FHFA Directs Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Fund Housing Trust Fund

December 23, 2014    

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

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FHFA Directs Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Fund Housing Trust Fund

Earlier this month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin allocating funds to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund, affordable housing programs meant to increase and preserve the nation's stock of affordable housing for low-income households. The contributions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to these programs, which were originally established in 2008 with the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and signed into law by President George W. Bush, had been temporarily suspended on the basis that allocating funds to the programs would contribute to their financial instability. The FHFA notified Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Thursday, Dec. 11, of its decision to end the suspension.

President Signs $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill into Law
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, President Obama signed the 'cromnibus' spending bill for fiscal year 2015 into law. The bill provides $2.135 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, a $30 million increase over FY 2014 funding, but $271 million less than the Obama Administration's requested funding level. Of the $2.135 billion, at least $250 million is set aside for Emergency Solutions Grants with the remainder set aside for Continuum of Care grants.
The cromnibus bill funds the Department of Homeland Security through the end of February 2015 and funds all other federal operations, including homeless assistance and affordable housing programs, through the remainder of the federal fiscal year to Sept. 30, 2015.
Senate Committee Assignments Announced
Last week, Senate leaders announced committee assignments for the 114th Congress, although committee chairs and ranking members are not yet official. House committee assignments have not yet been announced.
Congress Departs for Recess
The House and the Senate have departed for the holiday recess thus concluding the 113th Congress. The 114th Congress is expected to convene Tuesday, Jan. 6.

Last week, both chambers of Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill for federal programs for fiscal year 2015, and President Obama signed the bill into law. In this post, we discuss what this bill means for funding for homeless assistance programs.
5 Reasons Why Housing Providers Should Be Using Medicaid for Supportive Services
By Jayme Day
With the federal goal to end chronic homelessness by the end of 2016 fast approaching, communities need to pull together funding for housing and supportive services quickly and with sustainability in mind. In this post, we look at how communities can take advantage of Medicaid to cover the cost of supportive services.
The Year in Review: Youth Homelessness
By Mindy Mitchell and Emanuel Cavallaro
In this post, we take a look back at the major developments of 2014 in the fight to end youth homelessness.

HUD Releases Point-in-Time Mobile Application

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

HUD Releases Point-in-Time Mobile Application

HUD has released a Point-in-Time (PIT) mobile app to assist communities with conducting their 2015 PIT counts. This tool is completely optional but HUD encourages communities to take advantage of it to facilitate an effective count.
Communities choosing to use the mobile app can experience a more effective way of collecting data by allowing electronic, real-time data collection and quality assessment. Data collected through the mobile app can be more consistent and more easily integrated with HMIS data for analysis and reporting by decreasing the chance of errors and reducing data entry requirements after the PIT count is completed.
The PIT mobile app has been designed to capture quality, consistent data for the PIT. The app captures the GPS location coordinates for each survey conducted to assist CoCs in understanding where within their community’s unsheltered individuals and families are encountered, providing valuable information for deployment of services. The surveys in the mobile app reflect the model surveys recently published by HUD and include six surveys:
  • Individual and Household Unsheltered surveys
  • Individual and Household Observation surveys
  • Individual and Sheltered surveys
To utilize the mobile app, local communities must set up a backend place (a data store) to receive their data from the mobile app. Submitted data will not rest with or be transmitted to HUD or third parties associated with HUD – it will remain with the local communities. Guidance will be provided to assist communities in assessing their options for setting up the data store.

The PIT mobile app is designed to operate on Android and Apple mobile devices. It can be downloaded to mobile devices from HUD PIT Mobile App - Google Play (for Android devices) or HUD PIT Mobile App - App Store (for Apple devices) or by searching for “HUD Point In Time” in either the play store apps or with a browser. 

Communities wishing to learn more about the mobile app or wishing to use the app for the 2015 PIT count should submit a request for assistance through the Ask A Question (AAQ) portal of the HUD Exchange. Select HDX Homelessness Data Exchange (Including PIT, HIC and AHAR) for the Reporting System under My question is related to (Step 2), then type PIT MOBILE APP under Please provide a subject line for your question, before adding your full question or requesting additional information. Further information and resources will be made available through the HUD Exchange shortly.

SNAPS and the ACF Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) Encourage CoCs to Work with their Local RHY Grantees to Help Them Begin to Use HMIS

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

SNAPS and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) Encourage CoCs to Work with their Local Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Grantees to Help Them Begin to Use HMIS

As stated in the October 14, 2014 SNAPS In Focus: Youth Homelessness message from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs, Ann Oliva, HUD recognizes that youth have unique developmental needs and our approach to youth homelessness has to do a better job taking these into account. This is true for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but is also true for communities and for local providers. Both HUD and HHS recognize the need for better data on homeless youth in order to make informed decisions on what works to end youth homelessness.

One of the best ways HUD, HHS, Department of Education, and the other federal partners can work to end youth homelessness is to promote high quality, cross-sector data gathering. This will help federal agencies make informed policy decisions, as well as help each community determine the extent of youth homelessness and how best to assist youth. This strategy also aligns with the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) plan. 

To create better data on youth homelessness, HHS and HUD worked together to release unified elements in the 2014 HMIS Data Standards issued earlier this year. HHS' Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program grantees will be able to use HMIS as the primary source of data entry for reporting back to the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).

FYSB recently sent a letter to their RHY grantees outlining this partnership and their efforts to foster greater coordination among organizations serving homeless youth. As part of this effort, FYSB is requiring all RHY grantees to begin using their local CoC's HMIS and suggesting that they become active in their local CoC. HUD encourages CoCs to reach out to youth programs in your community and to welcome the RHY grantees into your CoC, if you are not already doing this.

HUD recognizes communities will have questions about this collaboration and what it means for their CoC. HUD suggests you visit the RHY program's website to learn more about the FYSB RHY Act and Resources. HUD and its national TA providers are working with FYSB staff to finalize a RHY-HMIS Program Manual that will provide detailed instructions on RHY project set up and additional data collection guidance for the RHY programs. This will be out within the next few weeks. HUD also encourages communities with questions about this new collaboration to submit their questions through the Ask a Question (AAQ) Portal on the HUD Exchange. On Step 2 of the question submission process, select "HMIS" from the "My question is related to" drop down list. 

HUD and HHS also recognize that RHY grantees have requirements around client confidentiality and data sharing specific to the youth they serve. These issues will be addressed further in the HMIS Privacy and Security Notice, which HUD will release, and communities will have an opportunity to comment on, in 2015. HUD and HHS are also working together with communities who have successfully navigated these issues to develop examples of best practices and hope to release those in early 2015. For now, communities and CoCs are encouraged to work with RHY grantees to be sure they have a seat at the table and to help them understand HUD’s requirements. Communities that need assistance with this should request technical assistance via the HUD Exchange.

RHY grantees who are not sure who the CoC contact is for their community, please visit the About Grantees section of the HUD Exchange.

Additional resources on homeless youth:

Confirming Your 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Data Submission

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

Confirming Your 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Data Submission

Congratulations to all communities that participated in the 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). Your data contributes to the nation's understanding of homelessness in America and informs federal policy to prevent and end it.
To complete the data submission process, the Continuum of Care (CoC) Primary Contact (assigned in the HDX admin tab) for each community must click the "Confirm" button in HDX. The button must be clicked for both All Persons and Veterans data. A confirmation means that the CoC attests the data accurately reflect their community and can be used in the AHAR.
All Persons and Veterans data must be confirmed no later than December 26, 2014. After this date, reporting categories will be confirmed automatically unless CoCs contact their respective AHAR Liaison.
Questions about the AHAR can be submitted to your AHAR Liaison or through the HDX Ask A Question (AAQ) portal on the HUD Exchange website. To submit a question to the HDX AAQ portal, select "HDX: Homelessness Data Exchange (including PIT, HIC, and AHAR)" from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.

NIDA Seeks Input on 2016–2020 Strategic Plan


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NIDA Seeks Input on 2016–2020 Strategic Plan

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is revitalizing its Strategic Plan to provide a framework for the research it will support over the next 5 years. On December 10, NIDA released a Request for Information (RFI) to seek broad public input on the research priorities to include in the plan.

NIDA published the current NIDA Strategic Plan in 2010. Since that time, the science of drug abuse and addiction has seen major advances. Therefore, the Institute recently started a planning process to develop a revitalized Strategic Plan for 2016–2020. NIDA seeks to harness the latest research technologies and apply them to the ever-evolving substance abuse landscape.

NIDA invites input from researchers in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific or professional organizations, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public. To ensure consideration, your responses must be received by January 30, 2015, and should be emailed to NIDAOSPCPlanning@mail.nih.gov.

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