2014 Continuum of Care Program Request for Proposal

Posted on 7/28/2014 10:48:01 AM

Continuum of Care members,

The County of Riverside Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), the Collaborative Applicant for the county's Continuum of Care, will be releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit new projects to be included in the 2014 Continuum of Care Program Application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

We are inviting CoC members and the public to provide input and comments on the suggested guidelines to be included in the RFP.  We anticipate this RFP will be released sometime in August, 2014. The amount of funding to be awarded through this RFP is approximately $417,370.

The comment period will be open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 4.  You may provide comments via e-mail to JKOWALSK@riversidedpss.org.

The following guidelines are proposed to be included in the 2014 Continuum of Care Program Request for Proposal:

Program Description: The CoC Program is designed to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; to provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, states, and local governments to quickly re-house the homeless while minimizing the trauma and isolation caused by homelessness; to promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by the homeless; and to optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness.

FY 2013/2014 CoC applications submitted to HUD for the CoC Program Competition will be evaluated in part based on the extent to which the CoC demonstrates efforts in place that further the achievement of HUD’s goals through community-level implementation of the homeless policy priorities and activities listed below.

Specifically, the FY 2014 CoC Program Competition prioritizes CoC and project applications that address the goals listed below:

  • Opening Doors: End chronic homelessness by 2015;
  • Opening Doors: End veteran homelessness by 2015;
  • Opening Doors: End family and youth homelessness by 2020.

Below are HUD’s policy priorities, related to these goals, as set forth in the NOFA for the FY 2013 – FY 2014 CoC Program Competition, at pages 9 through 12 (for the full NOFA, go to: https://www.onecpd.info/e-snaps/fy-2013-coc-program-nofa-coc-program-competition/).

1. Strategic Resource Allocation. Each applicant will be evaluated based on how they are addressing the HUD priorities listed above. This includes implementation of proven or promising models, cost effectiveness, and maximizing the use of mainstream benefits and resources that currently exist. This should also include Housing Navigators that will provide street outreach and engagement of the chronically homeless population.

2. Ending Chronic Homelessness by serving the chronically homeless through: 

a. Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) that exclusively serves the chronically homeless, which includes individuals and households with children (chronically homeless and permanent supportive housing are defined at the end of this document) Consistent with HUD guidelines, the chronically homeless includes individuals and families who have a qualifying disabling condition and meet the criteria of chronic homelessness.

b. Targeting: Projects should give priority to the chronically homeless for PSH beds as vacancies become available through turnover. 

c. Implementing a Housing First model of housing assistance that is offered without preconditions (such as sobriety or a minimum income threshold) or service participation requirements; and rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing as primary goals. As stated in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 Continuum of Care Program Competition, “rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing are primary goals. Research shows that it is effective for the chronically homeless with mental health and substance abuse disorders, resulting in fewer inpatient stays and less expensive interventions than other approaches. PSH projects should use a Housing First approach in the design of the program.” For more information about Housing First please see: http://usich.gov/resources/uploads/asset_library/Housing_First_Checklist_FINAL.pdf.

A proposed Housing First approach should connect unsheltered chronically homeless individuals and families with new permanent supportive housing with on-site and off-site supportive services through short-, medium-, or long-term rental assistance and existing permanent supportive housing through other available resources such as HUD-VASH, Shelter Plus Care, vacant permanent supportive housing units, and HOPWA program.

3. Ending Family Homelessness through:

a.  Projects serving families with children should describe how they will use Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) as a model of housing assistance that is designed to assist the homeless, with or without disabilities, move as quickly as possible into permanent housing and achieve stability in that housing. Rapid re-housing assistance is time-limited, individualized, and flexible, and is designed to complement and enhance homeless system performance and the performance of other homeless projects. While it can be used for any homeless person, preliminary evidence indicates that it can be particularly effective for households with children.

As stated in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 Continuum of Care Program Competition, “Rapid Re-Housing is a model of housing assistance that is designed to assist the homeless, with or without disabilities, move as quickly as possible into permanent housing and achieve stability in that housing. Rapid re-housing assistance is time-limited, individualized, and flexible, and is designed to complement and enhance homeless system performance and the performance of other homeless projects. While it can be used for any homeless person, preliminary evidence indicates that it can be particularly effective for households with children.” For more information about rapid re-housing see https://www.onecpd.info/news/snaps-weekly-focus-rapid-re-housing/ and http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/prevention-and-rapid-re-housing.

b. Implementing a Housing First model of housing assistance that is offered without preconditions (such as sobriety or a minimum income threshold) or service participation requirements, and rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing are primary goals. Research shows that it is effective for the chronically homeless with mental health and substance abuse disorders, resulting in fewer inpatient stays and less expensive interventions than other approaches. Rapid Re-housing projects should use a Housing First approach in the design of the program.

A proposed Rapid Re-housing project should use a Housing First approach and connect unsheltered non-chronically homeless families with permanent housing through rapid re-housing assistance that includes short or medium term rental assistance and supportive services during the time of rental assistance and no longer than six months after rental assistance stops. 

Rapid re-housing projects must serve households with children living on the streets or in emergency shelter.

4. Removing Barriers to CoC Resources: Projects should describe how reduced barriers to eligibility will be used to increase access to the services and housing to be provided, including participation and/or use of the following:  

a.    Centralized or Coordinated Assessment System: The County of Riverside Continuum of Care is piloting a Coordinated Intake and Assessment System through the 25 Cities Project, a partnership with HUD and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to eliminate homelessness among veterans by 2015 and chronic homelessness by 2016.  The pilot is in the Greater City of Riverside Area. In October, 2015, the pilot will expand to a minimum of one other region in the county and will be implemented countywide during 2015.  Participating agencies will be responsible for engaging chronically homeless individuals and families through the use of Housing Navigators and a standardized vulnerability assessment and intake process that provides referrals to a centralized housing system that places priority on those who are at highest risk with the most appropriate intervention rather than a "first come, first served” approach.

5.  Maximizing the use of mainstream resources: Projects will be evaluated based on the extent to which they are maximizing the use of all mainstream services available to avoid duplication of services and ensure cost effectiveness and use of resources. Ideally, PSH and RRH projects should demonstrate the effective use of HUD funding for housing-related costs matched with other sources of funding and/or existing community resources for supportive services.

Projects should provide in-reach services for public systems of care that discharge homeless persons such as law enforcement and health care institutions when necessary in order to prevent homeless persons being discharged into homelessness.   

Projects should also demonstrate how they are participating in enrollment and outreach activities to ensure homeless individuals and families are accessing healthcare options through the Affordable Care Act.

Definitions:

Chronically Homeless Individuals and Families

As defined by HUD, chronically homeless includes

1.      “An individual who:

  • is homeless and lives in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter; and
  • Has been homeless and living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter continuously for at least one year or on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years; and
  • Can be diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions: substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability (as defined in section 102 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 15002)), post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairments resulting from brain injury, or chronic physical illness or disability;

2.   An individual who has been residing in an institutional care facility, including a jail, substance abuse or mental health treatment facility, hospital, or other similar facility, for fewer than 90 days and met all of the criteria in paragraph (1) of this definition, before entering that facility; or

3.   A family with an adult head of household (or if there is no adult in the family, a minor head of household) who meets all of the criteria in paragraph (1) of this definition, including a family whose composition has fluctuated while the head of household has been homeless.”

Permanent Supportive Housing

As described in the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act Interim Rule for the Continuum of Care Program, permanent supportive housingmeans permanent housing in which supportive services are provided to assist chronically homeless individuals with a disability, or a family with an adult head of household with a disability, to live independently and maintain their housing.