New CoC Communication Website Tool

On behalf on Madra Clay,

As you are all aware, Wiggio will shut down its site on Friday, November 17, 2017.  In anticipation of the shut-down, DCED has spent the last month researching alternative professional communication and project management sites that were recommended by members of the CoC.  After careful review, we have determined the best site for CoC use is Workplace by Facebook.  Workplace by Facebook is a professional site used by thousands of organizations to connect their members/workers, to share ideas and information, and to increase their effectiveness and efficiency to work collaboratively.  You may check out the site by clicking this link: Workplace by Facebook.

The Wiggio site offered basic project management tools however, with Workplace by Facebook, we’ll be able to use the same concepts in addition to having the potential to integrate new communication methods such as live-stream meetings and a mobile application.  The site is being provided to us free of charge, therefore we do not have any financial considerations.  Yes, it is FREE of charge.

We understand some organizations may restrict access to Facebook.  Workplace is a professional website, separate from the normal Facebook you may use now.  It will not be used as a personal communication tool, rather a professional one connected by your credentials and representing your organization.  For those experiencing difficulty connecting due to company restrictions, DCED is willing to assist with that aspect to help gain access.  It may only require our efforts to educate the organization Director on how the site will be used within each CoC.

We are currently in the process of transferring all data from the Wiggio site to Workplace.  Anyone desiring early access may request it by contacting Brendan Auman at breauman@pa.gov.  I recommend Lea and Ciarra gain early access so they can familiarize themselves with the site and be able to assist with the transition if necessary.  In addition, DCED will post an instruction manual to the www.pennsylvaniacoc.org no later than November 15th.  We plan to make three training dates available to the membership and people can enroll in whichever date is convenient for them.  The tentative training dates are: November 17 and 27, and December 15th.

Finally, as we get each RHAB’s page completed on the site, we will notify the membership by sending a link for them to join.  You may want to notify your members so they are aware and anticipate the link coming to them.  Thank you for your patience as we conducted our research.  I’m sure you will be happy with the selection once you become familiar with it.  If you have any questions, you may contact Brendan directly.

Best,

Madra

Housing Resources for Survivors Displaced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico

FEMA and the government of Puerto Rico announced today that Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) is available to Puerto Ricans who are unable to return to their homes because they are displaced as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This is one of several short-term housing options being offered to meet the demand for post-storm safe housing.  Transitional Sheltering Assistance allows eligible applicants to shelter in a hotel or motel, for a limited period of time, as a bridge to intermediate and longer-term housing.  FEMA pays all costs for rooms and taxes through direct payments to participating hotels and motels.

For eligible applicants currently on Puerto Rico:

  • Consistent with the Governor’s request, FEMA will prioritize placements for the people who are currently residing in emergency shelters in order to target those most in need.
  • FEMA will be providing transportation to select locations in the Continental United States, where you will be connected with support services and lodging.  FEMA will not provide any additional transportation within the Continental United States and cannot provide reimbursement for travel arrangements you may have already made.
  • Transportation also will be provided for your return back to Puerto Rico.
  • Applicants should expect that it may take several weeks to arrange transportation, given the limited availability of commercial flights.

For eligible applicants currently in the Continental United States:

  • Make sure you update FEMA with current information by contacting 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
  • Eligible applicants may stay at any participating hotel.
  • FEMA will not reimburse for travel that already occurred, or travel to a participating hotel within the Continental United States.
  • Applicants should expect that it may take approximately one week before hotels have the information necessary for you to check in.
  • Applicants are responsible for identifying a participating hotel and checking for availability.

