SNAPS In Focus: Ending Homelessness in Rural America

The Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) is coordinating with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and other federal partners to bring rural communities to the forefront as we launch our rural strategy – All Routes Home: Ending Homelessness in Rural America. Here is a summary of some of the housing challenges facing rural areas:
  • Over one-third of rural rental units are at least 55 years old.
  • 3.6% of homes lack complete plumbing (double the national average).
  • Substandard living conditions, such as poor insulation, often lead to financial strain from high utility costs.
  • 1.3 million renters in suburban and non-metro rural areas are experiencing worst case housing needs (roughly 15% of the total), per HUD’s latest Worst Case Housing Needs Report.
In the past, HUD has often used Balance of State and Statewide Continuums of Care (CoCs) as a proxy definition for rural communities. A quick look at the 2017 Point-in-Time (PIT) count shows that nearly 14% of people experiencing homelessness are in these CoCs. However, we recognize that there are many other rural areas not represented by Balance of State and Statewide CoCs. HUD is working with its partners on a more expansive definition for rural CoCs. We hope that by working together we can offer more to rural America.
2017 Point-in-Time Count. Map of United States with picture of farm overlay. Balance of State and Statewide CoCs make up 14% of CoCs.
Our partners in rural communities know that solutions to homelessness must be flexible, unique, and innovative. Rural communities face distinct challenges such as large geographies; limited resources, including transportation and jobs; and a higher than average poverty rate. We know that the best ideas and solutions to rural homelessness will come from rural communities. To reflect this, All Routes Home will create opportunities for shared learning and inspiration.
All Routes Home will build the capacity of rural communities to address the needs of persons experiencing homelessness through:
  1. Changes to the CoC Program
  2. Technical assistance
  3. An intense focus on collaboration
As part of the initiative, SNAPS is working on expanding eligible activities under the CoC and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Programs; incentivizing and supporting CoC mergers; and reexamining the CoC application to ensure that the competitive factors give all communities – including rural communities – the same opportunity for funding. The intended outcome of these changes is to address rural needs and encourage innovative solutions to end rural homelessness.
SNAPS will provide technical assistance (TA) to enhance the capacity of rural communities to plan and implement solutions to end rural homelessness. We have identified six core components that TA should address:
  • Enhancing and refining governance
  • Improving data collection and utilization
  • Creating a housing continuum so that there are different housing options, including shelter, for those experiencing homelessness within rural communities
  • Creating peer learning opportunities and coaching, as we know that communities must drive the design and implementation of interventions
  • Reviewing current tools and products with a rural lens
  • Developing new products highlighting strategies and best practice interventions that are succeeding in rural communities
We are partnering with local, state, and federal stakeholders to inform and refine All Routes Home. One such partnership is our work with USICH, which hosted a convening of rural and Balance of State CoCs in September 2017. We heard from many rural communities about ways they are creating innovative solutions to address rural homelessness. These include the use of technology in outreach programs; coordinated entry systems for large regions; and engaging with non-traditional partners, such as the faith-based community, to help make homelessness rare, brief, and one time in rural communities. If we work together creatively and flexibly, homelessness in rural America can end.
To make resources easier to access, HUD launched a new Rural Homelessness page that includes resources from HUD and other federal partners. We want to highlight two great new resources.
We look forward to partnering with you, and hearing from communities about what is working and what isn’t so we can adjust our policies and funding opportunities. We will communicate ideas, strategies, and progress as we go, so that together we can end homelessness in rural America.
Thank you for all the hard work that you do to end homelessness in your community every day.
Norm Suchar & William Snow
Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs
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Important Information About HTF Project Commitment and Completion Requirements

HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP) is reminding Housing Trust Fund (HTF) grantees about important requirements applicable to the HTF program.

Upcoming Commitment Requirement Deadlines

HUD obligated the first HTF grants in September 2016. The statutory 24-month commitment deadlines for FY 2016 grants are rapidly approaching for most grantees. OAHP recommends that every HTF grantee closely monitor its progress toward its 24-month deadline for committing HTF funds. HUD will use the HTF data in its Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS) to make an initial determination whether a grantee has met its 24-month commitment deadline.
Commitment, as defined in the regulations at 24 CFR 93.2, means the grantee has executed a legally binding written agreement with a recipient under which HTF assistance is to be provided for an identifiable project. Commitments may be entered into IDIS after the grantee executes a legally binging agreement with a recipient for a project. If a grantee fails to meet the commitment requirement by its deadline date, HUD is required by statute to de-obligate the amount of uncommitted funds from the grantee’s HTF Treasury account.
Grantees can use the HTF Deadline Compliance Status Report posted monthly by HUD to determine their deadline date and track progress toward compliance. In addition, authorized IDIS users can run a PR 108 report at any time to ascertain the grantee’s progress toward meeting the deadline for committing its HTF grant.

