FY 2018 CoC Competition Focus: DedicatedPLUS – Explaining the New Strategy for Ending Chronic Homelessness

In the FY 2017 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), we introduced the concept of DedicatedPLUS Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), which allows recipients to serve some households who are highly vulnerable but not currently experiencing chronic homelessness. We have carried this concept forward into the FY 2018 CoC Program Competition NOFA and I want to take a moment to explain the development of DedicatedPlus and our thinking about how communities should be using this new strategy.
In 2014, we observed that despite significant increases in PSH over the years, the vast majority of it that was funded through the CoC Program was not being effectively targeted. Many communities and recipients of CoC Program-funded PSH weren’t using a Housing First approach and were continuing to serve people on a “first-come, first-serve” basis or based on tenant selection processes that screened out those with the highest level of need. To address this, we took a number of steps that sought to ensure that CoC Program-funded PSH was serving households with the highest levels of need so that, together, we could end chronic homelessness. These steps included providing an order of priority for dedicated and non-dedicated PSH, tightening the definition of chronic homelessness with new universal recordkeeping requirements, and providing incentives through the CoC Program Competition that encouraged CoCs to dedicate or prioritize more of their PSH.
As a result of these shifts, CoCs dedicated many of their PSH units to people experiencing chronic homelessness. Leading up to the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition, however, we were hearing more about challenges communities were having connecting some of their most vulnerable neighbors who either did not yet meet the definition of chronic homelessness or who likely met the definition of chronically homeless, but for whom adequate third party documentation was not available.
To end chronic homelessness, communities will have to be able to permanently house people who are highly vulnerable, even if they do not currently meet the definition of chronic homelessness. This includes, for example:
  • Households who had met the definition of chronic homelessness but then resided in transitional housing because there were no other options available at the time;
  • People experiencing chronic homelessness who, after finally moving into permanent housing, were not able to make an initial permanent housing situation work and ended up back on the streets but whose status of chronically homeless was affected by that break; or
  • People who had been residing on the streets for years but recently had a stay in an institution that lasted more than 90 days, were discharged to the streets or shelter, and no longer meet the definition of chronically homeless.
It is with these types of households in mind—those who truly have high needs in the community but, due to eligibility requirements associated with dedicated PSH, are unable to access it—that we created DedicatedPLUS.
DedicatedPLUS is not an opportunity to back away from serving those households with the highest level of need and vulnerabilities. On the contrary, it was created to enable communities to more efficiently and effectively serve persons who are experiencing chronic homelessness, persons with the longest histories of homelessness, and those with the most severe service needs. As you are working to make progress on HUD’s system performance measures and improve the overall effectiveness of your crisis response system in your community, you will need to continue to think strategically about how you target your PSH resources. DedicatedPLUS provides a new strategy that can be used to do just that.
Thank you for all the hard work that you do to end homelessness in your community every day.
Norm Suchar
Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs
Visit the HUD Exchange at https://www.hudexchange.info

