SNAPS In Focus: Improving our Crisis Response System

 

Two years ago, we started seeing signs in our data that progress on ending chronic homelessness was slowing, and unsheltered homelessness was rising in many communities. In 2016, for the first time since 2010, we reported an increase nationally in unsheltered homelessness – largely driven by low vacancy rates and high costs for rental housing in major cities across the country. Along with these alarming signs, we are hearing from you – our community partners and experts – about struggles addressing encampments; increased opioid use, misuse, and overdoses; and increased demand for shelter.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) hosted a convening to learn more about what is working and what gaps need to be filled with regard to emergency shelter across the country. While this was a good start, we have heard from you that we need more discussion and better tools to improve crisis response systems to more efficiently and effectively help people exit unsheltered homelessness and put them on quick paths to permanent and stable housing. Today’s In Focus message kicks off a series of messages we will release about improving our crisis response systems. We plan to address the following topics:

  • Implementing an effective street outreach strategy that is not only designed to engage people experiencing unsheltered homelessness – including those living in encampments – but to connect them directly to resources that can assist them to obtain permanent housing;
  • Right-sizing shelter and crisis housing resources to meet the need, designed with low-barriers to entry and to connect people to permanent housing as quickly as possible;
  • Working with institutions and systems of care like child welfare, hospitals, detox centers, and juvenile and criminal justice on in-reach strategies and discharge planning practices that prevent homelessness;
  • Implementing diversion strategies to help people identify immediate alternate housing arrangements and preventing homelessness whenever possible; and
  • Strategically targeting rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing resources and using them in conjunction with innovations in these other areas to house people as quickly as possible.

Many partners will have to work together to accomplish these goals, including homeless service providers, mainstream programs, faith-based organizations, affordable housing developers and providers, public and private funders, local businesses, and political leadership. It will involve a robust Coordinated Entry process to ensure that every community’s system is both responsive to the needs of people experiencing homelessness, can quickly connect people to permanent housing and needed services, and that resources are being used as efficiently as possible.

We at HUD and our federal partners are committed to working with communities to find real solutions and strategies to getting people off the street, even in challenging environments. We look forward to partnering with you, and we want to hear from communities about what is working and what isn’t so we can adjust our policies and funding strategies as needed. We will communicate ideas, strategies, and progress as we go, so that together we can connect people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing as quickly as possible.

Norm Suchar
Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

View SNAPS In Focus messages

Download this SNAPS In Focus: Improving our Crisis Response System

EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA CONTINUUM OF CARE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

OVERVIEW

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; to provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, States, and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals, families, persons fleeing domestic violence, and youth while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness; to promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by the homeless; and to optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Continuum of Care is comprised of five Regional Homeless Advisory Boards (RHABs) that identify local homeless issues, coordinate planning for projects, identify needs, and develop strategies and priorities to end homelessness in the local area. Each RHAB is responsible for operationalizing the policies adopted by the CoC by working with their community to address and end homelessness locally. The five RHABs and the respective counties served by each RHAB are as follows:

  • RHAB 1 (South Central) – Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset
  • RHAB 2 (Lehigh Valley) – Lehigh, Northampton
  • RHAB 3 (Central Valley) – Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union
  • RHAB 4 (Northern Tier) – Bradford, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wyoming
  • RHAB 5 (Pocono) – Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Wayne

Eastern PA CoC RFP for Coordinated Entry Call Center Operations

The FY 2017 CoC Program Competition is Now Open

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition has been posted to the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition: Funding Availability page on the HUD Exchange.

Submission Deadline: Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT

The electronic application in e-snaps will be available on or after next Tuesday, July 18, 2017. HUD strongly encourages CoCs, Collaborative Applicants, project applicants, and stakeholders to:

  • Carefully and thoroughly read the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA to understand the information; and
  • Begin to plan local competitions based on information, new and changed from the previous Competition, provided in the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA.

Additionally, so that CoCs know their maximum award amounts, including amounts for planning and Permanent Housing Bonus, HUD has posted the Estimated Annual Renewal Demand (ARD) Report that includes each CoC’s Preliminary Pro Rata Need (PPRN), estimated ARD, CoC Planning, and Permanent Housing Bonus amounts.

What’s New and Special Considerations for the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition

The list below highlights some important information about what has changed, what is new, and special considerations that CoCs should make while planning for the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition. This list is not exhaustive and additional details are located in the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA. A full list of new, changed, and highlighted information can be found on the FY 2017 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition: Funding Availability page.

