SNAPS In Focus: Ending Veteran Homelessness and What it Means for Zero: 2016 Communities

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

SNAPS In Focus:
Ending Veteran Homelessness and What it Means for Zero: 2016 Communities


In October, HUD and its Federal partners, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), released Federal criteria and benchmarks associated with what it means to end veteran homelessness locally. As of today, we have been able to celebrate victory with 23 communities and 2 states that were able to demonstrate to the interagency review team that they had met these benchmarks and criteria. And we know that in the months to come, even more communities will be able to claim success.

I’m excited to share that so far this year, four communities participating in the HUD-supported Zero: 2016 initiative have taken what it means to end veteran homelessness even further, not only meeting the Federal criteria and benchmarks, but also meeting the Zero: 2016 definition of “functional zero.” In Zero: 2016, functional zero is reached when the number of veterans experiencing homelessness within a community is less than the average number of veterans being connected with permanent housing each month. In achieving this measure, a community has demonstrated the system and capacity to quickly and efficiently connect people with housing and ensure that veteran homelessness within the community will be rare, brief, and non-recurring.

I wanted to take a few minutes today to congratulate Arlington County, VA, the Gulf Coast Region of Mississippi, Montgomery County, MD, and Rockford, Winnebago, and Boone Counties, IL for reaching an extraordinary standard in ending veteran homelessness. “These communities have proven and documented that fewer veterans are now experiencing homelessness on their streets and in their shelters than they routinely house each month,” explained Beth Sandor, director of Zero: 2016. “In doing so, they have defined themselves as leaders in the national effort to end veteran homelessness, demonstrating that a sustainable end to veteran homelessness is possible and showcasing the power of a coordinated system complete with a by-name list.”

You may ask, “Why two definitions for what it means to end veteran homelessness?” The communities that signed up to participate in Zero: 2016 in late 2014 took on the challenge of meeting the initiative’s rigorous goal of functional zero. These communities are leading the way in mapping out a measureable and sustainable end to veteran homelessness, and are receiving significant investments of federally-funded technical assistance in order to do so. The Federal criteria and benchmarks were created to take into consideration community context and allow Federal partners to confirm that communities have reached the goal of ending veteran homelessness as set out in the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. The four communities that have reached functional zero in Zero: 2016 have also all met the Federal criteria and benchmarks. While these measures of success are slightly different, they both ensure that communities have a system in place to end, not just manage, veteran homelessness.

The strategies that are key components of Zero: 2016 are also incorporated into the Federal criteria and benchmarks. Communities that meet both, such as these four communities, have proven that they have the system and capacity to not just house all veterans that are currently experiencing homelessness, but also to sustain these gains by quickly identifying and housing veterans who may fall into homelessness, ensuring that homelessness among veterans is rare, brief, and non-recurring. These communities have created systems of unparalleled efficiency through the implementation of new strategies and proven best practices. These include adopting a community wide Housing First orientation, the development of a by-name-list, implementation of a coordinated entry system, and prioritization of those veterans with the highest levels of need.

I want to congratulate Arlington County, VA, the Gulf Coast Region of Mississippi, Montgomery County, MD, and Rockford, Winnebago, and Boone Counties, IL for serving as a model for other communities in their efforts to end homelessness among veterans. Thank you for sharing the bright spots and best practices that have helped you to meet the goal of ending veteran homelessness.

Ann Oliva
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs


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Income Eligibility Calculator Now Available for ESG


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



The CPD Income Eligibility Calculator has been expanded to include the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program.


What is the Income Eligibility Calculator?

The Income Eligibility Calculator is an interactive tool that automates calculation of an individual’s or family’s income, for determining eligibility for HUD programs.


How Does the Income Eligibility Calculator Work?

The calculator asks a series of questions, depending on the program (e.g. ESG, CDBG, etc.), activities, and other inputs. The user enters information about the program applicant while the calculator generates a summary of results for each applicant. The user then saves or prints the summary sheets to include in the beneficiary's file.
To help ensure the privacy of applicants, you input a Beneficiary ID and Member IDs instead of the last and first names of family or household members. No personal information is intended to be used in the calculator, including, but not limited to, names, social security numbers, or addresses.


What Do I Need to Do Before Using the Income Eligibility Calculator?

Before getting started:
  • Have available any previous income determinations completed for the applicant and documentation of income for all members of the family or household.
  • Allow at least 15 minutes to complete each applicant’s calculation summary. The calculator will allow you to save and return to calculations you have started.

Go to the CPD Income Eligibility Calculator page to get started.
Important Note: While the calculator assists with income eligibility determination — which is only part of the eligibility determination for ESG — it does not replace the need for recipients and subrecipients to collect, verify, and file all appropriate documentation and to follow local policies and procedures.


