Pennsylvania’s Free Electronic Housing Locator Service

Pennsylvania has made readily available a free electronic housing locator service at www.PAhousingsearch.com that matches those who need housing with the housing they need. This resource provides the following features:

  • FREE searching and listing of rental housing and program-related homes for sale
  • Detailed listings that can include pictures, maps, eligibility requirements (if applicable), and information about nearby amenities such as hospitals and schools
  • Simple and detailed search options that are easy to use
  • Helpful tools, including an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and information about renters’ rights and responsibilities
  • 24/7 access online and support from a toll-free, bilingual call center, available at 1-877-428-8844, Mon – Fri, 9:00 am – 8:00 pm EST.
  • Housing information that is updated daily to keep it relevant
  • A resource for families displaced during times of disaster

This is an excellent resource to use as we continue to find homes for the homeless in Pennsylvania. In our 2018 ESG application, DCED made housing locator services a targeted activity with the desired outcome that services should include: assessment, arranging, coordinating, housing stability pan development; with an emphasis on acting as a liaison to secure and maintain housing; employment; a connection to mainstream resources and services; coordination with other providers; monitoring of progress; and advocating on behalf of the client.

Click here to view the brochure that was developed to promote this service. This service is presented by these funding partners; PHFA, PA Department of Human Services, PA Department of Community and Economic Development, PA Emergency Management Agency, PAHMA, and PennDel AHMA.

 

National Alliance to End Homelessness – ESG Training Webinars

In case you missed it, the National Alliance to End Homelessness has posted ESG Learning Series Webinars that you can watch for free here. A link will also be posted to the Webinars tab under the ESG page. There are five video sessions posted that cover the following information:

  1. The Role of Emergency Shelter in a Crisis Response System
  2. Keys to Effective Low Barrier Emergency Shelters
  3. How to Transition Your Emergency Shelter to a Low Barrier and Housing Focused Shelter
  4. Which Rules are the Right Rules for Low Barrier Emergency Shelters?
  5. Rules and Safety in Low Barrier Shelters that Serve Single Adults

Each video ranges from about an hour to and hour and a half. If you’re interested in learning more about Emergency Shelter Resources, please feel free to watch.

Workplace by Facebook Roll-out Information

As you all know, Wiggio was to be shut down on Friday, November 17th but it appears that date has been pushed back to the 21st. Regardless, we will begin our transition to using the selected replacement – Workplace by Facebook starting today! I will be sending everyone in the CoCs an invitation to join the Workplace BoS Group so be sure to look for an email to sign up. If you don’t receive an invitation by Thursday afternoon, double check your spam folders to make sure it wasn’t filtered there. If you still aren’t having any luck please contact your RHAB Co-Chairs or Brendan Auman at breauman@pa.gov with your current contact information. We understand that some agencies may not have authorized internet access to Workplace so we have drafted a letter that will request you receive permission to use this new tool. Again, if you need this letter, please contact your Co-Chair or Brendan if you need an access request.

Additionally, we will be hosting live training webinars for Workplace on November 17th, 27th, and December 15th at 2PM to teach you more about what this new collaboration tool has to offer. Please review this Workplace by Facebook Webinar Training Schedule document with the training information including the links to register for the training that works best for you. If you cannot attend any of the training dates don’t worry as they will be recorded and posted to the Workplace and CoC website for future reference. A user guide was also developed to give you more material to review which will be posted to both websites.

There will be some hiccups as we move to Workplace full time but I expect for it to be an improvement from the Wiggio experience overall. This tool is designed for professionals to engage with each other, share ideas and information faster, and make communication simpler. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Brendan.

New CoC Communication Website Tool

On behalf on Madra Clay,

As you are all aware, Wiggio will shut down its site on Friday, November 17, 2017.  In anticipation of the shut-down, DCED has spent the last month researching alternative professional communication and project management sites that were recommended by members of the CoC.  After careful review, we have determined the best site for CoC use is Workplace by Facebook.  Workplace by Facebook is a professional site used by thousands of organizations to connect their members/workers, to share ideas and information, and to increase their effectiveness and efficiency to work collaboratively.  You may check out the site by clicking this link: Workplace by Facebook.

The Wiggio site offered basic project management tools however, with Workplace by Facebook, we’ll be able to use the same concepts in addition to having the potential to integrate new communication methods such as live-stream meetings and a mobile application.  The site is being provided to us free of charge, therefore we do not have any financial considerations.  Yes, it is FREE of charge.

We understand some organizations may restrict access to Facebook.  Workplace is a professional website, separate from the normal Facebook you may use now.  It will not be used as a personal communication tool, rather a professional one connected by your credentials and representing your organization.  For those experiencing difficulty connecting due to company restrictions, DCED is willing to assist with that aspect to help gain access.  It may only require our efforts to educate the organization Director on how the site will be used within each CoC.

