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Wednesday, February 21, 2018


2016 HUD Application Deadline

Posted by OutWayne-COC on August 24, 2016

The 2016 HUD applications are due in e-snaps by 5 pm on Thursday, August 25.

CoC Competition Focus: Housing First

Posted by OutWayne-COC on August 23, 2016

Housing First is a proven approach in which all people experiencing homeless are believed to be housing ready and are provided with permanent housing immediately and with few to no preconditions, behavioral contingencies, or barriers. Effectively implementing a Housing First approach involves prioritizing people with the highest needs and vulnerabilities, engaging more landlords and property owners, and making our projects client-centered spaces without barriers to entering and remaining in the project.

This Competition Focus message provides information and resources to help Continuums of Care (CoCs) and stakeholders understand the FY 2016 policy priority of using a Housing First approach.

Adopt Client-Centered Service Methods

At its core, a Housing First approach should start where the program participant is and should ensure that individuals and families are provided with housing choices and with access to voluntary supportive services that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual or family presenting for services and that will assist program participants achieve their goals. The services offered should be determined through a collaborative process with the program participant and should focus on the program participant’s preferences and goals. Because of this, the supportive services offered will likely change over time as the preferences and goals of the program participant change; however, program participants should not be required to participate in services and cannot be required to participate in disability-related services. See the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Person- and Family-centered Care and Peer Support webpage for more information and resources about adopting client-centered service methods.

Remove Barriers to Entry

Systems and projects following a Housing First model should have minimal barriers to entering those projects. CoCs should review project-level eligibility criteria for all projects within the CoC and work with the recipients to remove any barriers to accessing housing and services. For example, persons experiencing homelessness should not be screened out of or discouraged from participating in programs because they have poor credit history, or lack income or employment. Additionally, people with addictions to alcohol or substances should not be required to cease active use before accessing housing and services. See HUD’s Coordinated Entry Policy Brief for more information on how coordinated entry processes can help remove barriers at a system level as well.

The Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) released a Policy Brief in 2015 reporting on the Family Options Study—a long-term, multi-site, experimental study that demonstrated that requiring additional eligibility criteria beyond the statutory or regulatory requirements does not increase the success of programs. The study highlighted that permanent housing like Public Housing, vouchers, and Rapid Re-housing (RRH) have lower barriers to entry, whereas transitional housing programs often place additional barriers to receiving housing and services, and these additional eligibility criteria did not result in fewer returns to homelessness or better family well-being outcomes.

In a recent In Focus message, we also discussed recovery housing programs and how some programs have successfully implemented Housing First principles. For instance, Ed Blackburn from Central City Concern discusses in a guest bloghow recovery housing works within a Housing First model. The key elements include ensuring that entry into the program is not predicated on a set amount of clean time, strict income requirements, background checks, or other barriers, and ensuring that drug or alcohol relapse does not necessarily mean eviction from the program. Relapse management takes into account the realities of addiction and ensures that clients are held accountable within a framework that allows for mistakes along the way.

Engage Landlords and Property Owners

In order to ensure units are readily available for program participants, CoCs and providers should be identifying and recruiting landlords of units in the geographic area so that when an individual or family needs housing, potential units that those individuals or families may choose from have already been identified, speeding up the housing process. Landlord engagement can be undertaken by each homeless assistance provider or consolidated so that one or a few organizations engage landlords on behalf of many providers.

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has posted a number of resources to help providers and CoCs effectively engage landlords. Check out their listing of resources, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama’s video encouraging landlords and property owners to get involved in ending Veteran homelessness.

Use Data to Quickly and Stably House Homeless Persons

Programs that use a Housing First approach should be moving individuals and families quickly into permanent housing. CoCs can measure quality of housing first approaches by evaluating the length of time it takes for programs to move households into permanent housing.

