HMIS Upgrade Updates

Dear HMIS and CoC Partners,

I know so many of you are and have been working diligently over the last several weeks in direct response to urgent and emerging needs in our homeless communities surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic and your local response. Thank you for all you are doing in the field – I pray that you remain healthy and safe while you are actively working to serve our most vulnerable in PA.

I want to provide you with a short update on where DCED and our partners at Eccovia/ClientTrack are in the upgrade and transition to the new HMIS-ClientTrack.19 to meet HUD’s required coordinated entry data standards. As many of you are likely aware, as a result of the current situation, HUD has extended the deadline for the CES transition from April 1, 2020 to October 1, 2020. While this offered a small amount of breathing room in our upgrade, it has not slowed the activity we are undertaking with Eccovia, because we know how critical some of these upgrades will be to your continued success in utilizing the system locally and becoming confident with the new screens and tools available.

At this time, the tentative plan is to upgrade ClientTrack on or about May 1, 2020. We will be working with our team and CES managers to finalize the HMIS Security Protocols, participate in administrator training at the DCED level and begin a “Train the Trainer” series that will end with direct service providers who use ClientTrack to receive training before the launch.

We are coordinating with Eccovia to provide training dates in mid-late April. Please know that we are mindful of the fluid situation that many of our users are experiencing in the field and we will do our best to be sensitive to that during the training period.

During this extended implementation time-period we have also extended the ability of our ESG subgrantees to submit invoices in HMIS. We will provide notification to subgrantees when the processing of ESG invoices in HMIS will need to be suspended as a result of the upgrade.

Our team is reviewing these timetables weekly and will be sure to keep you informed as we move forward.

Thank you again for your amazing support and for all that you are doing in our communities every day.

All my best to you for continued health and safety.

Kathy Possinger

Eastern PA CoC’s Statement Related to Operating Procedures and COVID-19

The Eastern PA CoC’s Governing Board conducted a teleconference meeting yesterday and are providing the below guidance and resources.

1) No face-to-face CoC-related meetings should occur before May 1st.  Any official meetings of the CoC must be conducted via teleconference or video conference.

2) The CoC’s next General Membership is scheduled to occur April 20th.  This meeting will be conducted as a virtual online meeting with an abbreviated agenda, which will include an opportunity for attendees to converse with one another about their community/ program response to the Coronavirus.

3) In order to share information about resources and current practices, facilitate conversation, etc., a new COVID-19 Workplace page has been established.  Please direct your COVID-19 questions and ideas to this page.  We will be sharing ideas that we have heard from the PA Balance of State CoCs, emergency responses being implemented by CoCs from around the country, new resources made available by HUD and other funders, etc.

  • If you already have a Workplace account and would like to join the COVID-19 Response group, please click this link https://fb.me/g/13n6F2KzE/NEwJHMZC
  • If you do not already have a Workplace account and would like to join the CoC’s online community to receive critical news related to the CoC and COVID-19, please send an email to Brendan Auman at breauman@pa.gov that indicates our name, email, and county that you work in to be added.

We know this is a stressful time for everyone and hope that the new Workplace page provides us with an opportunity to support each other as we learn to navigate through our new reality.  Please join the conversation and stay safe.

Eastern PA CoC Governance Charter Updates Open for Comment through April 6, 2020 at 5pm

HUD’s CoC Interim Rule, under section § 578.7 Responsibilities of the Continuum of Care, requires the CoC to annually update the CoC’s Governance Charter.

The Governance Committee has reviewed and updated the Charter and is publishing the draft version to the CoC for review and comment. You can view the proposed draft charter here.

Please review the document and send any comments, questions, or concerns to the CoC’s email address at easterncoc@pennsylvaniacoc.org by April 6, 2020 at 5 p.m.

The final vote to approve the Charter will take place at our next General Membership meeting which is currently scheduled to take place on April 20, 2020. Please note that the CoC’s Governing Board will be meeting on March 19th to determine if this meeting will be postponed or only occur via teleconference. More information will be provided as details are finalized

Infectious Disease Preparedness for Homeless Assistance Providers Webinar Update: Materials Posted and Upcoming Office Hours

HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) apologizes for the technical difficulties and cancellation of the Infectious Disease Preparedness for Homeless Assistance Providers and Their Partners webinar scheduled for March 10, 2020. Due to the high volume of interest, the 75-minute presentation has been recorded and can be accessed on the HUD Exchange training page.