We are currently in the process of transferring all data from the Wiggio site to Workplace.  Anyone desiring early access may request it by contacting Brendan Auman at breauman@pa.gov.  I recommend Lea and Ciarra gain early access so they can familiarize themselves with the site and be able to assist with the transition if necessary.  In addition, DCED will post an instruction manual to the www.pennsylvaniacoc.org no later than November 15th.  We plan to make three training dates available to the membership and people can enroll in whichever date is convenient for them.  The tentative training dates are: November 17 and 27, and December 15th.

Finally, as we get each RHAB’s page completed on the site, we will notify the membership by sending a link for them to join.  You may want to notify your members so they are aware and anticipate the link coming to them.  Thank you for your patience as we conducted our research.  I’m sure you will be happy with the selection once you become familiar with it.  If you have any questions, you may contact Brendan directly.

Best,

Madra

Housing Resources for Survivors Displaced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico

FEMA and the government of Puerto Rico announced today that Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) is available to Puerto Ricans who are unable to return to their homes because they are displaced as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This is one of several short-term housing options being offered to meet the demand for post-storm safe housing.  Transitional Sheltering Assistance allows eligible applicants to shelter in a hotel or motel, for a limited period of time, as a bridge to intermediate and longer-term housing.  FEMA pays all costs for rooms and taxes through direct payments to participating hotels and motels.

For eligible applicants currently on Puerto Rico:

  • Consistent with the Governor’s request, FEMA will prioritize placements for the people who are currently residing in emergency shelters in order to target those most in need.
  • FEMA will be providing transportation to select locations in the Continental United States, where you will be connected with support services and lodging.  FEMA will not provide any additional transportation within the Continental United States and cannot provide reimbursement for travel arrangements you may have already made.
  • Transportation also will be provided for your return back to Puerto Rico.
  • Applicants should expect that it may take several weeks to arrange transportation, given the limited availability of commercial flights.

For eligible applicants currently in the Continental United States:

  • Make sure you update FEMA with current information by contacting 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
  • Eligible applicants may stay at any participating hotel.
  • FEMA will not reimburse for travel that already occurred, or travel to a participating hotel within the Continental United States.
  • Applicants should expect that it may take approximately one week before hotels have the information necessary for you to check in.
  • Applicants are responsible for identifying a participating hotel and checking for availability.

This is one of several short-term housing options being offered to meet the demand for post-storm safe housing. In order to meet the demand for safe housing, these forms of assistance are provided directly to disaster survivors, or through financial grants to assist survivors with their housing needs. Survivors first need to register with FEMA to determine their eligibility for any available federal assistance online at http://disasterassistance.gov, by calling toll-free (800) 621-3362 (voice 711/VRS). TTY call (800) 462-7585, or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To find an open DRC, survivors may phone their municipality. DRCs are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Housing Resources Provided Directly to Disaster Survivors

Tu Hogar Renace (Your Home Reborn):  Managed by the government of Puerto Rico, a homeowner’s primary residence may be eligible for necessary repairs to return the home to safe, habitable and functional conditions. Work includes repairs to keep roofs from leaking, replacement of damaged windows and doors, repairs to damaged walls, and water heaters.

Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA):  Transitional Sheltering Assistance is available with prioritization on those who are currently in congregate shelters because their homes were severely damaged. Under the program, survivors who are currently staying within the Continental U.S. may be eligible to stay in participating hotels or motels in the United States for the period of time specified by the government of Puerto Rico and FEMA.  To find a participating hotel, disaster survivors should visit http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php.

Blue Roof Program:  Operation Blue Roof, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provides a temporary covering of reinforced blue plastic sheeting over the damaged roof to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made.

Direct Lease:  Vacant units are leased by FEMA and are used as temporary housing for disaster survivors. FEMA pays the rent for these units.  Utility costs and other expenses not covered in the lease are the responsibility of the disaster survivor. Property owners interested in participating can email FEMA-Lease-PR@fema.dhs.gov.

Multi-Family Lease and Repair (MLR):  FEMA identifies and prepares existing, vacant rental properties to house survivors in multi-family residential units.  Vacant units are leased by FEMA and are used as temporary housing for disaster survivors. FEMA pays the rent for these units.  Utility costs and other expenses are the responsibility of the disaster survivor.  Property owners interested in participating can email FEMA-MLR-PR@fema.dhs.gov.

Financial Assistance Available to Disaster Survivors for Housing Needs

Rental Assistance:  FEMA will provide funds directly to disaster survivors, who are then responsible for finding available rental resources of their choosing.

Home Repairs:  Financial grant to help make minimal repairs to a primary residence, utilities, and residential structure, including privately-owned access routes (driveways, roads, or bridges) to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.

Other Needs Assistance (ONA): Financial grant for uninsured or underinsured, disaster-related, necessary expenses and serious needs. This may include housing related expenses other than rent, such as repair or replacement of household appliances and furnishings, uniforms, tools and equipment required for your job, school books and supplies.

