The team at USICH provides this general newsletter at a time when many of those who are responsible for making policy and budget decisions, as well as those who serve people experiencing homelessness, are feeling the impact of sequester-related and other funding decreases. For that reason, we have chosen to refocus on an intervention that continues to be cost efficient and effective for the majority of people who become homeless - rapid rehousing. In addition, we also highlight five current competitive funding opportunities that could enhance efforts to provide services, care and supports.
Rapid Rehousing: Achieving the Greatest Impact in Ending Homelessness
"To build on the legacy of HPRP, we cannot simply celebrate its successes. We have to be willing to learn its lessons. I am asking our grant recipients to...invest an unprecedented percentage of your funding in rapid rehousing...We can have the greatest impact on homelessness by helping people who have just fallen into homelessness quickly get back out by rapidly finding long-term living situations for them."
- HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Feb 3, 2012
|Message to HUD's Emergency Solutions Grant Recipients on the Importance of Rapid Rehousing|
Why are we still writing about the Recovery Act's Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) if its legacy is no longer news? Communities have been living without HPRP for over a year, but they still have choices today about how to use Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Continuum of Care, HOME Tenant Base Rental Assistance (TBRA), Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families (SSVF) and even Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to dramatically decrease the amount of time people experience homelessness by leveraging these funds for rapid rehousing.
Rapid rehousing is an effective and efficient strategy to help families and individuals quickly move out of homelessness and into permanent housing with appropriate services. Following the demonstrated success of the HPRP initiatives in communities across the country, USICH and HUD have been joined by a growing number of federal agencies that are urging investment in rapid rehousing interventions. Rapid rehousing is an important tool to serve individuals and families who need time-limited assistance to get and keep housing.
A rapid rehousing model offers five primary program elements:
- Immediate intervention and engagement to help households obtain housing;
- Financial assistance to address barriers to secure housing such as security deposits, utility arrearages, and other one-time costs;
- Flexible funding for short-term rental assistance typically over a period of three to six months but in some cases for over a 24 month period, as well as intermittently;
- Case management to link households to mainstream benefits and community supports to help families stabilize and retain housing;
- Frequent reassessment to adapt provider service engagement levels to the households' needs and strengths. The objective is to minimize the need for ongoing assistance while promoting greater family independence. Known as progressive engagement, this approach begins with a small amount of assistance initially, while adding more assistance if needed to reach a level of household stability.
With the end of the HPRP, communities across the country are reallocating funds to increase their ability to offer rapid rehousing because it is a cost effective and viable tool that allows them to serve more families and individuals. Rapid rehousing offers a way out of homelessness, particularly among families, by increasing turnover in shelters so that communities can improve their ability to serve more families in immediate need of emergency placement without increasing shelter-bed capacity. Most importantly, rapid rehousing minimizes extended shelter stays that can be stressful for individuals and families with children.
The VA's SSVF program, which emphasizes a rapid rehousing approach, demonstrates numerous success stories, such as that of Army Veteran Felipe Medrano and his family. Shortly after entering the Emergency Family Shelter at UMOM New Day Centers in Maricopa County, the Medrano family connected with an SSVF case manager and quickly located affordable housing. This allowed them to minimize their shelter stay and return to safe, stable housing much more quickly. After only three months of incrementally lowered rental assistance, the family was able to pay their own rent and thrive independently. Regarding the SSVF program, UMOM New Day Centers says that it "has been of great benefit to the agencies as it has allowed us to truly assess the needs of our Veteran Families and target resources that are appropriate to the housing and supportive needs of the families."
Many communities that have adopted rapid rehousing are experiencing the benefits of these systemic changes.
In an evaluation of their Performance Improvement Clinics in seven communities in four states, one presentation from the National Alliance to End Homelessness shows that the rate of return to homelessness for families served in rapid rehousing is only four percent, compared with 10 percent from shelter and nine percent from transitional housing.
Furthermore, 85 percent of exits by families to permanent housing were accomplished with rapid rehousing. For single adults, the percent of exits into permanent housing with rapid rehousing was 75 percent.
