The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just released the FY 2015 Continuum of Care (CoC) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and we’re sure that many of you are already hard at work putting together the application materials.
HUD’s policy priorities this year align with USICH’s Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness: strategic resource allocation to fund projects with proven effectiveness, ending homelessness for families, youth, Veterans, and those who are chronically homeless, and using a Housing First Approach.
While focusing your applications on increasing permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing resources, remember: Access to income increases housing options and stability. For adults, youth, and families who have disabling conditions and are experiencing homelessness, Social Security disability benefits are critical mainstream resources. These benefits also come with Medicaid and/or Medicare, which can help cover supportive services in housing.
With the competitiveness of the NOFA this year, a few things to keep in mind as you work on your application:
1. Highlight your SOAR program’s success in helping individuals to access income and housing. Reports from the SOAR Online Application Tracking Program (OAT) clearly document successful SOAR initiatives, as well as how many individuals are housed during the application process.
2. Utilize SOAR best practice guidance when working with special populations. SOAR TA Center experts are available to provide guidance on increasing access to disability benefits for Veterans, youth, those who are chronically homeless, and individuals exiting the criminal justice system. We also have numerous issue briefs on serving special populations.
3. Incorporate SOAR screening and referral into your Coordinated Entry System. This helps prioritize access to benefits assistance for those who are most vulnerable. Helping those most in need to quickly obtain income increases your ability to place them in appropriate housing. Utilize recommended questions from the SOAR TA Center as you develop the screening.
Integrating SOAR into Housing First programs is a proven, effective way to end homelessness for individuals with disabling conditions. We encourage you to reach out to us to discuss how you can initiate or grow a local SOAR initiative.
We encourage anyone with other questions about this year’s HUD CoC NOFA to reach out to the HUD Exchange with questions, as well as our partners at NAEH and USICH who are providing critical guidance during the application period.
The deadline for submitting applications to HUD for the FY 2015 CoC Program Competition is November 20, 2015 at 7:59:59 PM EST.