This is one of several short-term housing options being offered to meet the demand for post-storm safe housing. In order to meet the demand for safe housing, these forms of assistance are provided directly to disaster survivors, or through financial grants to assist survivors with their housing needs. Survivors first need to register with FEMA to determine their eligibility for any available federal assistance online at http://disasterassistance.gov, by calling toll-free (800) 621-3362 (voice 711/VRS). TTY call (800) 462-7585, or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To find an open DRC, survivors may phone their municipality. DRCs are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Housing Resources Provided Directly to Disaster Survivors

Tu Hogar Renace (Your Home Reborn):  Managed by the government of Puerto Rico, a homeowner’s primary residence may be eligible for necessary repairs to return the home to safe, habitable and functional conditions. Work includes repairs to keep roofs from leaking, replacement of damaged windows and doors, repairs to damaged walls, and water heaters.

Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA):  Transitional Sheltering Assistance is available with prioritization on those who are currently in congregate shelters because their homes were severely damaged. Under the program, survivors who are currently staying within the Continental U.S. may be eligible to stay in participating hotels or motels in the United States for the period of time specified by the government of Puerto Rico and FEMA.  To find a participating hotel, disaster survivors should visit http://www.femaevachotels.com/index.php.

Blue Roof Program:  Operation Blue Roof, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provides a temporary covering of reinforced blue plastic sheeting over the damaged roof to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made.

Direct Lease:  Vacant units are leased by FEMA and are used as temporary housing for disaster survivors. FEMA pays the rent for these units.  Utility costs and other expenses not covered in the lease are the responsibility of the disaster survivor. Property owners interested in participating can email FEMA-Lease-PR@fema.dhs.gov.

Multi-Family Lease and Repair (MLR):  FEMA identifies and prepares existing, vacant rental properties to house survivors in multi-family residential units.  Vacant units are leased by FEMA and are used as temporary housing for disaster survivors. FEMA pays the rent for these units.  Utility costs and other expenses are the responsibility of the disaster survivor.  Property owners interested in participating can email FEMA-MLR-PR@fema.dhs.gov.

Financial Assistance Available to Disaster Survivors for Housing Needs

Rental Assistance:  FEMA will provide funds directly to disaster survivors, who are then responsible for finding available rental resources of their choosing.

Home Repairs:  Financial grant to help make minimal repairs to a primary residence, utilities, and residential structure, including privately-owned access routes (driveways, roads, or bridges) to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.

Other Needs Assistance (ONA): Financial grant for uninsured or underinsured, disaster-related, necessary expenses and serious needs. This may include housing related expenses other than rent, such as repair or replacement of household appliances and furnishings, uniforms, tools and equipment required for your job, school books and supplies.

Low Interest Disaster Loans:  The U.S. Small Business Administration, provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to help homeowners and renters with personal property, transportation, and moving and storage expenses incurred due to a declared disaster.

Immediate Foreclosure Relief: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages.

Mortgage Insurance and Home Rehabilitation: HUD provides FHA insurance to disaster survivors who lost their homes and who need to rebuild or buy another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs.

For Congressional inquiries, or to subscribe to future FEMA Congressional advisories, please contact the Congressional Affairs Division at (202) 646-4500 or FEMA-Congressional-Affairs@fema.dhs.gov

HUD Publishes Notices CPD-17-10 and CPD-17-11

 

Notice CPD-17-10: Sub-awarding Emergency Solutions Grants Program Funds to Public Housing Agencies and Local Redevelopment Authorities

This Notice provides guidance on how Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program funds can be sub-awarded to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and Local Redevelopment Authorities (LRAs) following the recent amendment to section 414(c) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act) (42 U.S.C. 11373(c)).

View Notice CPD-17-10: Sub-awarding Emergency Solutions Grants Program Funds to Public Housing Agencies and Local Redevelopment Authorities.

Notice CPD-17-11: Determining a Program Participant’s Rent Contribution, Occupancy Charge or Utility Reimbursement in the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program when the Program Participant is Responsible for the Utilities

This Notice clarifies HUD’s expectation that recipients and subrecipients will consider reasonable monthly utility costs when calculating rent contributions or occupancy charges for program participants who are responsible for paying their own utilities. For the purpose of this notice, “utilities” exclude telephone but include gas, oil, electric, sewage, water, and trash removal.