In Utah, The Road Home operates the largest family shelter in Salt Lake County. Over the past five years The Road Home experienced a significant increase in the number of families seeking shelter. They responded by implementing a rapid rehousing and a progressive engagement service delivery model beginning in October 2009. In September 2012, The Road Home reported that the average cost of supporting a family through rapid re-housing was $4,866, with an average length in the rapid rehousing program of five months. Moreover, their average length of stay in shelter has been reduced from 71 days five years ago to 26 days. Most importantly, since the program began, 87 percent of families have remained housed. The Road Home continues to work with the 13 percent of families that do return to homelessness and helps them get rehoused, often with more intensive service packages.
Federal agencies are united in their support of rapid rehousing's demonstrated effectiveness in reducing homelessness and urge communities to continue to adopt rapid rehousing strategies.
- Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services released an information memorandum on how states can effectively use TANF as a resource to assist families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including rapid rehousing.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs SSVF program invests in rapid rehousing, providing $300 million this year for services and financial assistance to rehouse Veterans and their family members.
While communities respond to sequestration-related and other budget reductions, investing in rapid rehousing is one way to do more with less.
For more information on Rapid Rehousing see USICH's information in the recently launched Solutions Database.
Department of Justice
Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Demonstration Program Funding Solicitation: An Opportunity to Break Cycle of Incarceration and Homelessness
The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) recently released the FY 2013 solicitation for the Second Chance Act Two-Phase Adult Reentry Demonstration Program. This solicitation provides grants to help states, local governments, and federally recognized Indian tribes to plan and implement programs that can reduce recidivism and facilitate the successful community reentry of adults released from prisons and jails. Like the previous Second Chance Act solicitation focused on individuals with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders which closed on May 16th, the FY 2013 Adult Reentry Demonstration Program solicitation also prioritizes efforts that reach high-risk offenders who also experience chronic homelessness. This funding opportunity aligns with greater opportunities to reach individuals at the intersection of reentry and chronic homelessness created through HUD's proposed changes to the definition of chronic homelessness, which remains open for public comment until May 28, 2013.
These grants will provide up to $750,000 for planning and implementation activities. Successful applicants will be required to complete two phases of work: a project planning phase and, after BJA approval, a project implementation phase. The initial award period will be 12 months, with the possibility of no-penalty extensions that will allow for the completion of both the planning and implementation phases. Up to six months of the total project period can be used to complete the planning process, with the remaining months used for implementation of the project.
The deadline to apply for this funding opportunity is June 20, 2013, 11:59 p.m. ET.
Department of Health & Human Services
HHS/CMS New Streamlined Application for Health Insurance and Medicaid; Grants to Support Exchange Navigators
As part of its ongoing effort to implement the Affordable Care Act, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Center has just released its streamlined application for health insurance including private plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and tax credits that will help pay for premiums. This new streamlined application reduces the length of the application for single adult individuals from 21 pages to 3 pages and the length of the application for families by two-thirds. The applications, which can be submitted starting on October 1, can be found here.
In addition, HHS/CMS' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CMS/CCIIO) has announced the availability of grants to support eligible individuals or entities to operate as 'Exchange Navigators' in states with a Federally-facilitated Exchange. Selected Exchange Navigators will be responsible for providing expertise to communities or consumers around understanding new health insurance options (including Medicaid) available through the Federally-facilitated Exchanges, helping consumers take advantage of consumer protections and navigate the health insurance system to find the most affordable coverage that meets their needs.
This solicitation may be of interest to Health Care for the Homeless grantees, community health centers, homeless outreach providers, and other organizations working in states with a Federally-facilitated Exchange that can provide expertise, education, and insurance enrollment navigation to reach a broad set of uninsured individuals, including uninsured people experiencing homelessness. State and community efforts to end homelessness might also identify, encourage, and/or contact interested applicants to ensure that their proposed approaches will encompass providing education and assistance to reach uninsured people experiencing homelessness.
The deadline to apply for this funding opportunity is June 7, 2013.
HHS/ACYF Funding Opportunity for Street Outreach to Youth Experiencing Homelessness
The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now accepting applications for the Street Outreach Program. The Street Outreach Program, authorized through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, funds organizations that provide street-based services to runaway, homeless and street youth who have been subjected to, or are at risk of being subjected to, sexual abuse, prostitution or sexual exploitation. These services, which are provided in areas where street youth congregate, are designed to assist youth in making healthy choices and ultimately help them leave the streets.
