Category Archives: Continuum of Care

Hampden County planning for the 2016 Massachusetts Youth Count

A planning group met this week to map out our strategy for the 2016 Massachusetts Youth Count, which will take place during the first two weeks of May. Our next meeting will take place Wednesday, April 20, 10 am at PACE, 91 School St., Springfield.  Please join if you want to participate in planning for the count.  Westfield folks are connecting separately, led by Ann Lentini and Peter Miller.

There will be three parts to our strategy:

  1. Magnet events, advertised by posters and flyers

Schools, providers, and others will direct youth to go to events where they will receive food, gift cards, and connections to resources; youth will be asked to complete survey at event. Events will be scheduled at:

  • Gandara Family Resource Center (18 Gaucher St. Springfield, MA, 01109) – event to attract high school students
  • STCC – event at lunch time, to attract STCC students
  • Gandara Youth Development Center (306 Race St, Holyoke, MA 01040) – event to attract high school students
  • HCC – event at lunch time, on the campus, to attract HCC students
  • Westfield – TBD 
  1. Community/service providers asking youth to complete surveys

Agencies that may encounter youth and young adults who are unstably housed will be asked to request that those youth complete surveys, and will be given gift cards as incentives for youth. We are building out our contact lists for this part of the strategy–you can help by checking your town and letting us know who we are missing: Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, West Springfield, and Westfield. (Provide contact info to Gerry McCafferty).

  1. Outreach to youth at bus station, malls, library, places open 24 hours, etc. by volunteers and paid youth ambassadors

A combination of agency staff, volunteers and youth ambassadors will outreach to youth at locations where they would be expected to be. We expect that we will identify youth ambassadors through Gandara Shine, Roca, and other agencies, and they will be paid for their work.

Please contact Gerry McCafferty for more information.

HUD Announces CoC Grants for Tier 1 and Planning

HUD sent out the following by email today (please note that this announcement does not cover renewal projects that were submitted in Tier 2!):

Earlier today, Secretary Julian Castro announced $1.6 billion in grants to provide funding to 6,400 local homeless housing and service programs across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. View a complete list of all the state and local homeless projects awarded funding.

The Tier 1 funding announcement that includes Renewal, New, Continuum of Care (CoC) Planning, and Unified Funding Agency (UFA) Costs, support the Obama Administration’s efforts to end homelessness by providing critically needed housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. HUD will award approximately $300 million in Tier 2 grants in the spring to support hundreds more local programs.

“A safe, stable home is the foundation for opportunity in all of our lives,” said Secretary Castro. “That’s why we’re continuing to challenge communities to deploy proven strategies to help people experiencing homelessness find a place to call home. Through unprecedented partnership among every level of government and private, non-profit and philanthropic organizations, we know this goal is not just aspirational – it’s achievable.”

“More than 20 communities and two entire states have leveraged the leadership of their Continuums of Care to build systems that have ended homelessness among our nation’s veterans,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Working together with state and local leaders, CoCs continue to prove that a combination of the right strategies, enough resources, and urgent action can end homelessness in America for everyone.”

This year’s grants are being awarded in the most competitive environment HUD has experienced in the CoC grant program. To compete most effectively, communities made very challenging decisions, often shifting funds from existing projects to create new ones that will have a more substantial and lasting impact on homeless populations.

Projects that straddled Tier 1 and Tier 2 will be announced along with other Tier 2 projects.

Adjustments to Funding

The conditional award amounts included for renewal projects may be different than the request that was submitted in the project application. The McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by the HEARTH Act, requires HUD to make certain adjustments to funding prior to award. These adjustments were made after the tiers were established and are as follows:

  1. Funds awarded for rental assistance were adjusted by applying the Fair Market Rent (FMR) in effect at the time of application submission (including decreases). View the FY 2016 Fair Market Rent Limits.
  2. Funds awarded for operating and leasing in permanent housing projects were increased based on the average increase in FMR amounts within a CoC’s geographic area, weighted for population density. Because operating and leasing costs do not decrease relative to rent amounts for specific units, adjustments were not made to these costs if the FMRs decreased in the geographic area.
  3. In addition to these required adjustments, projects were reviewed to ensure that they were consistent with the approved Grants Inventory Worksheet and CoC Program interim rule.

If you have additional questions or require more specific information, please submit a question to the e-snaps HUD Exchange Ask A Question (AAQ) portal or contact your local HUD CPD field office.

Springfield/Hampden County Funding Opportunities for Homeless Service Providers

There are several open funding opportunities for Springfield-Hampden County providers, as described below.

Opportunities Related to the EOHHS RFR

The Springfield-Hampden County Continuum of Care, through its fiscal agency the City of Springfield, has released two Requests for Proposals, seeking organizations to carry out homelessness prevention/rapid rehousing activities. The CoC’s funding of these activities is contingent on the CoC being awarded funds in response to its application to the Commonwealth’s recent RFR. The CoC RFPs were released Feb. 8, 2016, and responses are due back to the City of Springfield Office of Procurement March 4, 2016 by 2 pm.

  1. Administration of Flexible Funds for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing  The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to administer flexible funds for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing. The agencies will serve as a pass-through for these funds, and there is no funding available for staff. Agencies will receive 5% of funds awarded for administrative costs related to administration of the program, Agencies must have a plan to cover/provide intake for the flexible funds in Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield and Springfield, as well as for victims of domestic violence–this can be done through partnerships with other agencies that will serve as Intake Agencies.
  2. Homeless Youth Initiative The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to operate housing stabilization, homelessness diversion and rapid rehousing for youth aged 18-24. The specific activities the CoC seeks are: employment of a Youth Stabilization Specialist; administration of flexible funds to prevent youth homelessness; operation of a Kinship Care program; employment of a Youth Rehousing Specialist, and operation of a rapid rehousing program for youth.

Springfield Emergency Solutions Grant Program

The City of Springfield has released a Request for Proposals seeking providers to operate activities under the federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. Eligible activities include homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, outreach services and operating support for existing emergency shelter. ESG funds are provided to the City to serve Springfield residents. This RFP was released February 1, 2016 and responses are due back to the Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield, on March 1, 2016 by noon. The RFP may be picked up in the City of Springfield Office of Housing, or may be obtained by email by a request to Gerry McCafferty.