CoCs can get an overall sense of how quickly the entire system moves households into permanent housing by analyzingMeasure 1 of HUD’s System Performance Measures. If the CoC is going to truly lower the average length of time homeless across the system, the CoC and individual providers will have to focus on those who have been homeless the longest periods of time. These individuals and families typically have high vulnerabilities and service needs, and also may have characteristics, such as substance use disorders, criminal records, or resistance to services, that result in their being screened out of other programs.

Strong evidence, such as the recently published Housing First Fact Sheet from the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), and the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s (CSH) NYC FUSE Evaluation: Decreasing Costs and Ending Homelessness, shows that people with long histories of homelessness and chronic disabilities who were served in permanent supportive housing using a Housing First approach has shown a number of positive outcomes, including significant declines in homelessness, arrests, hospitalization, and emergency room visits as well as declines in the public costs of shelter, corrections, and health care.

What You Can Do to Evaluate Your Program(s)

Our partners at USICH created a useful Housing First Checklist: A Practical Tool for Assessing Housing First in Practice. We encourage providers to use the checklist to evaluate whether you are using a Housing First approach.

Take this opportunity to evaluate your project, and reflect on whether you have adopted client-centered service methods. Ask yourself:

  • Does my project rely on predetermined goals that all clients must meet?
  • Does my project require participation in services?
  • Does my project evict clients for use of alcohol or drugs without opportunity for managing a relapse?
  • Does my project evict clients for non-payment of rent without an opportunity for repayment plans or interventions to assist clients to pay on time?

If you answer “yes” to these questions, your project should take steps to improve your implementation of Housing First.

We encourage CoCs and providers to share these resources among community partners and utilize them to continue the work of implementing Housing First practices. With your commitment and support, we will end homelessness for those with the highest vulnerabilities and service needs.

Thank you,

Norm Suchar and Abby Miller
Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

Additional Resources

Download this CoC Competition Focus: Housing First

The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) Application is Now Available

Posted by OutWayne-COC on

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) has been posted to the YHDP page on the HUD Exchange.

Submission Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2016 at 11:59:59 PM EDT

  • YHDP is an exciting new initiative designed to reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness in 10 participating communities (4 will be rural).
  • HUD strongly encourages all communities to consider applying. Applications will be submitted (and not through e-snaps).
  • Carefully and thoroughly read the YHDP NOFA to clearly understand the program expectations, requirements, rating and ranking factors before applying.
  • This application is for your community’s participation in the initiative only. Project funding applications will only be submitted by communities selected to participate.
  • Participate in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) webinar HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program: Strategies for Success on September 15, 2016 at 3:00 PM EDT.Register for the webinar.
  • This application must be submitted by a community’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Collaborative Applicant, but must be co-developed with a broad array of community partners, including a youth advisory board*, a state or local child welfare agency*, youth homelessness housing and service providers, local schools districts, workforce development organizations, law enforcement, judges, corrections, and more.
    *formal participation agreement required.
  • Links to the NOFA, the application, FAQs, the AAQ portal, an introductory video, and additional resources can found on the YHDP page.

Listserv Communications

All information related to the YHDP NOFA 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,, to them to register for the listserv messages as this is the primary 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 Please be sure to add 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.


If you have questions concerning technical issues or the content of the YHDP NOFA, please submit them to the CoC ProgramAsk A Question (AAQ) portal on the HUD Exchange website.Make sure that the text of your question includes “YHDP” so that it will be appropriately routed to the YHDP team. To submit a question to the CoC ProgramAAQ 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 PMEastern Time, Monday through Friday, except for weekends and federal holidays. Additionally, starting 2 business days prior to the application deadline, the AAQ will respond only to emergency technical support questions up to the deadline ofMonday, November 28, 2016 at 11:59:59 PM EDT.

CoC Competition Focus: Ending Family Homelessness

Posted by OutWayne-COC on

In our most recent SNAPS In Focus message on ending family homelessness, we described specific steps communities can take and interventions communities can use to end family homelessness. Our FY 2016 NOFA policy priority to end family homelessness emphasizes the importance of quickly housing families using rapid re-housing. While most families can benefit from rapid re-housing, some families need additional support and a community needs to be able to assess when a family might need other types of assistance and then be able to provide it.

This Competition Focus message provides information and resources to help Continuums of Care (CoCs) and stakeholders understand the FY 2016 policy priority ending family homelessness.

Developing an Appropriate Crisis Response System

Many families experiencing homelessness have young children and CoCs grapple with how to make their crisis response system, emergency shelters in particular, developmentally appropriate, safe, and healthy for young children. CoCs can use the Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Sheltersfrom our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create shelter facilities that are safe anddevelopmentally appropriate for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in five areas: Health and Safety, Wellness and Development, Workforce Standards and Training, Programming, and Food and Nutrition.

Many families, including families with young children, experience homelessness as a result of domestic violence or have a history of domestic violence. These families have experienced trauma and it is imperative that the CoC’s crisis response system is designed to serve homeless families fleeing domestic violence by protecting their privacy and safety and to prevent further trauma.

Trauma-informed practices that are sensitive to the lived experience of all people presenting for services need to be incorporated into every aspect of the crisis response system, including the coordinated entry process. For example, the assessment tool and process should not re-traumatize the individual or family, must inform the person up-front about how the information will be used, and must allow them the option to refuse to answer questions or choose not to disclose personal information.

The coordinated entry process must also include protocols to ensure the safety of all individuals and families seeking assistance, and these protocols must specifically address how individuals and families fleeing domestic violence will have safe and confidential access to the coordinated entry process along with safe and secure referrals to appropriate housing and services. Further, the process must include procedures for how referrals will be made to victim service providers that are not participating in the coordinated entry process. CoCs should work with victim service providers in their community to determine the most appropriate procedures to implement. For additional guidance, please review the HUD published FAQs onCoordinated Entry and Victim Service Providers.

Assessing a Family’s Needs and Making Appropriate Referrals

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) published a Family Connection tool detailing actions for federal, state, and local agencies can take to end family homelessness. One key area of action is developing a coordinated entry system that helps CoCs identify families needing assistance and quickly helps families with the appropriate housing assistance. The Coordinated Entry Policy Brief describes the qualities of an effective coordinated entry system and how CoCs can prioritize certain populations.

To help us understand what interventions are most effective in housing families and preventing returns to homelessness, HUD commissioned the Family Options Study that measured different housing interventions in 12 communities. The Family Options Study found both the cost effectiveness of rapid re-housing relative to transitional housing and the effectiveness of permanent housing subsidies for keeping families housed. To end family homelessness, communities must be able to provide permanent housing subsidies, permanent supportive housing, and rapid re-housing for families. CoCs should use their coordinated entry processes to determine which of these housing options is most appropriate for each family.

Ensuring all Appropriate Housing Interventions are Available to Families

Previous CoC NOFAs and the current FY 2016 NOFA have allowed and encouraged CoCs to strategically use funds available by creating new projects through reallocation. Many CoCs reallocated funds to create new rapid re-housing projects for families with children as part of the FY 2015 Competition and those projects will begin coming online in the coming months. We are excited about the number of families for which these projects will end their homelessness. For those CoCs that did not reallocate in the FY 2015 Competition, or who continue to have low-performing projects, we continue to encourage you to consider using the reallocation process in the FY 2016 Competition to create rapid re-housing for families with children. For CoCs that created new rapid re-housing projects in previous competitions, or for those that are considering doing so in the FY 2016 Competition, the Rapid Re-Housing Brief gives a thorough overview of the rapid re-housing intervention, including core program components and considerations when implementing those projects.

Rapid re-housing is an effective housing intervention for most families because services in rapid re-housing are tailored to meet each family’s diverse needs. This includes providing access to wrap around mainstream services needed by the family. It can also be an effective way to end homelessness for victims of domestic violence as described in the webinar, Rapid Re-Housing with DV Survivors: Approaches that Work, published by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) from their 2014 Conference.

For some families, permanent supportive housing or a permanent housing subsidy are more appropriate interventions. HUD encourages CoCs to work with local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and has published Resources for PHA and CoC Collaboration to End Family Homelessness. Many PHAs have established preferences for individuals and families experiencing homelessness and these resources can help you determine how to establish one in your community.

Providing Wrap-Around Services

While the provision of housing will end a family’s occasion of homelessness, the provision of services is often necessary to help families maintain their housing. There are several mainstream programs administered by our federal partners that can be particularly important to connect families to, including Medicaid, behavioral health supports, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), domestic violence supports, Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), Head Start and Early Head Start, Healthy Start, and the Federal Home Visiting Program.

For example, the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)provides subsidized child-care services and helps improve the quality of those services. These services can support children’s development and allow family members to pursue employment or educational opportunities, which ultimately increase the housing stability of the entire family.

Head Start (and Early Head Start) serves children from birth to age five, pregnant women, and their families. The children of families experiencing homelessness are categorically eligible for Head Start and are identified and prioritized for enrollment. Children and their families receive services related to nutrition, developmental, medical, and dental screenings, immunizations, mental health and social services referrals, family engagement, and sometimes transportation.

The Federal Home Visiting and Healthy Start programs can provide prenatal and postpartum programs, parenting skill-building, child care, and other supportive services. February’sOpportunities for CoC Partnerships with Home Visiting Programsdetailed these programs and provided information on how to incorporate them into CoC projects, possibly as match funds.

Finally, CoCs can connect families fleeing domestic violence to case managers and advocates funded through HHS’s Family Violence Prevention Programs or Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Violence Against Women. Many communities have resources that can assist victims of crime financially. Those programs are funded through the DOJ’s Office of Victims of Crime. CoCs looking to connect families experiencing homelessness and fleeing domestic violence to appropriate services should contact their state coalition for referrals to local victim service providers in their area.

Finally, in a previous SNAPS Weekly Focus message, we’ve discussed the important role that philanthropy can play in helping communities end homelessness and it is important to think about the local philanthropic resources that may be available within your community to end homelessness. These resources, combined with other state and local resources, can help provide a comprehensive package of wrap around supportive services to families with children to help make homelessness amongst families rare, brief, and nonrecurring.

Providing services to both the adults and the children, in what is known as the Two Generation approach, helps families to thrive. A child’s development is linked to the well-being of the adults in their lives, and children thrive when those adults thrive; likewise, parents can concentrate on employment or education when children are safe and doing well.

The resources and tools listed are just a few examples of those that are available for CoCs, recipients, and other stakeholders to use when developing projects and systems to combat family homelessness. We will continue to highlight additional resources as they become available.

As always, we thank you for your tremendous commitment to ending homelessness.

Norm Suchar and Ebony Rankin
Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS)


Download this CoC Competition Focus: Ending Family Homelessness.

CoC Ranking Meeting Summary & Ranking Results for Project Applications – Posted 8/22/2016

Posted by OutWayne-COC on August 22, 2016

Meeting Summary

Ranking Results for Project Application

Spirit of Achievement & Champion of the Cause Nomination Forms

Posted by OutWayne-COC on August 19, 2016

Here are the links for the Spirit of Achievement & Champion of the Cause Nomination Forms:

Spirit of Achievement Client Nomination Form

Champion of the Cause Partner Nomination Form

Strategies for Ranking Success

Posted by OutWayne-COC on August 9, 2016

Please view this document for Strategies for Ranking Success

Finalize the FY 2016 HUD Project Rankings

Posted by OutWayne-COC on August 4, 2016

The CoC will meet to finalize the FY 2016 HUD Project Rankings on Thursday, August 11 from 1 – 5pm at Wayne County Community College District  Downriver Campus 21000 Northline Road

Taylor, MI 48180 in Conference Room #5 (second floor).  You will receive information for review prior to the meeting.