Project Completion Responsibilities

OAHP also reminds grantees of the importance of timely reporting project completions in IDIS. Once a grantee completes an HTF project, and the project meets the definition of project completion at § 93.2, the grantee must change the status of the activity to “completed” in IDIS. The HTF regulation at § 93.402(d)(1) requires the grantee to complete projects in IDIS within 120 days of the final drawdown of HTF funds for the project. By regulation, an HTF project’s required affordability period does not commence until it is completed in IDIS. Consequently, HTF completion information should be reported as soon a project meets the project completion definition at § 93.2. For HTF rental projects, the grantee may mark the project completed in IDIS before all units are occupied.
Please consult the HTF interim regulation for additional information. If you have any questions regarding HTF requirements, please contact your Community Planning and Development Representative in your local HUD Field Office.
If you require assistance with committing funds, drawing down funds, or reporting project completion in IDIS, please send a question to the “Ask A Question” portal.
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HUD Job Opportunities: St. Croix, USVI and San Juan, PR - CPD Specialists

HUD has announced job opportunities in the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), Disaster Recovery and Special Issues Division.
St. Croix, USVI

Closing Date


Appointment Type

Term hires.
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Upcoming SAMHSA webinar on technology and mental health

Join SAMHSA’s webinar on mental health mobile apps and videoconferencing-based telemental health.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
1:30 – 3:00 PM Eastern (10:30 -12:00 Pacific)
<![if !supportLists]>(1) <![endif]>An Evaluation Framework and the Future of Mental Health Mobile Apps
About Our Speaker. John Torous, MD, MBI, is director of the Digital Psychiatry Division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Torous is a member the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Mental Health Information Technology.
<![if !supportLists]>(2) <![endif]>Best Practices in Videoconferencing-Based Telemental Health: An Overview
About Our Speaker. Jay Shore, MD, MPH, is director of Telemedicine at the Arthur and Helen E. Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Shore is the Chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Telepsychiatry.

Behavioral Health Information Technology & Standards (BHITS) II
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NHSDC  FALL 2018: Data Institute Almost Sold Out!

Good News! Preliminary Agenda is Here! 

Don't Miss out on the Data Institute and Service Tour
(October 16th)! Almost Sold Out!

HMIS Data Maturity and Data Analytics Institute

To successfully change the homeless service system and improve projects, the community needs reliable and comprehensive information. Critical to this is the ability of CoCs to examine HMIS data sets in order to find patterns and draw conclusions. Once analyzed, the results can be presented to target stakeholder groups, allowing for improved service and resource decision-making. This year, the Institute is divided into two, all day tracks from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Both are beginning to intermediate level.  The attendee will select a single track for registration and is expected to bring a laptop and power cord.  Boxed lunches will be provided.

Learn more and register for the Data Institutes
Data Analytics SOLD OUT

Service Tour, Presented by Central City Concern. Happening 10am -12pm. SOLD OUT

Registration is Filling Up!

The spots for the Fall Conference are going fast. Act quickly by registering here, and don't forget to book your hotel room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland. The conference rate is a reasonable $169 per night. Please use this link to book your room. We usually sell out so advise reserving your room early!  Please reserve your rooms by September 25th.

As in past years, the NHSDC conference and institute are HUD-approved. Therefore, HMIS funds awarded under the Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Programs may be used to attend the 2018 NHSDC Fall Conference and Institute. Projects without funds designated for HMIS can use admin funds to attend this event.


About the National Human Services Data Consortium

The NHSDC provides information, assistance, peer education, and lifelong learning to its membership and other interested parties in the articulation, planning, implementation, and continuous operation of technology initiatives to collect, aggregate, analyze, and present information regarding the provision of human services.

Our conferences highlight the good work that you and your community are doing to leverage data in the fight to end homelessness. All communities employ different strategies and creative means to tackle the social services issues.


We look forward to seeing you in October!

Copyright © 2018 National Human Services Data Consortium, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
National Human Services Data Consortium
1111 - 9th Street
Ste 245
Des Moines, IA 50314

From our Federal Partners: Look Beneath the Surface Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign Materials Available

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) plans to disseminate sample packs of their newest Look Beneath the Surface campaign materials in the next few weeks. The sample pack will include copies of the items listed below (also available on the OTIP website). Almost all of the materials are available in English and Spanish, and the posters/brochures are customizable so that agencies can add their own logo and contact information (instructions are outlined in the Partner Style Guide). If your agency is interested in receiving a sample pack, please reach out to Flavia Keenan-Guerra ( by Close of Business Monday, August 20, 2018 to provide a contact name and mailing address.

Available Materials:

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Lazarus Caucus Harvest Gala + Silent Auction 9/28, 6:30pm (Catonsville, MD)

Please see the info below containing all the details to the Lazarus Caucus Harvest Gala and Silent Auction to be held 6:30 PM, Friday, September 28 at the Rolling Road Golf Club in Catonsville, Maryland.