Posts Tagged ‘HPRP’
Have you seen the latest in our Take Five Q&A series? It’s featuring Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, where they’ve created 1, 679 units of permanent supportive housing in the last 6 years. What’s below is excerpt of our Take Five piece, and you can read more about SF’s work to end homelessness on his blog and here.
What is the newest issue emerging in homelessness policy?
Homelessness among families and children is increasing. We have seen greater demand for our homeless services by families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our ability to address this spike in demand has been strengthened as a result of the Obama Administration’s $1.5 billion for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP).
Using local and HPRP funds we have prevented 1,612 households from becoming homeless and/or entering the emergency shelter system. Our programs are focused on keeping families in housing by both addressing the financial burden they are experiencing, coupled with short term supportive services so they can maintain that housing for the long term.
In addition, we allocated local funds to provide short-term rental subsidies so families could circumvent the shelter system and move directly into housing with supportive services so they can secure employment and take over the rent payment of their new home. We will also continue to build both affordable housing and permanent supportive housing so that families with disabilities, and those that just need a stable home, can avoid entering the emergency shelter system as they move from crisis to stability.
Want to know more? Check out the rest of Mayor Newsom’s commentary on our website.
This just in: the Senate just passed the first piece of the Jobs bill (recap: once upon a time, there was one giant Senate Jobs bill. But some people thought it’d be better to break it up into a bunch of little bills). This $15 billion bill is focused primarily on providing tax credits for employers who are hiring – and especially hiring the unemployed.
More, similar legislation will be coming down the pike, but no where in the distance is one key element that we – the Alliance and homeless asisistance providers and advocates – are looking for.
Additional funding for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). As a part of the Jobs Bill, we at the Alliance are hoping for $1 billion. Here’s why:
The unemployment outlook has worsened significantly since HPRP was created last year, which puts more people in danger of becoming homeless. It was designed to help 600,000 people, but communities are finding there are more people who need assistance than we’d planned for.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), communities from states – including California, Michigan, Nebraska, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, and South Carolina – have reported that there are far more families who are homeless or at-risk than there is money to help them get back on their feet. An additional $1 billion to extend HPRP would prevent and end homelessness for an estimated additional 200,000 households.
What’s more, HPRP is creating jobs. According to our analysis, current allocations create one full-time, three-year job for each $600,000 of HPRP funding allocated – this means 2,500 jobs through the existing funding. The remaining money provides temporary rent subsidies to landlords, funding more jobs in the rental housing industry and helping with historic high vacancy rates for rental housing.
I know it’s not the easiest concept to wrap around, but the moral is this: providing more prevention and rapid re-housing assistance not only helps individuals and families stay out of homelessness – but it creates jobs in the process. As we move toward creating legislation to improve the economy, let’s make sure to keep an eye on those who need the most.
It’ll be an uphill battle, but help for the homeless belongs in the Jobs bill. Let’s make it happen.
This week, it’s all about the budget. The president’s recommendations for fiscal year 2011 came out on Monday, and bloggers and organizations have spent this week responding.
On the HUD blog, Secretary Shaun Donovan summarizes what’s in the president’s proposed budget for housing. We’re particularly excited about a new initiative that will provide 10,000 vouchers for supportive housing and encourage collaboration between departments. (Stay tuned for more on this program.) Plus, Secretary Donovan is talking about using “housing as a platform for improving quality of life”! That sounds like progress.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere, the 13th juror points out that the budget includes some painful cuts in housing for the disabled and the elderly and Open House stresses the innovative affordable housing programs that are included.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s response to the proposed budget highlighted the $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund, but there’s more to it says President Sheila Crowley: “We are grateful that the HUD budget was spared the cuts to domestic discretionary programs that are included in the overall budget. Nonetheless, essentially flat funding for HUD this year is insufficient given the high demand for housing assistance as a result of the recession.”
Around here, we’re also talking about how we can impact the budget process. Check out yesterday’s post about how you can get involved in our McKinney-Vento Appropriations campaign, which will increase federal funding for homelessness services. And then do it!
Life goes on outside the Beltway, though. Alliance President Nan spoke to Governing magazine this week for an in-depth piece on homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing: “A systems change is happening.”
A case manager talks about how her relationship with a client has grown while he waits for subsidized housing on the Beyond Bread blog and the Cleveland Homeless blog rants about budget cuts on federal, state and county levels.
Here in DC, we’re bracing for a BIG snowstorm and hoping everyone is safe and warm tonight.
As America counted it’s homeless population this week, the media came out to cover it. The following quotes, pulled from this year’s coverage of Point in Time counts, provide a useful summary.
Beth McKee-Huger, executive director of the Greensboro Housing Coalition: “With the economic situation getting worse, we know that there are a lot more people losing their housing than there used to be or about to lose housing.” From the story “Homeless survey also notes who is nearly homeless” in Greensboro’s News-Record.
Robert Hess, commissioner for NYC’s Department of Homeless Services: “We know where folks are living on the street. Hopefully, they will move into their own homes as 3,000 have done so in over the last 3 years.” From Boonsri Dickinson’s comprehensive account of NYC’s HOPE count. Check out the photos too!
