Hampden County Continuum of Care

Ending homelessness one person at a time

2013 HUD Continuum of Care NOFA

There are significant changes in this year’s CoC NOFA, and this message highlights major changes. There will be more information to follow, particularly for existing providers, the CoC Application Committee, and providers interested in applying for new funds.
Funding for New Projects Unclear
It is not immediately clear whether we will be able to fund any new projects this year.  The NOFA states that there are no bonus projects this year, and that the only funding that will be available for new projects in a CoC is if the CoC decides not to renew an existing project.  However, because our CoC is not spending its full pro rata allocation each year, there is a chance that we may still be able to fund new projects using these funds. I am hoping that HUD can give us guidance on this quickly, so that we will better understand the likelihood for new funding.  In addition, HUD is urging CoCs and providers to reconsider all existing programs and retool or terminate programs that are underperforming.  If the CoC decides not to fund, or not to fully fund, any existing projects, this could make funding available for new projects.
Limits on Types of New Projects
If we are able to apply for new funds, there are only two types of projects that are allowable: (1) Permanent Supportive Housing for chronically homeless families, and (2) Rapid Rehousing for families with children.
Existing Projects at Risk
The Hampden County CoC will seek $2.2 million in annual renewal funds for 16 programs that provide critically needed programs for homeless individuals and families.  We risk losing 5% of our grant–about $112,000–if we fail to meet minimum scoring criteria.  Loss of this amount of funds could result in our CoC losing one or more programs, because a number of programs have annual CoC-funded budgets less than this amount.
Two Funding Rounds in One Application
CoCs will submit a regular application for FY13 funds, and the scoring of that application will be used to determine the allocation of FY14 funds; the shortened FY14 competition will begin soon after Congress approves a budget. One thing this means for CoCs is that the score we obtain on our application will impact us for two funding rounds.
Emphasis on Chronic Homelessness & Housing First
HUD is strongly emphasizing the federal plan to end homelessness, and particularly the goal–and strategies–to end chronic homelessness by 2015.  Scoring this year includes strong encouragement for the CoC and its providers to:
  • Use all available PSH units (new units or turnover) for chronically homeless persons, even if the units are not dedicated for that population;
  • Operate at least 75% of all CoC programs as Housing First projects, which do not require sobriety or mental health treatment as a condition of acceptance; and
  • Demonstrate use of strategies that target assistance to the hardest to serve.
 New Performance Metrics
The performance of the CoC as a whole is being measured by new metrics, which evaluate our success in maintaining housing stability and increasing both earned income and income from benefits.  The standards are set high, and we do not currently meet them.  In order to score well on this application, we will need to create a plan to meet them.  Here are two new key metrics:
  • The CoC’s rate of housing stability–the number of participants currently in permanent housing or who have exited from our programs to permanent housing in the last year, divided by all program participants.  This metric strongly discourages transitional housing.
  • The rate at which CoC participants increase income between program entry to program exit.
Stay Tuned for More!
This year’s application will require significant collaborative planning and decision-making.  Please watch for more messages and meeting invitations.

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