  • Tier 1 is 94 percent of the CoC’s ARD amount.
  • The amount available for the Permanent Housing Bonus is 6 percent of the CoC’s Final Pro Rata Need (FPRN).
  • Renewal project applicants may submit their renewal project applications with no changes. We strongly encourage you wait to access e-snaps to complete your renewal project application until the FY 2017 Renewal Project Application Detailed Instructions are posted on the HUD Exchange so you can determine if you want to take advantage of this new function.
  • HUD has made several changes to the eligibility requirements for permanent housing, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing. Applicants should carefully read the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA regarding these changes.
  • Most of the mandatory HUD form attachments have been moved to e-snaps as fillable forms that only require a checkbox certification with the project applicant’s authorized representative information. The only HUD required form that remains an attachment is the HUD-2991, Certification of Consistency with the Consolidated Plan, and it must be attached by the Collaborative Applicant to the FY 2017 CoC Priority Listing.
  • Tier 2 project-level scoring has been revised to include only three criteria – CoC Application score, ranked position of the project application in Tier 2, and the project application’s commitment to Housing First. The type of project has been removed as a Tier 2 scoring criteria.
  • System Performance Measurement information will be largely scored on data submitted by the CoC to the Homelessness Data Exchange (HDX), although CoCs will be required to attach the FY 2017 Competition Report to their CoC Application in e-snaps.
  • The local ranking process continues to be crucial to making the CoC Program as effective as possible. CoCs should use objective, performance-based criteria to rate projects and should consider both the need to serve particular populations of people experiencing homelessness (for example, survivors of domestic violence, youth, and persons with substance use disorders) and the effectiveness of their projects in reducing homelessness.
  • All applicants must have a current HUD-approved Code of Conduct. Most organizations’ Codes of Conduct were removed from HUD’s website in early 2017, as they did not meet the requirements of 2 CFR part 200, and the organizations were notified by another HUD office that a new Code of Conduct must be submitted. Be sure to review the Code of Conduct for HUD Grant Programs page on HUD’s website to ensure your organization is listed which means you have submitted an approved Code of Conduct. If you do not see your organization on the list, be sure to attach a current and complete Code of Conduct to your Project Applicant Profile in e-snaps.

Listserv Communications

All information related to the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition is communicated via the HUD Exchange Mailing List. Join the mailing list to receive important updates and reminders.

If you are aware or suspect that the Collaborative Applicant, CoC members, or interested stakeholders are not currently receiving these listserv messages, please forward the following link, https://www.hudexchange.info/mailinglist/, to them to register for the listserv messages as this is the only form of communication used by HUD to the public.

If you have questions related to subscribing to the HUD Exchange mailing list or have issues receiving listserv messages in your inbox, please contact info@hudexchange.info. Please be sure to add news@hudexchange.info and info@hudexchange.info to your contact list or safe senders list. This ensures that messages from the HUD Exchange go to your inbox and are not filtered to your spam or junk folder.

Questions

During the competition, it is critical that questions are submitted to the correct Ask A Question (AAQ) portal.

Questions pertaining to the CoC Program Competition should be submitted to the e-snaps portal. These questions include e-snaps technical issues; questions about the NOFA, CoC Application, CoC Priority Listings, or Project Applications; and questions about grant awards, agreements, or amendments.

To submit a question to the e-snaps AAQ portal, select “e-snaps” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.

If you have questions related to the CoC Program interim rule or a policy related question, please submit your questions to the CoC Program AAQ portal. To submit a question to the CoC Program AAQ portal, select “CoC Program” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.

The AAQ portal accepts question submissions 24/7. However, responses are usually provided between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except for weekends and federal holidays. Additionally, per the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA, starting 2 days prior to the application deadline for FY 2017 funds, the AAQ will respond only to emergency technical support questions up to the deadline of Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT.

From Our Federal Partners: Engaging Individuals who have Experienced Chronic Homelessness

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) invites you to attend a panel discussion on how recovery happens even for people who have spent most of their lives without housing.

How can I reach someone who seems unaware that help is possible? How can I assist someone to set meaningful goals when they say that they have given up? If you have considered any of these questions then this webinar is for you! Our expert presenters will discuss:

  • Motivational Interviewing and techniques to meet people where they are.
  • How to apply harm reduction principles with Housing First through crisis housing.
  • Housing individuals with active substance abuse and psychiatric conditions.
  • Collaborations that can improve housing stability and whole health.
  • How integrated health, behavioral health, and housing services using Housing First can improve a person’s housing stability and wellbeing.

Susan Pfefferle, Ph.D., from Abt Associates, will moderate presentations and discussion among:

  • Pat Tucker, MBA, MA, Advocates for Human Potential
  • Frances E. Isbell, MA, CEO, Healthcare for the Homeless Houston
  • Cathy Crouch, Executive Vice President, SEARCH Housing Services
  • Daniel Malone, MPH, Executive Director, Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC)

Webinar Details:

Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET

Register Now!

This webinar is the third in HHRN’s Outreach and Engagement: Evidence-based Practices that Promote Recovery and Resilience.