Archive for September 25th, 2009

25th September
2009
written by naehblog

Today, a post from Amanda Krusemark, assistant to the President and a jane-of-all-trades member of the staff. The news: HUD released the NOFA today, which may seem insignificant to many, but often represents a large percentage of homeless assistance funding for many communities.

The big news today is that Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finally released the 2009 CoC NOFA.

In homeless industry talk a NOFA is a Notice of Funding Availability. It let folks across the country know that the application for federal funds is available.

Specifically, the NOFA explains the pertinent details, including how much money is available, who is eligible, what the funds can be used for, and how to complete an application for funding. In essence, the NOFA is the siren call for service providers to apply for federal funding.

This particular NOFA is a pretty big deal for homeless service providers, because it covers the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs. As we’ve discussed before, the McKinney-Vento programs represent the largest chunk of federal funds dedicated solely to homeless programs. Applying for these funds is one of the biggest jobs that Continuums of Care (CoC) – the official administrative unit in charge of homeless programs – do all year, because these funds will be often be the biggest single funding sources for homeless programs for the year.

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) and other stimulus-funded programs. CoCs will get extra points on their application if they can show that their programs will coordinate with stimulus resources.

One of the tricky things for CoCs is that HUD recently introduced a new online application system, known as e-snaps, and people are still trying to figure out how to navigate the system. To help people out, HUD has created training resources on the Homelessness Resource Exchange (HRE) – a very helpful site for all things homelessness.

The applications are due before midnight ET on November 9, so CoCs will be very busy trying to get their applications ready by then!

If YOU happen to be someone who’s busy writing these applications, please share your story with us! We’d love to hear about some real experiences from people on the ground.

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25th September
2009
written by naehblog

I got an email this morning from a person involved with Ashoka’s Changemakers.

(Yeah, I didn’t know who they were at first either.)

But it turns out, they’re worth knowing. Changemakers, as they’re called, are people devoted to making a substantive change in social issues. Or, as they like to say it: “Changemakers is a community of action where we all collaborate on solutions.”

Changemakers work on all kind of issues: community, violence, abuse, environment, aging, animal rights, youth. The website is a place where like-minded people can connect, chat, and exchange ideas about new innovations and best practices.

Right now, Changemakers is hosting a competition: Rethinking Mental Health: Improving Community Wellbeing.”

The prompt: submit one way to challenge common misconceptions about mental health and engage communities in expanding our understanding and involvement in finding solutions.

Nope, not easy. But an important step nonetheless.

And why do we care?

Approximately 20 percent of the homeless population is considered “chronically homeless”, and by definition, suffer from some sort of disability. Many times, this disability involves mental health. This disability often prevents a person from being able to find stable housing, employment, and the resources he or she needs in order to pull themselves towards self-sufficiency.

Check out the website, the community and the competition. Got any good ideas?