July 2018 Members eNewsletter

NCHV eNewsletter
July 2018
2018 NCHV Annual Conference Presentations Available Online
Check Annual Conference page for updates 
Thank you to all who attended the 2018 NCHV Annual Conference! If you couldn't make it or were there and want to review the presentations at home, we have now posted links to most of the 2018 presentations on our website. These presentations covered topics such as employment, housing security, systems coordination, new research, and more. They are a great resource for service providers and other stakeholders.
View 2018 NCHV Annual Conference presentation materials by clicking here.
Hill Watch: Appropriations Process Moves on to 2019
Much-needed increases in SSVF proposed
If you attended the Public Policy Session at the NCHV Annual Conference, or attended any NCHV policy event in the last year or two, you will have heard NCHV's Policy Director talking about the need for increased Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) funding. In 2017, the field lost $207 million worth of SSVF funding from a "surge" of three-year grants that were awarded in 2015. This money came from 56 high-need communities across the country that were using this money to rapidly re-house or prevent the homelessness of tens of thousands of veterans annually.
Recently, in funding bills for Fiscal Year 2019, Congress has stepped up to the plate to restore these funds. A bill containing the VA funding proposals passed the House of Representatives on Jun. 8, becoming the first appropriation bill to make it across the Capitol dome to the Senate. In that bill, the House proposed that most VA Homeless Programs be flat-funded (neither cut nor increased).
On the Senate side however, the news is significantly better. The Senate also proposed that most VA Homeless Programs be flat-funded, with two notable exceptions. The Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program was slated for a $5 million increase over last year's funding level, and the Senate proposed the SSVF program be increased by $110 million over last year's funding level.
If the Senate numbers are enacted, this increase to the SSVF program would bring the total funding for the year up to $450 million. This number is enough to replace the annual cost of the lost 2015 "surge" grant money. NCHV applauds Congress, and in particular the Senate Committee on Appropriations, for their work on the VA budget. NCHV firmly supports the Senate bill and its attendant funding increases. Most recently, the two competing bills have been entered into a conference committee between the two houses of Congress. Conferees were appointed on July 11.
Finally, Section 520 of the bill includes language that would ensure that money which Congress has appropriated for homeless programs in FY 2019 may not be moved away from them by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This includes, significantly, the HUD-VASH program. In essence, this provision provides another protection for the HUD-VASH program – in the coming fiscal year – against any attempts that VA may wish to make to re-designate this funding as "general purpose" funding.
Other good news can be found in the work of the subcommittees devoted to the department Housing and Urban Development; both the House and Senate bills include $40 million for new HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, despite the President's Budget Request not including new vouchers for the third year in a row. Furthermore, both House and Senate bills include a full $3.6 million appropriation for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), a critical and irreplaceable partner in the effort to prevent and end veteran homelessness. There has been some worry that the USICH would be defunded as a cost-saving measure proposed by the Administration; these two bills ensure the USICH will be strong and effective in FY 2019. Though the two HUD bills have not yet advanced as far as some of the work on the VA side, NCHV projects that these two numbers are likely to be in the final product.
The House and Senate have recently firmed up their proposals for the Department of Labor and its Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP), and the news is very good. Despite a low-ball request in the President's Budget of $44.69 million both the House and Senate proposals have requested the full authorization level of $50 million. Like the HUD-VASH funding described above, there are no guarantees – but it is very likely that at the end of the process, this $50 million proposal will bet the end result of negotiations. In addition, the House version incorporates into its language a provision that would allow formerly homeless veterans who have been housed in the last 60 days to access HVRP services. NCHV has been working on this long standing issue with definitional restrictions for a while, and highly encourages the conference committee for the Labor/HHS/Education appropriation bill to adopt the House language. 
Please stay tuned to NCHV updates for more information as we learn it.
Suicide Prevention Training Now Available
Presented by VA and PsychArmor Institute 
PsychArmor is a national nonprofit organization that aims to help veterans and those who interact with veterans - family members, friends, and care givers. They recently launched (in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs) a free online suicide prevention video called "SAVE." The purpose of this video is to help people that interact with veterans with the tools to help support a veteran who may be in crisis. 
The 25 minute course can be accessed by clicking this link.
Webinar on FY19 Funding Outlook for Affordable Housing Programs 
Presented by the National Low Income Housing Coalition on Aug. 6 at 2:00 p.m.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition and other leaders of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) will discuss the current status and outlook for the FY19 funding process and how advocates can effectively communicate with policymakers and the public about the need for increased federal investments in proven affordable housing and community development programs. 
The webinar will be held on Aug. 6 at 2:00 pm ET. To register, click here.
Study on Extending Diversion to Help Reduce Homelessness
Released by the Building Changes Organization 
Building Changes has been working in the state of Washington since 2014 studying the effects of the diversion method and how it can help homeless families. The reults that they have found are compelling. By employing diversion, nearly half of the families studied were able to find safe housing quickly and the majority did not return to homelessness within a year. 
Diversion is a strengths-based process that works to engage families and encourage them to find their own resources and housing based on what they have available to them. Through a series of steps, the family develops their own plan for resolving their homelessness. They are then matched with the right level of assistance for their situation. 
Diversion is cost effective, fast-paced, and easier on families. To read more about diversion click here. 
To access a case study from Building Changes, click here. 
Unique Housing Needs of Individuals with Criminal Justice Histories Webinar
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN) is hosting the upcoming webinar Unique Housing Needs of Individuals with Criminal Justice Histories to provide insights into client service strategies from someone who has walked in their shoes.
Individuals returning to the community from jail or prison must overcome significant barriers in obtaining and maintaining housing in the community. The final webinar of the People with Lived Experience Spotlight Series will discuss strategies for stable housing. The webinar features peers with a history of involvement in the criminal justice system identifying what strategies and supports were most helpful to them in their efforts to obtain permanent and affordable housing.
Funding Opportunities
Lilly Endowment offers grants in the areas of community development, education, and religion. Previous grants have ranged from $5,000 to $1.5 million. The Endowment prioritizes organizations in Indiana, but there are no set geographic restrictions. Applications are accepted year-round. For more information, click here. 
The Polk Brothers Foundation offers grants for workforce development, housing, community based programs, and more. Their grants are focused in Chicago, IL and the surrounding areas. Grant applications are accepted throughout the year. For more information, click here. 
VNA Foundation offers grants for the promotion of health and health care services. Grants are limited to Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Will, Kane, and Chicago counties in Illinois. The Foundation gives priority to organizations in Chicago. Grant applications are reviewed quarterly, and the next deadline for applications is Oct. 25, 2018. Applications must be preceded by a letter of intent which are also accepted quarterly. For more information, click here.