This notice applies to recipients and subrecipients that are providing Transitional Housing (TH), Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), and Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) funded through the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program (24 CFR part 578). Specifically, this notice applies to TH, PSH, and RRH projects in which some or all of the costs of utilities are the responsibility of the program participant.

View Notice CPD-17-11: Determining a Program Participant’s Rent Contribution, Occupancy Charge or Utility Reimbursement in the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program when the Program Participant is Responsible for the Utilities .

HWR Scholarship Opportunities Sponsored by DCED for Balance of State Communities

We are pleased to announce the PA Department of Community and Economic Development will provide scholarships to members working for organizations and agencies that serve the PA CoC Balance of State counties working to prevent and end homelessness. The Balance of State covers 53 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.  This includes 33 counties that are part of the Eastern PA CoC and 20 counties in the Western PA CoC.  Click here to see counties included.

Apply today for a scholarship to join nearly 800 housing professionals as we network with our peers and learn the latest news in best practices in the housing industry.  We again open the conference with affinity lunches followed by a day full of sessions and then finish with affinity dinners.

Please click here to access the application.

Once approved we will forward you the registration link. The deadline for consideration is Friday, October 27th.

Visit our updated HWR conference website for complete program information and to learn more.

Special Homelessness Session Highlights:

  • Homeless Affinity Day featuring a lunch panel on Coordinated Entry as well as dinner panel addressing Ending Family and Youth Homelessness
  • Workshop Sessions on Collaborations to Improve Outcomes for Homeless Youth, Housing First, Rapid Rehousing, Landlord Engagement, and more…

Please feel free to call the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania at 215-576-7044 if you have any questions.

PA DCED HOME Application Kit Webinar

A webinar will be conducted by DCED’s HOME Program staff, specific to the new DCED HOME Application Kit, on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 1:30pm.

Grantees must register for this online webinar using the information provided below. The webinar is mandatory for any municipal applicant/grantee planning to apply to DCED for the next available round of DCED HOME funding.

Dates for the release of the HOME application kit, application submission deadlines and other HOME application requirements will be shared during this mandatory DCED HOME Application webinar.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your HOME Program Grant Manager.

Topic: HOME Application Kit Webinar
Host: DCED, Center for Community Development Operations
Tuesday, October 31, 2017, 1:30pm EDT
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To register for the online event
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1. Go to https://copa.webex.com/copa/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb7eb86b9ee231887b208fb9c9b4d57c3

  1. Click “Register”.
  2. On the registration form, enter your information and then click “Submit”.Once the host approves your registration, you will receive a confirmation email message with instructions on how to join the event.
    ——————————————————-
    For assistance
    ——————————————————-
    You can contact Jon Cherry at:
    jcherry@pa.gov

Centers for Community Development Operations and Compliance, Monitoring and Training
PA Department of Community & Economic Development

Commonwealth Keystone Building

400 North Street, 4th Floor | Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225

Phone: 717-787-5327

dced.pa.gov | www.visitPA.com

2017 Emergency Solutions Grant Application is Now Closed as of 10/24/2017

The FY2017 PA DCED ESG Application is now closed. The application submission deadline was October 24, 2017.  For future grants, please visit the DCED website to apply @ https://dced.pa.gov/programs/emergency-solutions-grant-esg/

or click here to apply.  

The application webinar held on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 will be made available shortly for review @ https://pennsylvaniacoc.org/esg under the webinar section.

