Housing First Contributes to 33 Percent Drop in Veteran Homelessness

August 26, 2014    

ISSUES  |  POLICY  |  SOLUTIONS  |  NEWS & EVENTS Forward Editor: Emanuel Cavallaro

Spotlight On...
Housing First Contributes to 33 Percent Drop in Veteran Homelessness

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that data from the 2014 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count show a decline of 33 percent (or 24,837 people) in veteran homelessness since 2010. On one night in January, volunteers conducting the 2014 PIT Count counted a total of 49,933 homeless veterans in America. HUD, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness attribute progress to the widespread adoption of evidence-based practices under the Housing First approach and the implementation of federal programs like VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which pays for rapid re-housing for homeless veterans and their families, and the joint HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program, which has served a total of 74,019 veterans since 2008.

Video of the Transformation Talks from the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness are now available for viewing on the Alliance's blog ,Ending Homelessness Today, and Youtube channel. These brief speeches delve into the role of faith-based organizations in ending homelessness, the connection between housing and health care, and why "bureaucracy" should not be considered a dirty word.

Speakers included John Ashmen of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, Mitchell Katz of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, and Mary Li with the Multnomah County of the Department of County Human Services in Portland.

According to a recent report from the Department of Labor, "What Works in Job Training: A Synthesis of the Evidence," youth who are "disconnected" (unemployed and not in school), including youth experiencing homelessness, may benefit from interventions that combine work skill development with educational activities and supportive services. The report, which looks at the effectiveness of job training programs, examines the evidence from a variety of job training programs designed to improve the employment outcomes for adults and youth.
In this post we look at a video from the Rethink Homelessness campaign that recently went viral: what it says about the issue of homelessness and how it has affected perception of the issue.
Why Housing First Benefits Everyone (Not Just Homeless People)
By Martena Reed
This post, part of our "Conference Lessons" series, examines content from the workshop "Frontline Practice within Housing First Programs" from our National Conference in which experts discussed the effectiveness of Housing First.
How Can RRH Providers Better Serve Survivors of Domestic Violence?
By Stuart Campbell
This post, another post in our "Conference Lessons" series, examines content from the workshop "Providing Rapid Re-Housing for Victims of Domestic Violence" from our National Conference. It looks at data on the intersection of homelessness and domestic violence guidance and discusses how providers should meet the needs of DV survivors.

Impact of Recent Changes in Income Limits and Utility Allowances

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Exchange Mailing List

Impact of Recent Changes in Income Limits and Utility Allowances

The new definition of “Extremely Low Income” does not affect ESG recipients/subrecipients

On June 25, 2014, HUD published a Federal Register Notice implementing certain provisions of the 2014 Appropriations Act. Among these is a new provision that applies to the public housing, housing choice voucher, project-based voucher, and multifamily project-based section 8 programs, requiring these programs to use a new definition of “Extremely Low Income (ELI) families.” ELI families are defined as very low-income families whose incomes do not exceed the higher of the Federal poverty level or 30 percent of Area Median Income.
HUD has received questions about whether ELI limits apply to the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) or Continuum of Care (CoC) programs. They do not. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by the HEARTH Act, the definition of “at risk of homelessness” requires that an individual or family’s income be below 30 percent of median family income (or area median income). Further, the ESG Program interim rule limits eligibility for homelessness prevention assistance to individuals and families with incomes below 30 percent of AMI. However, under the ELI standard, an allowable income could actually be higher than 30 percent AMI. Therefore, if ESG recipients/subrecipients were to use the ELI standard, some applicants for ESG assistance might be falsely determined to be eligible for homelessness prevention assistance, when actually their incomes were over 30 percent AMI.
In short, the 30 percent AMI limits are NOT the same as the Extremely Low-Income limits, and ESG recipients and subrecipients MUST NOT use the ELI standard when determining program participant eligibility for homelessness prevention assistance.
However, the tables on HUD User have been updated to reflect the ELI limits, and it is a little more difficult to find the 30 percent AMI limits. For that reason, HUD has posted the 30 percent AMI tables on the HUD Exchange, for ESG recipients and subrecipients to use.

Look for an announcement when the FY 2015 data is available.

Changes in utility allowances may affect ESG and CoC recipients/subrecipients

This Federal Register Notice also addresses a change to a provision of the utility allowance. Because the CoC and ESG Program Interim Rules refer to the use of the utility allowance determined by the PHA, this change could affect the utility allowance used for the CoC and ESG Programs. For more information about this change, please contact either your local PHA or the HUD staff identified as contacts on the Notice.

