L/SFR Sneak Preview: HUD Revamps Homelessness Programs

December 13, 2011 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

(This post is excerpted from an upcoming article in Thompson’s Local/State Funding Report. Subscribers can find the rest of the story in the Dec. 19 issue.) The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently issued a number of notices related to its major homelessness programs.

Earlier this month, HUD announced that its Emergency Shelter Grants program has being renamed the Emergency Solutions Grant program, reflecting an expansion of the program’s focus.

While the Emergency Shelter Grants program primarily addressed the needs of homeless people in emergency or transitional shelters, the newly established Emergency Solutions Grant program covers a broader array of emergency shelter and homelessness prevention activities. Those expanded prevention activities include housing relocation and stabilization services and short- and medium-term rental assistance to help people avoid becoming homeless.

The other significant difference between the Emergency Solutions Grant program and its predecessor is that the new program includes rapid re-housing activities, which help people quickly regain stability in permanent housing after a housing crisis and/or homelessness.

In its notice about the Emergency Solutions Grant program, HUD noted that it was closely modeled upon the temporary Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program that was authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Recipients of fiscal year 2011 Emergency Shelter Grant awards are receiving two funding allocations. The first allocations were subject to the regulations of the Emergency Shelter Grants program. The upcoming second allocations only may be used in accordance with the new Emergency Solutions Program regulations – that is, for homelessness prevention assistance, rapid re-housing assistance, Homeless Management Information Systems and administration.

The program’s expanded focus and name change were authorized by the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act).  That act also consolidated three programs administered under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (The Supportive Housing Program, the Shelter Plus Care program and the Moderate Rehabilitation/Single Room Occupancy program) into a single Continuum of Care program to meet the needs of homeless individuals more effectively and efficiently.

The HEARTH Act also authorized the agency to replace its Rural Homelessness Grant program with a new Rural Housing Stability program.  The agency has not yet published the proposed rules for the consolidated Continuum of Care and the Rural Housing Stability programs.

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