Michael Ferrell, chairman of the Homeless Services Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: “There is no way you can count every single person who’s homeless. We give our best representation of what the homeless population is in our area . . . from one year to another.” From the Washington Post’s piece on counts in the DC metro area. Our very own Bill Sermons and Meghan Greenwell were out counting in DC!
Jarome Watts, resident of the Salvation Army shelter in Tuscaloosa, OK: “I think there are a lot more people,” people who may live outdoors and don’t want to be counted. From the Tuscaloosa News piece on their Point in Time counts.
Alliance President Nan Roman: “These counts are a reminder that homelessness is a problem far from solved – and there has never been a more urgent time to address this great American tragedy. As all Americans struggle through this recession, we must not forget those most vulnerable to the instability of the economy.” From the Huffington Post.
Here are some other highlights from homelessness coverage this week:
Alliance President Nan Roman’s piece After 10 Years, Plan to End Homelessness Has Way to Go was featured on the Funders Together blog and in the Huffington Post.
Change.org’s End Homelessness blog included a stellar article on the federal plan to end veteran homelessness.
And we’re excited that Time.com was talking about the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), calling it a “a small, unheralded federal program” that “some experts believe have helped an estimated 600,000 Americans avoid homelessness.” Check out the article to find out what Nan says!
The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program is making good news throughout the U.S. We’re keeping track of the media coverage on this interactive map, and we’re also highlighting some of the common themes we’ve seen in the implementation of the program. (Hat tip to fellow intern Grace Stubee for her help with this post!)
Many groups have used funding from HPRP to create a one-stop shop, or centralized point of access, for services to people experiencing homelessness. One example comes from Cowlitz County, WA, where the center is the office of Lower Columbia Community Action Program. Making services easily accessible is particularly important because many people seeking assistance through HPRP don’t know how to navigate the social services system, because they have never needed government assistance before.
Elsewhere, the one-stop shop isn’t a physical space, but folks can connect with numerous services through an HPRP hotline, which Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh worked together to start up.
In Columbus, OH, it’s not just about having a central location, but also a common way of doing things: “For the community and for the homeless population, there will be one point of contact, with a common language, common process and a hot line,” said Dave Davis, director of programs and planning at the shelter board.
In Las Vegas, the federal money has encouraged more than 35 social service agencies to coordinate. The county designed a three-tier network of assistance, but as the program’s name – “No Wrong Door” – indicates, staff at any of the organizations in the network will attempt to connect clients with all the programs they are eligible for.
Essentially, the aim is to “prevent participants from having to run between agencies and potentially fall through the cracks,” said Eileen Leir, regional services director for Volunteers of America, Dakotas.
In Durango, CO, one single dad reaped the benefits of coordination and centralization by his city’s agencies. Through one case manager, he was able to access not only an apartment, but Medicaid and food stamps, programs he didn’t even know existed. He’s also enrolled his son in childcare, which will allow him to return to work as a mechanic.
His is a great example of how centralized, streamlined services move people from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
Speaking of media coverage, have you read Time.com’s feature on HPRP? Alliance President Nan Roman is featured: “People need the stability of a home.” she says.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke at the Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting this past Friday and as he discussed stimulus programs, he celebrated the success of the HPRP program:
“With the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program in the Recovery Act, we have begun reorienting the Federal government toward preventing homelessness as cities across the country have been doing for years.
In your own recent report, you found that 18 cities—or 72 per cent of respondents—reported that the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program will ‘fundamentally change the way [their] community provides services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness’.
Indeed, no one understands better than our mayors on the front lines in the battle to prevent homelessness just how much the platform of a stable home can drive other outcomes – like savings in the area of health. And it’s time the Federal government recognized that as well.”
The rest of his remarks are available here.
“When you think about it, it really makes sense to focus on getting people back into housing faster,” said Alliance president Nan Roman in Tony Pugh’s McClatchy story Demand overwhelms program to prevent homelessness, out yesterday. “Instead of long stays in some homeless facility with a lot of service delivery, wouldn’t a little bit of money help people stay where they are and not end up in the system at all?”
The story shows what a little bit of money can do: it helped Joseph Wright get back on his feet after he fell behind on rent. Instead of sleeping at a shelter today, he’s got a new apartment and a stable teaching job.
Service providers have made the original $1.5 billion allocated for HPRP go a long way, but those Pugh talked to – in Salt Lake City, Raleigh, Washington State and Alameda County, California – all agree: the funding is not enough.
How much more is needed? The Alliance estimates that an extra $1 billion would not only help 200,000 more families, but also create about 2,000 more jobs at community organizations.
As Elaine de Coligny, executive director of EveryOne Home, a housing agency in Alameda County, Calif, said simply: “It’s good money to spend.”
It’s a brand new year – a time to start anew, set resolutions and goals, and look forward to the year ahead.