HOME Deadline Compliance Status Reports Now Posted

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Exchange Mailing List

HOME Deadline Compliance Status Reports Now Posted

HOME Message Graphic
The HOME Deadline Compliance Status Reports as of 7/31/14 are now posted on the HUD Exchange.

You may also access all HOME reports from the HOME Program Resource Page under "HOME Reports."

OHH Monthly Focus on Employment: Understanding Benefits – A Look at Oregon Health Authority

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Exchange Mailing List

OHH Monthly Focus on Employment: Understanding Benefits – A Look at Oregon Health Authority

This monthly focus on employment, provided by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH), describes how the Oregon Health Authority integrated an employment focus into their core services and incorporated knowledge regarding benefits into its vocationalizing process.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) serves as an example of how HIV/AIDS service providers can broaden employment options for their clients by educating themselves on the impact earned income can have on benefits. Not only did OHA integrate an employment focus into their core services, but it also incorporated knowledge about benefits—as they relate to employment— into its vocationalizing process. This holistic approach to employment services helped OHA succeed.

Vocationalizing Around Benefits

The OHA administers the Oregon Housing Opportunities in Partnership (OHOP) Program which serves about 160 households through four regional housing coordinators, covering 31 counties including several rural areas. This large geographic catchment area presented a clear challenge to service delivery. Additionally, the OHA could not pay for employment services with Ryan White Program funds and could not hire new staff or re-assign current staff to employment-related activities. For the HOPWA Getting to Work Employment Initiative (GTW), OHA focused on increasing current capacity through staff training and the development of new employment oriented tools and procedures.
To start, OHA integrated employment into the core services offered to clients. Staff participated in training on employment services and resources with a particular emphasis on the impact of paid employment on benefits, including SSI/SSDI, SNAP, and housing subsidies. As a result, case managers are better informed about how to counsel clients on topics such as wages and public assistance. And, a benefit planning tool is now part of OHOP’s standard assessment format.
Snapshot of OHA’s Clients…
  • 40 percent receive SSI or SSDI benefits.
  • 10 percent receive housing subsidies.
  • 17 percent think of employment as a possible threat to their stability.
OHA also created an Employment and Living with HIV/AIDS Resource Guide covering employment services throughout the state of Oregon and a brochure for clients. In July 2012, OHA made changes to their assessment format and documentation protocol used within their CAREWare system, the Ryan White data collection software. Vocational questions are now a part of the assessment they do with clients, and all employment referrals are documented in CAREWare.
OHA developed an effective approach to offering access to employment services and opportunities within a large geographic area. Their strategies include integrating an employment focus into case management positions and supporting staff through training, resource guides and client-focused brochures. In addition, incorporating vocational assessment and referral activities into standard documents and reporting procedures prompts and encourages staff to address these issues.
Benefits Highlight: Did you know…
  • Individuals on SSI will not automatically lose their SSI benefit when they return to work. Rather, when an SSI beneficiary returns to work, income and earnings (after allowable deductions) are counted to determine the monthly payment amount.
  • SSI and SSDI are two different programs of the Social Security Administration. Each program has significantly different work incentive programs, and additional factors apply for individuals who receive both SSI and SSDI (called “blended benefits”).

Learn more now:

GTW Benefits Planning Webinar

SSA “Red Book” (SSI and SSDI Work Incentives)

Disability Benefits 101

Medicaid Employment Initiatives

Using Medicaid Funding to Support the Employment of People with Disabilities: A Federal Framework

And, stay tuned for a three-part online training series focusing on employment options for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Nominate for the 2014 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Challenge


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Nominate for the 2014 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Challenge
Help us prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017
Nomination Deadline: October 10, 2014
Since the launch of the campaign in 2012, Million Hearts® has recognized 11 Hypertension Control Champions who have helped more than 70 percent of their patients with hypertension get it under control.
This year, Million Hearts® wants to recognize even more Hypertension Control Champions. Clinicians, practices, and health systems that provide continuing care and have achieved hypertension control rates greater than 70 percent can enter the challenge.
Please submit your nomination or encourage high-performing, small and large practices to enter the 2014 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Challenge.

Questions About the Challenge?
Email millionhearts@cdc.gov with "Challenge" in the subject line.

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