SNAPS In Focus: Improving our Crisis Response System

 

Two years ago, we started seeing signs in our data that progress on ending chronic homelessness was slowing, and unsheltered homelessness was rising in many communities. In 2016, for the first time since 2010, we reported an increase nationally in unsheltered homelessness – largely driven by low vacancy rates and high costs for rental housing in major cities across the country. Along with these alarming signs, we are hearing from you – our community partners and experts – about struggles addressing encampments; increased opioid use, misuse, and overdoses; and increased demand for shelter.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) hosted a convening to learn more about what is working and what gaps need to be filled with regard to emergency shelter across the country. While this was a good start, we have heard from you that we need more discussion and better tools to improve crisis response systems to more efficiently and effectively help people exit unsheltered homelessness and put them on quick paths to permanent and stable housing. Today’s In Focus message kicks off a series of messages we will release about improving our crisis response systems. We plan to address the following topics:

  • Implementing an effective street outreach strategy that is not only designed to engage people experiencing unsheltered homelessness – including those living in encampments – but to connect them directly to resources that can assist them to obtain permanent housing;
  • Right-sizing shelter and crisis housing resources to meet the need, designed with low-barriers to entry and to connect people to permanent housing as quickly as possible;
  • Working with institutions and systems of care like child welfare, hospitals, detox centers, and juvenile and criminal justice on in-reach strategies and discharge planning practices that prevent homelessness;
  • Implementing diversion strategies to help people identify immediate alternate housing arrangements and preventing homelessness whenever possible; and
  • Strategically targeting rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing resources and using them in conjunction with innovations in these other areas to house people as quickly as possible.

Many partners will have to work together to accomplish these goals, including homeless service providers, mainstream programs, faith-based organizations, affordable housing developers and providers, public and private funders, local businesses, and political leadership. It will involve a robust Coordinated Entry process to ensure that every community’s system is both responsive to the needs of people experiencing homelessness, can quickly connect people to permanent housing and needed services, and that resources are being used as efficiently as possible.

We at HUD and our federal partners are committed to working with communities to find real solutions and strategies to getting people off the street, even in challenging environments. We look forward to partnering with you, and we want to hear from communities about what is working and what isn’t so we can adjust our policies and funding strategies as needed. We will communicate ideas, strategies, and progress as we go, so that together we can connect people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing as quickly as possible.

Norm Suchar
Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

View SNAPS In Focus messages

Download this SNAPS In Focus: Improving our Crisis Response System

EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA CONTINUUM OF CARE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

OVERVIEW

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care (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 rehouse homeless individuals, families, persons fleeing domestic violence, and youth while minimizing the trauma and dislocation 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.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Continuum of Care is comprised of five Regional Homeless Advisory Boards (RHABs) that identify local homeless issues, coordinate planning for projects, identify needs, and develop strategies and priorities to end homelessness in the local area. Each RHAB is responsible for operationalizing the policies adopted by the CoC by working with their community to address and end homelessness locally. The five RHABs and the respective counties served by each RHAB are as follows:

  • RHAB 1 (South Central) – Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset
  • RHAB 2 (Lehigh Valley) – Lehigh, Northampton
  • RHAB 3 (Central Valley) – Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union
  • RHAB 4 (Northern Tier) – Bradford, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wyoming
  • RHAB 5 (Pocono) – Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Wayne

Eastern PA CoC RFP for Coordinated Entry Call Center Operations

The FY 2017 CoC Program Competition is Now Open

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition has been posted to the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition: Funding Availability page on the HUD Exchange.

Submission Deadline: Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT

The electronic application in e-snaps will be available on or after next Tuesday, July 18, 2017. HUD strongly encourages CoCs, Collaborative Applicants, project applicants, and stakeholders to:

  • Carefully and thoroughly read the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA to understand the information; and
  • Begin to plan local competitions based on information, new and changed from the previous Competition, provided in the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA.

Additionally, so that CoCs know their maximum award amounts, including amounts for planning and Permanent Housing Bonus, HUD has posted the Estimated Annual Renewal Demand (ARD) Report that includes each CoC’s Preliminary Pro Rata Need (PPRN), estimated ARD, CoC Planning, and Permanent Housing Bonus amounts.

What’s New and Special Considerations for the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition

The list below highlights some important information about what has changed, what is new, and special considerations that CoCs should make while planning for the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition. This list is not exhaustive and additional details are located in the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA. A full list of new, changed, and highlighted information can be found on the FY 2017 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition: Funding Availability page.