Low Interest Disaster Loans:  The U.S. Small Business Administration, provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to help homeowners and renters with personal property, transportation, and moving and storage expenses incurred due to a declared disaster.

Immediate Foreclosure Relief: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages.

Mortgage Insurance and Home Rehabilitation: HUD provides FHA insurance to disaster survivors who lost their homes and who need to rebuild or buy another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs.

For Congressional inquiries, or to subscribe to future FEMA Congressional advisories, please contact the Congressional Affairs Division at (202) 646-4500 or FEMA-Congressional-Affairs@fema.dhs.gov

HUD Publishes Notices CPD-17-10 and CPD-17-11

 

Notice CPD-17-10: Sub-awarding Emergency Solutions Grants Program Funds to Public Housing Agencies and Local Redevelopment Authorities

This Notice provides guidance on how Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program funds can be sub-awarded to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and Local Redevelopment Authorities (LRAs) following the recent amendment to section 414(c) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act) (42 U.S.C. 11373(c)).

View Notice CPD-17-10: Sub-awarding Emergency Solutions Grants Program Funds to Public Housing Agencies and Local Redevelopment Authorities.

Notice CPD-17-11: Determining a Program Participant’s Rent Contribution, Occupancy Charge or Utility Reimbursement in the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program when the Program Participant is Responsible for the Utilities

This Notice clarifies HUD’s expectation that recipients and subrecipients will consider reasonable monthly utility costs when calculating rent contributions or occupancy charges for program participants who are responsible for paying their own utilities. For the purpose of this notice, “utilities” exclude telephone but include gas, oil, electric, sewage, water, and trash removal.

This notice applies to recipients and subrecipients that are providing Transitional Housing (TH), Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), and Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) funded through the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program (24 CFR part 578). Specifically, this notice applies to TH, PSH, and RRH projects in which some or all of the costs of utilities are the responsibility of the program participant.

View Notice CPD-17-11: Determining a Program Participant’s Rent Contribution, Occupancy Charge or Utility Reimbursement in the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program when the Program Participant is Responsible for the Utilities .

HWR Scholarship Opportunities Sponsored by DCED for Balance of State Communities

We are pleased to announce the PA Department of Community and Economic Development will provide scholarships to members working for organizations and agencies that serve the PA CoC Balance of State counties working to prevent and end homelessness. The Balance of State covers 53 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.  This includes 33 counties that are part of the Eastern PA CoC and 20 counties in the Western PA CoC.  Click here to see counties included.

Apply today for a scholarship to join nearly 800 housing professionals as we network with our peers and learn the latest news in best practices in the housing industry.  We again open the conference with affinity lunches followed by a day full of sessions and then finish with affinity dinners.

Please click here to access the application.

Once approved we will forward you the registration link. The deadline for consideration is Friday, October 27th.

Visit our updated HWR conference website for complete program information and to learn more.

Special Homelessness Session Highlights:

  • Homeless Affinity Day featuring a lunch panel on Coordinated Entry as well as dinner panel addressing Ending Family and Youth Homelessness
  • Workshop Sessions on Collaborations to Improve Outcomes for Homeless Youth, Housing First, Rapid Rehousing, Landlord Engagement, and more…

Please feel free to call the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania at 215-576-7044 if you have any questions.

PA DCED HOME Application Kit Webinar

A webinar will be conducted by DCED’s HOME Program staff, specific to the new DCED HOME Application Kit, on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 1:30pm.

Grantees must register for this online webinar using the information provided below. The webinar is mandatory for any municipal applicant/grantee planning to apply to DCED for the next available round of DCED HOME funding.

Dates for the release of the HOME application kit, application submission deadlines and other HOME application requirements will be shared during this mandatory DCED HOME Application webinar.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your HOME Program Grant Manager.

Topic: HOME Application Kit Webinar
Host: DCED, Center for Community Development Operations
Tuesday, October 31, 2017, 1:30pm EDT
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To register for the online event
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1. Go to https://copa.webex.com/copa/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb7eb86b9ee231887b208fb9c9b4d57c3

  1. Click “Register”.
  2. On the registration form, enter your information and then click “Submit”.Once the host approves your registration, you will receive a confirmation email message with instructions on how to join the event.
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    For assistance
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    You can contact Jon Cherry at:
    jcherry@pa.gov

Centers for Community Development Operations and Compliance, Monitoring and Training
PA Department of Community & Economic Development

Commonwealth Keystone Building

400 North Street, 4th Floor | Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225

Phone: 717-787-5327

dced.pa.gov | www.visitPA.com

2017 Emergency Solutions Grant Application is Now Closed as of 10/24/2017

The FY2017 PA DCED ESG Application is now closed. The application submission deadline was October 24, 2017.  For future grants, please visit the DCED website to apply @ https://dced.pa.gov/programs/emergency-solutions-grant-esg/

or click here to apply.  

The application webinar held on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 will be made available shortly for review @ http://www.pennsylvaniacoc.org/esg under the webinar section.