Here at the Alliance, we’re readying for exciting new year: a midterm election, new legislative challenges, a focus on prevention and housing for the homeless – and that’s just the beginning. It’s a promising year in the field of housing and homelessness.
There are a lot of issues we’re keeping an eye on, but here are a few highlights:
HEARTH Act implementation
Last May, President Obama signed into law the HEARTH Act. The HEARTH Act is the first significant reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs in nearly 20 years and allocates millions more to homelessness prevention, rapidly re-housing homeless families, and providing permanent supportive housing for homeless people with disabilities. There’s a lot of work to be done before any changes are implemented. We’re looking out for draft regulations, and we expect finalized regulations by May 20.
43 states have made cuts to services for vulnerable residents and with a $140 billion projected shortfall for state budgets in fiscal year 2011, there’s likely more to come. From California to Connecticut, programs that support homeless people have already seen their funding slashed. As the need for these services persist – and even rise – how will states respond with fewer and fewer resources?
In order to receive HUD funding, municipalities must provide counts of people experiencing homelessness during odd-numbered years (like 2009), but they are not required during even years (like 2010). However, these counts help track our progress toward ending homelessness and provide a clearer, more accurate picture of the landscape of homelessness and how it may or may not be changing. The January 2010 count is particularly significant, as it may be the first notable indication on how the recession is affecting homelessness. We at the Alliance are keeping an eye on how many communities are counting, and what those counts may suggest.
Prevention and Re-Housing strategies
By now you know that the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing is no small matter for the Alliance – this new program has the potential to generate some real, tangible, and lasting new strategies and practices in ending homelessness. As 2010 marches forward, the Alliance will continue to monitor how communities are implementing these new funds, and share HPRP stories from municipalities across the country.
January always brings with it the hope of the New Year – a chance to renew our commitments and goals. Feel free to share with us any goals you have in the New Year – anything you think we should be keeping an eye on?
What questions are on your mind about homelessness in 2010?
For most homeless families, living in a friend’s apartment might work better than sleeping in a car or finding shelter space, but for a family caring for an infant who is recovering from a heart transplant, these options are simply not an option. This family needs a stable home.
With the help of New York’s Department of Homeless Services, their partners and stimulus funding through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, Baby J and his family found one.
The latest in our series of HPRP success stories comes from Holly Frindell from the Department of Homeless Services in New York.
In August, Baby J was hospitalized with what doctors initially thought was bronchiolitis, but was quickly discovered to be heart failure. His health deteriorated rapidly and he was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
Two weeks following the baby’s admission to the hospital, his parents and three-year-old brother were evicted from their apartment. His father had lost his construction job eight months prior, and the family fell into arrears, eventually losing the apartment where they had lived for more than four years.
The family was fortunate to have relatives to turn to for help, doubling up in a two-bedroom apartment where two other adults and two other children already were living. Word came in November that a heart finally had become available. With the transplant complete, however, the overcrowded apartment no longer was suitable. The hospital transplant team feared that the overcrowding would place the baby at significant risk for infection that could possibly lead to his death. Hospital staff reached out to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to see if suitable shelter could be arranged, as the family had no other housing options.
Through intensive cooperative efforts by DHS and hospital staff, the family was placed temporarily at a shelter close to the hospital, where the family had to return three times a week for Baby J’s appointments.
At the same time, the New York City homelessness community prevention and rapid re-housing program, Homebase,was hard at work helping the family secure a suitable, affordable apartment as quickly as possible.
The family was notified the week before Thanksgiving that their application for a subsidized apartment had been accepted. Baby J, along with his parents and brother, moved in just in time to celebrate both heart and home.
“There’s that disconnect from the community when you’re homeless, and it’s a big leap to get back to that connection,” Deborah Beste, executive director of Phoenix Programs told the Columbia Missourian this week. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
Funds from the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) allow Phoenix Programs to do just that: keep the community together by preventing homelessness. In addition to Beste in Missouri and Zamora in Salt Lake City (who we featured earlier this week), folks in California, Minnesota, and Illinois are using HPRP to help stem the rising tide of homelessness in their communities.
However, we’re starting to see some of the issues that arise at the local level when organizations start to use federal dollars. One example is the Keller Community Storehouse in Texas: although they’re glad for the funds, they’re struggling to keep up with increasing demand while trying to negotiate the complexities of paperwork and deadlines.
We’ve covered homelessness among veterans extensively at About Homelessness, but this week, news came from a slightly different angle: female veterans often face some unique obstacles–responsibility for children, sexual trauma, to name a few–in addition to those that male vets deal with. Check out this AP story, which tells former Army Pvt. Margaret Ortiz’s story and describes how Veteran’s Affairs is re-structuring some of their programs to better serve homeless female veterans.
It’s that time of year and Change.org’s End Homelessness blog urges you to celebrate by helping fight homelessness. They’ve got 12 fantastic suggestions about how to do it: donate clothes, toys, food, and your time at a shelter. We’ve got one, too: donate to the Alliance through our Change.org page.
And today is National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day. If you’re in DC, join the National Coalition for the Homeless and others for a candlelight vigil outside Union Station tonight.