  • Tier 1 is 94 percent of the CoC’s ARD amount.
  • The amount available for the Permanent Housing Bonus is 6 percent of the CoC’s Final Pro Rata Need (FPRN).
  • Renewal project applicants may submit their renewal project applications with no changes. We strongly encourage you wait to access e-snaps to complete your renewal project application until the FY 2017 Renewal Project Application Detailed Instructions are posted on the HUD Exchange so you can determine if you want to take advantage of this new function.
  • HUD has made several changes to the eligibility requirements for permanent housing, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing. Applicants should carefully read the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA regarding these changes.
  • Most of the mandatory HUD form attachments have been moved to e-snaps as fillable forms that only require a checkbox certification with the project applicant’s authorized representative information. The only HUD required form that remains an attachment is the HUD-2991, Certification of Consistency with the Consolidated Plan, and it must be attached by the Collaborative Applicant to the FY 2017 CoC Priority Listing.
  • Tier 2 project-level scoring has been revised to include only three criteria – CoC Application score, ranked position of the project application in Tier 2, and the project application’s commitment to Housing First. The type of project has been removed as a Tier 2 scoring criteria.
  • System Performance Measurement information will be largely scored on data submitted by the CoC to the Homelessness Data Exchange (HDX), although CoCs will be required to attach the FY 2017 Competition Report to their CoC Application in e-snaps.
  • The local ranking process continues to be crucial to making the CoC Program as effective as possible. CoCs should use objective, performance-based criteria to rate projects and should consider both the need to serve particular populations of people experiencing homelessness (for example, survivors of domestic violence, youth, and persons with substance use disorders) and the effectiveness of their projects in reducing homelessness.
  • All applicants must have a current HUD-approved Code of Conduct. Most organizations’ Codes of Conduct were removed from HUD’s website in early 2017, as they did not meet the requirements of 2 CFR part 200, and the organizations were notified by another HUD office that a new Code of Conduct must be submitted. Be sure to review the Code of Conduct for HUD Grant Programs page on HUD’s website to ensure your organization is listed which means you have submitted an approved Code of Conduct. If you do not see your organization on the list, be sure to attach a current and complete Code of Conduct to your Project Applicant Profile in e-snaps.

Listserv Communications

All information related to the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition is communicated via the HUD Exchange Mailing List. Join the mailing list to receive important updates and reminders.

If you are aware or suspect that the Collaborative Applicant, CoC members, or interested stakeholders are not currently receiving these listserv messages, please forward the following link, https://www.hudexchange.info/mailinglist/, to them to register for the listserv messages as this is the only form of communication used by HUD to the public.

If you have questions related to subscribing to the HUD Exchange mailing list or have issues receiving listserv messages in your inbox, please contact info@hudexchange.info. Please be sure to add news@hudexchange.info and info@hudexchange.info to your contact list or safe senders list. This ensures that messages from the HUD Exchange go to your inbox and are not filtered to your spam or junk folder.

Questions

During the competition, it is critical that questions are submitted to the correct Ask A Question (AAQ) portal.

Questions pertaining to the CoC Program Competition should be submitted to the e-snaps portal. These questions include e-snaps technical issues; questions about the NOFA, CoC Application, CoC Priority Listings, or Project Applications; and questions about grant awards, agreements, or amendments.

To submit a question to the e-snaps AAQ portal, select “e-snaps” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.

If you have questions related to the CoC Program interim rule or a policy related question, please submit your questions to the CoC Program AAQ portal. To submit a question to the CoC Program AAQ portal, select “CoC Program” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.

The AAQ portal accepts question submissions 24/7. However, responses are usually provided between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except for weekends and federal holidays. Additionally, per the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition NOFA, starting 2 days prior to the application deadline for FY 2017 funds, the AAQ will respond only to emergency technical support questions up to the deadline of Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT.