Category Archives: Best Practices

Successful Housing First training

Thank you to all organizers, presenters and attendees at our Housing First training on October 16.  We heard great stuff about our local successes, advice for improving our work, and inspiration from Connecticut and Portland, Oregon.  Over the next weeks, we’ll post presentations from the training, as well as a survey seeking your ideas about future training events the Network and CoCs can bring to our region.


USICH on the FY2014 COC Competition

The USICH has released its own guidance on the FY201 CoC NOFA competition on its blog. (Which is a great resource–if you have not already, consider subscribing!) The summary is contained below in its entirety.

On September 16, 2014, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Funds in the FY 2013 – FY 2014 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition (FY 2014 CoC Program Funding Notice). This NOFA further advances the policy priorities outlined in the combined FY 2013 – FY 2014 CoC Program Competition NOFA, which focus on accelerating progress on the goals of Opening Doors: the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

continuums of care that reallocated funds FY 2013In FY 2013, budget cuts through sequestration forced CoCs to make difficult choices regarding the selection of projects. HUD and USICH called on CoCs to allocate resources towards evidence-informed models that employ a Housing First approach like permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing as much as possible. CoCs heeded and responded to this call. As shown in the chart, two-thirds of CoCs reallocated funds to create new permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, or both. Although these choices were no doubt difficult to make, investing in what works is always the right thing to do for people experiencing homelessness and for communities.

The FY 2014 Funding Notice asks CoCs to continue investing in what works and to target interventions appropriately to needs. It calls on CoCs to make the final push to reach our goal of ending chronic homelessness, make greater progress on family homelessness, and build the partnerships needed to reach and engage Veterans and youth experiencing homelessness in services.

Although the policy priorities and many aspects of this NOFA remain the same as in FY 2013, there are also some changes and new elements. Here are some key highlights that CoCs should know:

  • New $40 million permanent supportive housing bonus – The FY 2014 competition continues the strong emphasis on the creation of permanent supportive housing to end chronic homelessness, which is part of our interagency strategy to achieve this goal in 2016. This strategy entails fully leveraging existing resources (CoC Program funds, Housing Choice Vouchers, Medicaid) to increase the supply of permanent supportive housing, improving the targeting and prioritization of people experiencing chronic homelessness in existing permanent supportive housing, and requesting additional resources from Congress, specifically $301 million in HUD’s budget to create an additional 37,000 supportive housing units. While the fate of this request rests with Congress, we must do everything we can to break the tragic and costly cycle of chronic homelessness.This bonus will do just that. HUD anticipates this bonus will create over 5,000 new units of permanent supportive housing. Additional permanent supportive housing units can be created through reallocations. CoCs will compete for the bonus by demonstrating that they are prioritizing people experiencing chronic homelessness and people with high needs for existing turnover permanent supportive housing units, employing a Housing First approach in permanent supportive housing, and leveraging other resources, including Medicaid, for supportive services. CoCs that scored well in the FY 2013 competition will also have an advantage.
  • Reallocations – There is once again a strong emphasis on reallocations. As in FY 2013, HUD is allowing reallocations of funds to new permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness and rapid re-housing for families with children. As with the last competition, HUD and USICH encourage CoCs to take full advantage of reallocations, shifting funds away from underperforming or less cost-effective programs and towards these evidence-informed models. Reallocations will help communities make the system changes needed to end family homelessness as outlined in Family Connection. USICH is releasing a reallocation tool in the next few days that will help CoCs understand reallocations.
  • Tiering and Project Priorities – HUD is once again asking CoCs to rank projects into two tiers with Tier 1 being equal to the CoC’s Annual Renewal Demand (ARD) less 2 percent. HUD will also once again select projects based on the project priorities included in FY 2013.
  • No CoC Application required; FY 2013 score carries forward – As HUD explained in the FY 2013 NOFA, the FY 2013 and FY 2014 funding are considered part of a combined competition. Therefore, no CoC Application (formerly Exhibit 1) is required. Instead, the CoC score received in the FY 2013 round carries forward to the FY 2014 round and will affect a CoC’s chances of receiving projects in Tier 2 and for obtaining the permanent supportive housing bonus.
  • New guidance and resources available – To assist CoCs to both respond to this competition and implement the changes outlined in the last NOFA, HUD and USICH have issued new guidance and resources. First, to assist CoCs to implement the prioritization of people experiencing chronic homelessness in permanent supportive housing, HUD issued Notice CPD-14-012: Prioritizing Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Other Vulnerable Homeless Persons in Permanent Supportive Housing and Recordkeeping Requirements for Documenting Chronic Homeless Status. To provide clarity on these two approaches, HUD also issued briefs on both Housing First and rapid re-housing. As noted above, USICH will be releasing a guide to funding reallocations in the CoC Program competition in the next few days. In addition, USICH will be posting a new prioritization analysis tool that helps communities determine to what extent they can achieve the goal of ending chronic homelessness by prioritizing people experiencing chronic homelessness in existing permanent supportive housing units that turnover, and how many new permanent supportive housing units are needed. In addition, USICH, with help from HUD and HHS, developed the Services in the CoC Program tool, which helps CoCs make strategic decisions about project services costs or Supportive Services Only grants and identify alternative Federal funding sources that can cover these costs and services.

