NHSDC Pre-Conference Institute and Tour

NHSDC Pre-conference Institute and Tour!
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NHSDC is proud to announce the pre-conference institute and tour!

Institute: Tuesday April 12, 1:00 PM – 5:00PM
This session will obtain feedback on how Continuums of Care (CoCs) and HMIS Leads/End Users can improve coordination and communication.  Utilization of a roundtable discussion structure will allow participants to actively explore what the roles and responsibilities are of each stakeholder group and how each of these stakeholders perceive and communicate about HMIS within their respective communities.   Participants will benefit from hearing directly from peers in the role of HMIS and CoC Leadership about their successes and challenges in working with their counterparts.  Feedback generated from this session will aid in informing the product development work of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs’ Data work group.

Tour: Tuesday April 12, 9:45 AM - 3:00PM
As in years past, the NHSDC Spring 2016 Conference will offer a pre-conference tour from 9:45am-3pm on Tuesday April 12th, highlighting innovative projects across the region. An opportunity to see coordinated entry in action at multiple locations, don’t miss this chance to visit projects in Hollywood, Silver Lake, and Skid Row. A deal at $35, the ticket includes lunch and transportation throughout the day. Spaces are limited, so sign up soon!

NHSDC Conference Updates!

As in past years, the NHSDC conference is a HUD-approved conference. Therefore, HMIS funds awarded under the Continuum of Care (CoC) program may be used to attend the 2016 NHSDC Spring Conference. Register online today for the conference and tour.  Reserve your hotel room here.
We look forward to seeing you in LA!

6 welfare myths we all need to stop believing


Stigma runs deep when it comes to government programs designed to aid low-income individuals and families.

Need-based assistance in the U.S. — such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), theSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — is often subject to public scrutiny, causing those who receive it to feel shame.
But it's all due to the misconception that these programs reward the undeserving, allowing people to "work the system" while rejecting the common (yet highly unrealistic) "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" values of our society. Welfare recipients are also often assumed to share a range of undesirable characteristics, most of which have racist and classist undertones.
These stereotypes simply aren't true. We need to dispel the myths surrounding government benefits so we can truly understand the value of welfare, the humanity of those receiving it and the improvements that could be made to better support those in need.
Below, we explore six common welfare myths, which you can consider thoroughly debunked.

Myth 1: People on welfare are unmotivated and not working.

Welfare recipients are often characterized as lazy, simply waiting for the next month's benefits to roll in. But nearly 73% of people receiving public benefits are members of working families.
Some programs, like TANF, actually operate under the expectation that families are working but need temporary assistance to become financially stable. Many argue the problem is really income inequality, which leaves minimum wage earners struggling to afford basic needs, and therefore reliant on public assistance.
Viewing people as morally responsible for their own situations "obviously ignores the systemic inequalities in the economy and polity that make people poor in the first place," independent scholar Gwendolyn Mink, who authored Welfare's End and several other works on public assistance programs, tells Mashable. "The kind of income inequality that is in the system puts especially women of color at the lowest end of the earning spectrum, which is a sentence of abject poverty."
Even though welfare recipients are in the labor force, Mink explains, they aren't earning enough money to support a family and provide food security for their children while at the same time pay bills, such as rent and utilities.

Myth 2: Welfare recipients are mostly people of color.

This myth is dripping with racist assumptions about the lives of people of color, but it's also fundamentally untrue.
In reality, approximately 40% of SNAP recipients are white, making white people the largest racial group on food stamps. When it comes to TANF recipients, approximately 30% are white, 30% are Latino and 30% are black, with several other racial groups making up the remaining 10% of recipients.
Considering systemic inequalities that put people of color behind white people in terms of wage earnings, this somewhat even distribution of need-based aid is actually concerning. Due to racism in the wage system, people of color should theoretically receive more governmental assistance. Yet, those who need welfare programs often don't have access to them — which is the real issue.
"Only 27% of families who need welfare, who are in poverty [and] who qualify for welfare … actually receive it," Mink says. "Most people who need it don't get it. The law is so cruelly structured to incentivize non-participation or to actually exclude participation."

Myth 3: Undocumented populations are stealing welfare benefits from citizens.

This isn't just false — it's impossible. Undocumented populations are ineligible for all welfare programs, except emergency medical care.
"It's illegal to afford public benefits of the TANF or food stamp variety to undocumented immigrants ... who have not been in this country for a situated amount of time as legal residents," Mink says.
Even for immigrants who are now legal residents, federally funded programs have strict criteriafor participation. For example, food stamps are only available to immigrants with legal status who have lived in the country for five years, are receiving disability-related assistance or are under 18 years old.
Some programs also allow states to make their own guidelines for immigrant populations, leading to disparities in assistance from state to state.
"The TANF law permits states to bar any immigrants all together, if they wanted to," Mink says.

Myth 4: Countless "welfare queens" are working the system's loopholes.

In any debate of welfare, you'll often hear stories of the "welfare queen" — a racialized term used to describe women who are accused of cheating the system to gain maximum benefits.
Her origin can be traced back to a Ronald Reagan campaign rally in 1976, where the former president said, "In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record. She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans' benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year."
But the reality of the undeserving welfare queen is not the rule — it's the exception. Mink says it's unreasonable to make judgments based on "one bad apple in every bunch."
It's also difficult to work the system with the goal of becoming that bad apple. WIC and SNAP are full of restrictions preventing the use of coupons for monetary gain, while TANF is only available for five years within a person's lifetime.

Myth 5: Once a person goes on welfare, they'll freeload off it for years.