The deadline to apply for this funding opportunity is June 28, 2013.
HHS/CMS Health Care Innovation Funding Opportunity
The Department of Health and Human Services announced a second round of the Health Care Innovation Awards from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center, a $1 billion initiative to test new payment and service delivery models that will deliver better care and lower costs for Medicare, Medicaid and/or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees. This challenge provides funds to test innovative models to improve care while reducing costs through interventions that are not things Medicaid/Medicare already typically covers. This is a great opportunity for testing proven interventions for improving health while lowering health care costs, such as permanent supportive housing.
The second round of the Health Care Innovation Awards will support public and private organizations in four defined areas that have a high likelihood of driving health care system transformation and delivering better outcomes. Specifically, in this second round, CMS is seeking proposals in the following categories:
- Models that are designed to rapidly reduce Medicare, Medicaid, and/or CHIP costs in outpatient and/or post-acute settings.
- Models that improve care for populations with specialized needs.
- Models that test approaches for specific types of providers to transform their financial and clinical models.
- Models that improve the health of populations - defined geographically (health of a community), clinically (health of those with specific diseases), or by socioeconomic class - through activities focused on engaging beneficiaries, prevention (for example, a diabetes prevention program or a hypertension prevention program), wellness, and comprehensive care that extend beyond the clinical service delivery setting.
In this round, CMS specifically seeks new payment models to support the service delivery models funded by this initiative. All applicants must submit, as part of their application, the design of a payment model that is consistent with the new service delivery model that they propose.
Deadline for Letters of Intent to Apply: June 28, 2013, 3:00 p.m. E.T.
Deadline for Applications: August 15, 2013, 3:00 p.m. E.T.
Department of Labor
DOL-VETS Announces Availability of Funds for Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Reintegration Program
The Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS) has announced the availability of funds for the Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Reintegration Program (HFVVWF). Approximately $5 million is available to fund 16 grants ranging from $100k to $300k.
Applications proposing to serve homeless female veterans and homeless veterans with families under this Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) solicitation will fall into one of two categories: Urban or Non-Urban geographical areas. Applicants proposing to serve HFVVWF on Native American tribal lands are encouraged to apply under the Non-Urban category.
HFVVWF grants are intended to address two objectives: to provide services to assist in reintegrating homeless female veterans and veterans with families into meaningful employment within the labor force, and to stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems that will address the complex problems facing homeless female veterans and veterans with families.
Applications are due June 14, 2013.
To read the full grant notice, visit www.grants.gov, click on "Find Grant Opportunities," then "Basic Search," and enter "Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families" in the search field.
On the USICH Blog
This week, Tory Gunsolley, President and CEO of the Houston Housing Authority, Guest Blogs for USICH
In November, the Houston Housing Authority (HHA) announced along with Mayor Annise Parker and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee that we would dedicate 1,000 units of project-based vouchers to helping end homelessness here in Houston.
Project-based vouchers are a powerful tool that can be used to create and sustain a homeless response system in any community. Housing Authorities are allowed to convert up to 20 percent of their Housing Choice budget authority into vouchers that are attached to a project. By attaching the voucher to the project, developers can depend on a steady stream of operating subsidy at market rate rents - while serving households who typically have extremely low incomes. This level of subsidy serves as a real incentive for developers to create permanent supportive housing. HUD has given Housing Authorities quite a bit of flexibility in designing local criteria for the award of project-based vouchers. In Houston's case, we have determined that project-based vouchers are a powerful tool that can be used in the fight to end homelessness. We are leveraging this tool by creating a preference for developers who are serving those experiencing homelessness and providing permanent supportive housing so tenants can be successful in their transition from living on the streets or in their cars to living in a home of their own.
Opening Doors Together: Strategies for Integrating Education and Housing Services
"Understanding SSA's Policy on Drug Addiction and Alcoholism and its Impact on Disability Determinations"
Health Care for the Homeless Council and the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Webinar
Wednesday, June 5
"Opening Doors to Innovation: How to Improve Client Outcomes Using Housing First"