We hope CoCs will see this Funding Notice as a strong message that the goals we set for ending homelessness through Opening Doors are promises we fully intend to keep. If CoCs respond to this NOFA in the same way that they did with the FY 2013 funding round, I have confidence that we will see results. The goals of ending homelessness among Veterans and people experiencing chronic homelessness are within reach. We are marching in double time to finish the job on these goals while deepening our progress on ending homelessness among families, youth, and all people. The progress we make on our nearer term goals and in every funding competition will build further confidence in the public eye that an end to homelessness is possible and that we know how to make this a reality for all Americans.

One in Four Convening: Best/Next Practices for Serving Unaccompanied Homeless Women

One in Four Convening



Inaugural Convening of Programs that Serve Unaccompanied Women

Thursday, October 23, 2014 – Friday, October 24, 2014

Harvard University

More information and registration

2 full days of ideas & inspiration . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2014 (full day to 7 pm)) -to- Friday, October 24, 2014 (full day to 7 pm)

One in Four Convening Faculty

Lisa Watson, Downtown Women’s Center, Los Angeles, a nationally recognized program for women on Skid Row. DWC’s initiatives include a Day Center and permanent supportive housing, along with a community-based needs assessment and a national survey of best practices in serving unaccompanied women.

Roseanna H. Means, MD, Women of Means, a gender-specific and barrier-free medical access model for homeless women, with volunteers physicians and specialists serving seven Boston area shelters.

Dr. Carol L.M. Caton, Columbia University Medical Center, on research on homeless women, chronic homelessness. and behavioral and primary health issues.

Vincent Kane, Director, VA National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, on planning to end homelessness, VA resources for housing and services, and initiatives targeted to homeless women veterans.

Julie Batten, Glass House Shelter Project in Massachusetts, on her work bringing accredited college level English courses into homeless shelters to encourage residents, through narrative discussion and personal essay, to see themselves as part of the larger collective. Battens teaches accredited courses through Salem State University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Jean-Michel Giraud, Friendship Place, Washington, DC, on ending homelessness through a focus on program re-design for consumer empowerment and unaccompanied young women in the Under Thirty program.

Dr. Monica Bharel, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, on research, strategies, and opportunities to end homelessness through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, and issues of aging in the homeless population.


Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138  


Philip F. Mangano
The American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness (ART)

Registration Fee is $200 [$250 after September 24]

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Zero: 2016 – What does zero look like?

The Hampden County CoC will be deciding on September 19 if we will be part of the Zero: 2016 campaign.

The Zero: 2016 campaign is the national initiative to meet key milestones in ending homelessness:

  • Zero veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, and
  • Zero chronic homelessness by the end of 2016.

We all know that homelessness is not static, and that there are new people experiencing housing crisis and becoming homeless all the time.  So what does zero homelessness mean?

The folks at Community Solutions (creators of the Zero: 2016 campaign have provided the answer. New guidelines released today help communities understand what it means to get to zero.  Read the guidelines for more, but here’s the quick answer: the community is housing as many or more of the target population each month–on an ongoing basis–as the number of that population is counted on the night of the point-in-time count. So, if our community is housing 22 veterans a month and we count 17 on the night of the point-in-time count, we’ve reached zero.  For people in the target population who become homeless, this would mean that, in general, they would be housed within the first month of becoming homeless.

Tomorrow (9/10) at 3:30 pm, Community Solutions will host a final Q & A about the campaign and the metrics for reaching zero.  Anyone interested can register for the webinar here.