Thanks to One Family for this update on the HomeBASE program:
One Family was recently informed that DHCD is planning to suspend intakes into HomeBASE due to lack of funding for the program. When the suspension goes into effect HomeBASE will no longer be issuing rental assistance or household assistance at the front door. Families who are eligible under the current Emergency Assistance regulations – those who are homeless due to domestic violence; fire or natural disaster; and families with parents under the age of 21 will eligible for EA shelters, but those families seeking assistance who do not fall into the EA eligible categories will not be eligible for shelter.
DHCD originally intended for this suspension of intake to go into effect today, however this decision has been postponed for the moment in order to examine possible course corrections. As of November 1, all of the money appropriated to HomeBASE will have been obligated.
The Governor has filed a $39.2 million supplemental budget that will give the Emergency Assistance program an additional $21 million to cover shelter and related costs. HomeBASE will be given an additional $18.2 million to cover the costs of current participants and to provide access to the program for families in shelters, motels, and those transitioning from flex funds and HPRP. If approved by the legislature, this would bring combined spending for both programs to over $176 million for FY2012. The cost of operating both EA and HomeBASE for all of FY 2012 in its current form with similar levels of demand is projected it be $220-230 million.
In the nearly three months of HomeBASE operation, double the projected numbers of families have come to the front door seeking assistance. Additionally far more families than expected received rental assistance rather than house hold assistance. Together these factors have created a financial crisis for this program.
The level of demand on this program speaks to the tremendous need for affordable housing in the Commonwealth and families’ desire for a housing option to their crisis. We must continue to work together as a community to find solutions so that the doors to HomeBASE are not closed permanently and families experiencing homelessness are assisted with a family-specific housing option.
One Family calls on all stakeholders to work together to make recommendations to DHCD on ways address the fiscal crisis within HomeBASE and make improvement to the program so that HomeBASE remains a viable option for the future.