There will be a live question and answer session with presenters in the very near future. Please review the webinar content before this question and answer session and pay attention to this listserv for additional information.

Additional Resources

  • Visit the Infectious Disease Prevention & Response page to access technical assistance materials from HUD as well as guidance issued from HUD’s federal partners dedicated to preparing for and responding to infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
  • HUD is also available to provide technical assistance to our homeless assistance providers who need support in preventing or responding to the spread of infectious disease. Submit your questions to the Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. In Step 2 of the question submission process, select “CoC: Continuum of Care Program” from the “My question is related to” drop down list and write “Health Preparedness and Response” in the subject line.

Join Us for the Western CoC Youth Count 2020!

One by One, the Western PA Continuum of Care (CoC) works to prevent and end homelessness.

Join the Western PA CoC in our first Youth Count from April 22-24. The Youth Count is a community-wide effort to better identify youth aged 16-24 experiencing homelessness or unstable housing within our 20-county region and advocate for more resources.

You can help by raising awareness or volunteering to join a street team that will be composed of volunteers and youth guides. Teams will approach young people in the community at assigned “hotspot” locations and encourage youth to complete a brief electronic survey about their housing situation.

If you are participating in the Youth Count, or would like to, please join us for a webinar on Wednesday, March 25th from 10am-12pm. The webinar will provide participants with an overview of the Youth Count, an introduction to the survey tool and techniques on how to engage with young people experiencing homelessness.

Click here to register for the webinar.

2020 Emergency Solutions Grant

The 2020 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Application and Guidelines are available for review at https://dced.pa.gov/programs/emergency-solutions-grant-esg/.

Important Dates and Deadlines:

2020 Pre-Application Webinar – February 27, 2020 at 10:00am. This webinar will cover the basics of the grant, new changes to the application process, and information on the new Keystone Logon process. You can register for the webinar here.

Electronic Single Application (ESA) – opens today, FEBRUARY 18, 2020, and will close at 5:00pm Friday MARCH 27, 2020.  No application submitted after this time will be considered for funding.

Please contact Stacy Hawthorne at shawthorne@pa.gov if you need assistance.

Western PA CoC Youth System Mapping Events

Are you a community partner interested in helping to prevent and end youth homelessness in Western PA? Then come share your expertise with One by One Youth Committee and Advocates4Change Youth Action Board and the National Network for Youth in an exciting effort to map out systems that serve youth experiencing homelessness in our region.

Your expertise is vital to helping us better understand our region’s strengths and challenges and identify solutions to more effectively serve youth experiencing homelessness in our community.

WHAT YOU’LL BE DOING:
This System Mapping Project aims to bring together stakeholders and community partners involved in systems that work with youth (those up to 25 years old) experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Through interactive exercises, attendees will provide knowledge, input and context to help One by One identify opportunities to improve our system’s ability to better serve youth. We’ll explore:

  • How youth navigate the current homeless services system
  • Where service connections exist with other systems & the strength of those connections
  • Where service gaps exist that could be filled & how.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
We welcome all community partners who work with vulnerable youth, including:

  • CoC agencies and other housing and homeless services providers
  • County Child and Youth Services offices
  • Youth services providers
  • Providers of mental/behavioral health services and/or Drug & Alcohol programs
  • Those who work in the education system
  • Those working in juvenile justice or criminal justice systems
  • Youth employment and workforce development providers
  • Those working with victims of human trafficking &/or domestic violence
  • Any stakeholder or community partner who engages with youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

WHERE & WHEN:
We’ll be holding four (4) system mapping sessions throughout the One by One 20-county region:

  • February 26th, 9:00am-11:30am in Crawford County: CHAPS, 944 Liberty Street Meadville, PA
  • February 26th, 2:00pm-4:30pm in McKean County: Beacon Light, 800 East Main Street, Bradford, PA
  • February 27th, 9:00am-11:30am in Clarion County: Clarion Psychiatric Center, 2 Hospital Dr, Clarion, PA
  • February 27th, 2:00pm-4:30pm in Westmoreland County: Westmoreland Casemanagement and Supports Inc., 770 E Pittsburgh St, Greensburg, PA

*Attendance is limited to 25-30 people per event. To reserve your spot at one of these events, please be sure to fill out this simple registration form to let us know you plan to attend: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/One-by-One-Western-PA-CoC-Youth-Homelessness-System-Mapping-Event-Registration

Western CoC Home4Good Justice Initiative Grant; Partnerships Needed!

The Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc.(FCCAA) was selected for a Home 4 Good (H4G) grant totaling $175,000 to work with inmates prior to their release to secure stable supportive housing.

FCCAA is looking for partner agencies in each of the 20 Western CoC counties to provide housing search and placement as well as case management services in the Rapid Rehousing for Justice Involved Individuals Initiative. The grant can pay for rental costs as well as staffing time to work with these individuals.
Should your agency be interested in partnering with FCCAA for the Rapid Rehousing for Justice Involved Individuals Initiative, FCCAA is requesting that you complete the attached interest form before noon on Friday, January 31, 2020.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TBVL7P7

FCCAA staff will reach out to the agency contact once an application is submitted to discuss next steps.

If you have any questions, please contact Rita Masi for more information.

PA Department of Human Services Study Finds Positives Effects for Medicaid Recipients with Housing Support

Harrisburg, PA Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller announced the findings of a study on the effects of permanent supportive housing programs on long-term health and health care spending among Medicaid recipients experiencing homelessness. The study, conducted in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Medicaid Research Center, looked at nearly 5,900 cases from 54 Pennsylvania counties who received permanent supportive housing services from 2011-2016 and found that people who experienced homelessness saw improving health outcomes and decreased Medicaid utilization and spending after receiving permanent supportive housing services.
“We know that a person’s health is more than what happens inside of a doctor’s office,” said Sec. Miller. “These environmental factors, known as social determinants of health, play a key role and can take many forms, including safe and affordable housing. We are always looking for ways to help people experiencing homelessness improve their health and overall quality of life. This report gives us an initial set of data to work with to achieve those goals.”
DHS is committed to supporting vulnerable Pennsylvanians like those who experience homelessness. By identifying positive trends in health outcomes and health care spending among people who received permanent supportive services, DHS can make data-driven, evidence-based decisions to broaden investments in programs and positive interventions that can help people experiencing homelessness long-term.
Low-income individuals with physical and behavioral health conditions have an elevated risk of homelessness. Permanent supportive housing programs provide long-term housing assistance and support services to individuals with disabling physical and mental health conditions experiencing chronic homelessness.
Among the population studied, 90 percent had a minimum of two chronic health conditions, and 43 percent had seven or more. Medicaid spending for this group averaged more than $1,200 per month in the 7-15 months before people began permanent supportive housing services. Significant, chronic behavioral and physical health conditions can contribute to housing insecurity, and unstable housing can make it difficult for these individuals to manage their health care needs.
Following the introduction of permanent supportive housing services, spending stabilized and declined. The study found that by the third year after beginning permanent supportive housing, total Medicaid spending fell by an average of $162 per person, or 13 percent, each month. Changes in spending were primarily reductions in spending on inpatient care for both behavioral health and non-behavioral health conditions and a 22 percent decline in emergency department use. Instead, cases analyzed showed increased case management and pharmaceutical use, showing a shift towards management of chronic conditions as opposed to dealing with these conditions through emergency or inpatient settings.
“This report affirmed our perspective that housing people experiencing homelessness is both the right thing to do for their health and well-being and is a cost-effective approach,” said Sec. Miller. “Sustaining housing for those that have it—and establishing housing for those that don’t—is a centerpiece of our strategy to address the social determinants of health and help people live healthy and fulfilling lives, and we will continue to look for opportunities to meet this need among people who need it.”
Read the report here.

Eastern PA CoC Home4Good Awards

The Eastern PA CoC was awarded $494,287 in new projects, plus $24,714 in flexible administrative funding to be distributed at the discretion of the Governing Board for a total of $519,001.

Projects funded include:

  • Valley Youth House Committee / The Synergy Project – Allentown – $70,000
  • Clinton County Housing Coalition / Eastern PA CoC Coordinator – $30,000
  • Pocono Mountains United Way / RHAB Homeless Prevention/Diversion – $100,000
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) / Domestic Violence Housing First (DVHF) Pilot – $94,737
  • Lehigh Valley Regional Advisory Board / Lehigh Conference of Churches / Diversion / Prevention Program – $125,000
  • PA Interfaith Community Programs / Homeless Diversion Adams County – $74,550
  • In addition, the CoC was awarded $24,714 in flexible administrative funding to be distributed at the discretion of the Governing Board.

To view the press release from FHLB-Pittsburgh and PHFA, click here. Thank you to FHLB-Pittsburgh & PHFA and congratulations to all projects selected!