign tactics, including print ads, billboards, bus sides and bus shelters, videos, collateral materials, information booths, posters, and t-shirts. A tracking survey showed that public awareness of supportive housing almost doubled because of the campaign and the number who could accurately describe supportive housing tripled. Because of the effectiveness of the integrated campaign in raising awareness and reducing stigma, no other supportive housing units have experienced opposition from neighbors.

Cook + Schmid provides strategy development and implementation of integrated public relations, public affairs, advertising and marketing campaigns. Clients include private and public companies, organizations, institutions and government agencies. Since 2006, the San Diego-based PR firm has won four Silver Anvils, the Public Relations Society of America’s highest national honor for strategic programs. Cook + Schmid also offers in-culture and in-language Hispanic marketing and public relations, as well as social media, website, interactive, and mobile application development. Cook + Schmid supports campaigns throughout the nation and Southern California, including San Diego and the Inland Empire (Riverside County and San Bernardino County).