What HUD Programs are Covered by the Income Eligibility Calculator?

The calculator currently performs income eligibility and assistance amount calculations for the following HUD programs:
  • Brownfield Economic Development Initiative (BEDI)
  • Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG)
  • CDBG Disaster Recovery Assistance
  • Emergency Solutions Grants Program (ESG)
  • HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)
  • Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program
  • Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity (SHOP)


Additional Information

For questions and additional guidance regarding the Income Eligibility Calculator, please view the CPD Income Eligibility Calculation User Manual. If you have a question that is not answered by the user manual, please submit a request to the HUD Exchange Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. On Step 2 of the question submission process, select the related program under “My question is related to.”

Homelessness Update




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spotlight on...
Are Homeless Families Connected to the Social Safety Net?
new paper issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that families entering shelter are just as likely as other families living in deep poverty to receive income from TANF cash assistance, health care, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

The findings suggest that, while additional efforts to connect families with poverty-level incomes to benefits may be appropriate, they are not likely to be sufficient to prevent homelessness.
Read the paper >>
rapid re-housing Know How Series kicks off next week, sign up now
Sign up for our rapid re-housing newsletter to get updates on our month-long Rapid Re-Housing Know How Series starting next week.

We will release new resources focusing on how to implement the three core components of rapid re-housing: housing identification, rent and move-in assistance, and rapid re-housing case management and services.
Sign up for the newsletter >>
news alert
HUD: use of criminal records to deny housing violates fair housing act
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released guidance to landlords and other housing providers clarifying that the use of criminal records to deny housing violates the Fair Housing Act when their use has a disproportionate affect on persons based on their race or national origin.

Having a criminal record is too often a barrier to housing and puts many people, and disproportionately African Americans, at risk of homelessness.
Read the guidance »
SNAP time limits take effect
As the U.S. economy improves, some states are putting time limits on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. 
Starting in 2016 single, “able-bodied” adults age 18-49 without dependents will be limited in some states to receiving SNAP benefits for 3 months in any 36-month period. The time limit will be in effect in more than 40 states, and in 22 of thos, it will be the first time since before the recession
Read the blog >>
Upcoming Webinars
April 7: Housing Access and Stability with SOAR
For individuals with disabilities who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, lack of stable income can mean the difference between housing and living on the streets. You will hear from providers and learn how their programs obtained funding, engaged housing providers and created an effective and lasting SOAR initiative.
>> Register: Thursday, April 7, 3 p.m. EST

April 12: Addressing Family Homelessness in Cleveland
Register for an informative webinar on how the City of Cleveland is working to address family homelessness. Speakers will provide an overview the homeless system, including its diversion program, how coordinated entry works with rapid re-housing, progressive engagement and the process of housing families.
>> Register: Tuesday, April 12, 1 p.m. EST

April 19: Best Practices to Support Homeless Youth on College Campuses
What happens to homeless youth who wish to pursue higher education, but no longer have access to a K-12 McKinney-Vento homeless liaison? A Single Point of Contact (SPOC) is designed to help unaccompanied homeless youth successfully navigate the college-going process. Register for the webinar and learn more from The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
>> Register: Tuesday, April 19, 2 p.m. EST

April 27: Closing a Case: Knowing When to End Rapid Re-Housing Assistance
Determining the right time to end assistance and close a case is one of the hardest decisions a service provider must make. Ben Noll from Friendship Place will present on tools and strategies providers can use to help prepare both themselves and consumers for the transition away from financial and/or case management assistance.
>> Register:Wednesday, April 27, 1 p.m. EST
from the blog
Ending Homelessness Today
the official blog of the national alliance to end homelessness
SNAP time limits take effect
by Sharon McDonald
As the U.S. economy improves, some states are putting time limits on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Starting in 2016, in 22 additional states, single “able-bodied” adults age 18-49 without dependents will be limited to receiving SNAP benefits for 3 months in any 36 months period.
comments » | Like SNAP time limits take effect on Facebook Google Plus One Button share on Twitter
How Program Philosophy and Design Standards Contribute to a Stronger Rapid Re-Housing Program
by Jen Saunders
A look at how the program philosophy and design standards of the new Rapid Re-Housing Performance Benchmarks and Program Standards provide guidance on the broader role of rapid re-housing when it comes to ending homelessness.
comments » | Like How Program Philosophy and Design Standards Contribute to a Stronger Rapid Re-Housing Program on Facebook Google Plus One Button share on Twitter
How to make shelter safe for transgender individuals
by Anna Blasco
The shelter system as a whole is “utterly failing to provide safety or relief for transgender and gender non-conforming people facing a housing crisis,” according to a 2011 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Use these HUD tools to make shelter safer to transgender individuals.
comments » | Like How to make shelter safe for transgender individuals on Facebook Google Plus One Button share on Twitter

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