Eligibility requirements prevent government aid recipients from getting benefits if they don't demonstrate dire need. TANF programs, for example, have a federal lifetime limit of five years.
"You might be on consecutively for five years and fall off," Mink says, "but if you fall into dire straits five years from now, forget it. You can't get back into the program."
As a result, these requirements often prevent some people from accessing the support they need. For instance, the federal government's food stamp cuts enacted at the end of 2014, which included tighter eligibility restrictions, had experts predicting severe hardships for the nation's poorest by 2016.
Welfare offers basic support to provide families with the bare necessities, if even that. Many families on welfare are simply looking to use government assistance as a way to build up their finances during tough times, with the goal of getting back on their feet.
"Nobody wants to stay on welfare if they can get a decent job with decent wages with decent working conditions," Mink says.

Myth 6: Welfare programs are eating up valuable tax dollars.

recent study from UC Berkeley found that public assistance programs cost taxpayers $152.8 billion every year (indicating a need for better wages). While this is a sizable chunk of cash, it isn't even close to the amount poor families need.
Benefits per family are minimal, still leaving many scrambling at the end of the month to afford their expenses. As of late 2014, the average monthly food stamp benefit came in at $133.07 per participant. Though TANF benefits can fall anywhere between $200 and $1,000 per family, the average monthly amount of assistance per recipient families was $392 per month in 2010.
"Are people as concerned about how the military spends their tax dollars or how much money we give to Amtrak?" Mink says. "A very small percentage of the federal budget is consumed by welfare spending..."
Your tax dollars aren't going to waste. These programs are helping families survive, not thrive.

by Katie Dupree - MASHABLE

HUD AAQ #63403: HMIS Data Entry for CoC Rental Assistance in Non-Cash Benefits?

Question Related To: Homeless Management Information Systems

Question ID: 63403

Question Subject: HMIS Data Entry: CoC Rental Assistance in Non-Cash Benefits?

Question Text:
For the purposes of HMIS data entry for a CoC funded PSH project, should the amount the client receives (landlord receives as rent) as a housing subsidy from that same PSH provider be entered into the Non-Cash Benefits section into HMIS?  If so, should this be recorded at the Entry Date or the first Interim Review Date?

The non-cash benefits data element is intended to collect information about non-cash mainstream benefits.  The rental assistance referred to in this data element only includes rental assistance provided to participating clients from non-CoC funded resources (i.e. Section 8, public housing).  Since all of your participants are receiving rental assistance from your CoC funded project, you would not record "rental assistance" under the non-cash benefits data element.

Register TODAY -- Human Services Conference -- Hosted by MCAP

Human Services Conference - May 3-5, 2016

Greetings Everyone, 

Help us celebrate MCAP's 30 years of service this spring!  We will highlight a series of activities during the 2016 Human Services Conference (click here) to be held on May 3-5, 2016 at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel, in Towson, MD.  

Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., and DHCD Secretary Kenneth C. Holt were invited to speak.  


We have 8 Tracks of training workshops to offer you this year.  There's something for everyone.  We have national trainers that will be presenting.  
  • To view the General Conference Workshops-At-Glance, click here.
  • To view the General Conference Agenda by the Day, click here.
  • For more information regarding Sponsorship, Exhibitors, and Advertisement(click here).

Please contact Dr. Susan Gove at sgove@gove.org or me at myoung@maryland-cap.org should you have questions.

Thank you. 


Michael E. Young, MSW
Executive Director
Maryland Community Action Partnership (MCAP)
(443) 482-5169

420 Chinquapin Round Road, 2nd Floor - Suite 2-I  
Annapolis, MD 21401
(443) 482-5168
Maryland Community Action Partnership, 420 Chinquapin Round Road, Suite 2-I, Annapolis, MD 20401

News from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

March 11, 2016
VA Promotes Vision for the Grant and Per Diem Program
In an open letter to GPD grantees, Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson encouraged program providers to take steps to further align housing interventions with Housing First approaches. The vision promoted through this letter will help ensure that housing resources are aligned with other programs and agencies and are best suited to ensuring that homelessness among Veterans is rare, brief, and non-recurring.

Joe Savage, USICH regional coordinator, explores what this means for providers.


Federal Partners Announce States Selected for Medicaid-Housing Technical Assistance

Eight states will participate in intensive technical assistance to strengthen state-level collaboration between Medicaid and housing agencies. The efforts are aimed to bring supportive housing to scale by coordinating housing resources with Medicaid-covered services.

Policy Advisor Lindsay Knotts shares how these efforts will help states end chronic homelessness.

Promising Progress in Demonstration Project, Tailoring Services for High-Needs Families

Family of six. Over 300 families facing significant and complex challenges have been successfully housed in a five-site, three-year demonstration. Housing combined with supportive services are helping families stay together and reduce their involvement with child welfare. 

Deb De Santis, president and CEO of CSH, and USICH Policy Director Jasmine Hayes explain.

New Resource for Ending Veteran Homelessness
Page 1 of Questions document This new tool provides questions, based on the federal criteria and benchmarks, 
to help you assess whether your community has achieved the goal of ending Veteran homelessness.

Your community can use this resource to identify ways to strengthen your efforts or as you prepare to submit a request for federal confirmation that your community has achieved the goal.

Join HUD Discussion on Shaping Youth Demonstration Grants

Last year, the federal government released the blueprint for a coordinated community response to preventing and ending youth homelessness. HUD's FY 2016 budget includes up to $33 million for a demonstration project that explores how best to implement that response.

As planning gets underway, join one of two calls to discuss your experience as part of your community's crisis response system, and how HUD could help strengthen your community's coordinated response.

Listening Session #1: March 17, 3:00 p.m., EST
Listening Session #2: March 24, 3:00 p.m. EST

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, 1275 First Street, NE, Suite 227, Washington, DC 20552