HUD’s Public Housing Plan Would Hit Poorest Kids the Hardest

By Kara Alaimo

Even as the Trump administration has vowed to end its policy of separating children from their undocumented parents, a crisis involving American kids is unfolding largely unnoticed. In April, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson released a proposal for what the administration calls “rent reform” in public housing. If Congress passes the Making Affordable Housing Work Act, single parents could be forced to leave their children in unsafe conditions to meet the law’s new work requirements — and could even lose their kids.

According to HUD, 34 percent of the U.S.’s 1 million public housing units are headed by a single adult with children. Under current rules, the government calculates how much a family can afford to pay in rent for public housing by taking into account “any reasonable childcare expenses” the family incurs for kids under age 13 while a parent is working or pursuing education. The new legislation eliminates this deduction, as well as deductions for medical care.

At the same time, the bill raises rent on poor families and allows housing authorities to require that adults work. Rent would be calculated by taking 35 percent of the family’s income or 35 percent of the money a person would earn by working 15 hours per week at the federal minimum wage — regardless of whether they actually work.

Responding to widespread criticism, Carson said in June that the proposal was no longer “urgent,” but HUD hasn’t said whether it would be scrapped.

The requirements of the law would punish some of the most vulnerable Americans. First, if a parent with young kids is making minimum wage, it would be almost impossible for them to find safe, quality child care they can afford. According to a 2016 study by Care.com, the average cost of a sitter for 15 hours of work in the U.S. is $214. But a person earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 would only earn $108.75 before taxes for those same hours. So, especially for single parents with kids who aren’t yet in school, it’s simply not feasible to get minimum-wage jobs, because child care would cost them more than they earn.

One of the biggest problems is that the government would calculate what the family could afford as if none of its income were going to child care, which would essentially leave poor families with child-care budgets of zero. Parents could then have no choice but to leave their kids alone or in other unsafe conditions.

The policy could also give the government an opening to take kids away from their families. As Will Fischer, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Family Priorities, told me:
If a family can’t pay the higher rent or loses its assistance because the parents aren’t able to work the required number of hours, they could be evicted from their homes. Children in those families could wind up in shelters or even be removed from their families and placed in foster care.
HUD is promoting this bill by arguing that it would simplify the process of calculating rent in public housing, noting that there is currently “a complex set of rules to properly calculate a household’s rent contribution.” There’s a reason for this, though: The situations of poor, housing-insecure families with children are very complicated. The government needs to account for the cost of child care when figuring out what families with young kids can afford to pay in rent.

Poor kids facing unsafe situations and possibly even being torn from their families. Sound familiar? If Congress passes this law, it could happen to American kids, too.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story: Kara Alaimo at kara.s.alaimo@hofstra.edu

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net

Renters Rise Again

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
In This Issue: Absence of Eviction Court Recordings Leaves Tenants Vulnerable ● Loneliness Kills; Community Developers Can Help ● Renters Rise Again ● Also: Jobs ● Shelter Shorts ● Resources ● Opportunities +
Miriam Axel-Lute, Shelterforce
Along with the rise of renter households after the foreclosure and financial crisis has also come a resurgence of tenant organizing—or housing justice organizing as many groups are calling it. For example, rent regulation is no longer being discussed as a vestigial holdover from a previous age, but again actively debated and organized for. Also… Read Full Article
Miriam Axel-Lute, Shelterforce
Recognizing loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for poor health strengthens the argument that community development work is a path toward better health. Here's how. Read Full Article
Shelterforce Staff
Facebook Takes Our Advice | Work Requirements for Foster Youth? | Public Housing Smoking Ban Takes Effect | Amazon, Still a Bully? | More . . . Quick Takes From Our Editors
Olivia Stovicek and Mari Cohen, Injustice Watch
In a court where a family can be evicted after a two-minute trial and only 12 percent of tenants have lawyers, the lack of court transcripts—with no court reporters or digital recording equipment—has serious repercussions. Read Full Article
Looking for a Job? Scroll Down...
Wednesday, August 8, 2:30 p.m. EDT | CRA 101 Webinar | Since 1990, the Community Reinvestment Act has led to over $1 trillion in mortgages, small business loans, and economic development for underserved neighborhoods. Learn how the CRA process works, how you can influence how banks are serving your community, and how your organization can participate in NCRC's campaign to protect this crucially important legislation in light of recently proposed changes to the legislation.
National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) Grant Opportunity Deadline Approaching | JPMorgan Chase and NALCAB are partnering to offer grants, technical assistance, and training to up to 10 nonprofit organizations for a period of 18 months to develop and implement data- and community-driven action plans for equitable development through strategies including affordable housing, policy development, small business lending, and more. Proposals are due by August 5. Click here for more details and to apply.
USDA Housing Preservation Grants | This program provides grants to sponsoring organizations for the repair or rehabilitation of housing owned or occupied by low- and very-low-income rural citizens. USDA will award a total of $10 million in Housing Preservation Grant Program funding for the repair and rehabilitation of rural housing units. Click here to learn more about who may apply, what areas are eligible, how funds may be used, and more. Application deadline is August 9.
Advancing Health Equity Through Housing Funding Opportunity | This funding opportunity aims to support innovative, multi-sector solutions to housing instability that improve housing affordability and quality through policy and practice changes, generated by community residents. Planning grants of up to $100,000 and operating support grants of up to $200,000 per year for two years will be awarded. Submission deadline is August 13.
Gehl Institute: Inclusive Healthy Places | Despite the growing evidence connecting place and health, there are few available resources to help planners and policymakers identify the evidence needed to make decisions and fund public space projects that promote individual and community health and well-being. To bridge these gaps, Gehl Institute, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, developed the Inclusive Healthy Places Framework. Download the report here.
Family Centered Social Policy Report: The Racialized Costs of Banking, Fighting Work Requirements, and Supporting Democracy | New America offers this report that discusses findings from an investigation into the racialized costs and fees associated with entry-level checking accounts from a sample of primarily small and community Main Street banks. Contradicting the wholesome stereotype of Main Street banks, balance requirements are higher and fee structures are more punishing among banks in black and Latinx communities than in majority white areas.
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You Said It!

Planners and politicians skew the housing market in two important ways that contribute to a shortage of affordable housing: 1) limiting intensity of development below what the market would naturally bear; and 2) putting quality standards on housing. Few would argue that… —Aaron, more

Nice idea. BUT…What is the bigger solution picture? Create more attractive and affordable neighborhoods everywhere. Culture doesn't have to be connected to a particular place. Lots of people would be glad to… —Norm Seubert, via Facebook

Chicago has an ordinance that protects tenants in foreclosed buildings. This avoids having to rely on the goodness of… —“J84ustin”, more

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Director of Communications ● Grounded Solutions Network seeks a dynamic individual to join our senior leadership team. Your communication strategies will drive support for our financial sustainability strategy, deepen programmatic impact, and elevate our position as a national leader in long-term affordable housing… Read Full Listing
Chief Property Management Officer Community Development Partnership seeks a chief property management officer to lead the expansion of our affordable rental homes on the Lower Cape. The CDP nurtures a vibrant Lower Cape Cod region by promoting environmental and economic sustainability, expanding opportunities for… Read Full Listing
Senior Program Officer—Economic Development & Lending Rural LISC seeks an individual to lead our lending team and oversee the implementation of national and rural economic development strategies, with and through our network of rural CDCs and CDFIs, and key economic development focused team members. Rural LISC is in the top five in lending within... Read Full Listing
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