The CARES Act included additional Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) funding for communities. There is an opportunity for ESG recipients and Continuums of Care (CoCs) to use some of this funding to support dedicated SOAR case workers. (ESG award recipients and amounts can be found here: https://www.hudexchange.info/grantees/allocations-awards/)
The Chicago CoC is moving forward on this opportunity and they are highlighted in a new HUD resource: https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/6147/covid19-homeless-system-response-maximizing-income-for-rapid-rehousing-participants-during-covid19/
Under the ESG Regulations, there are certain program components that allow for case management services. The ESG Program Components of prevention, rapid rehousing (RRH), outreach, and emergency shelter all allow for case management that includes obtaining benefits. Any direct service that communities are providing with ESG funding allows for case management services, which includes benefits acquisition.
The Homelessness prevention component (576.103) and Rapid-Rehousing assistance component (576.104) both allow for the provision of Housing relocation and stabilization services (576.105) which includes Housing stability case management, and specifically, "Developing, securing, and coordinating services and obtaining Federal, State, and local benefits,” (576.105 (b)(2)(D)).
The Street outreach component includes Case management (576.101 (a)(2)): “The cost of assessing housing and service needs, arranging, coordinating, and monitoring the delivery of individualized services to meet the needs of the program participant. Eligible services and activities are as follows: using the centralized or coordinated assessment system as required under § 576.400(d); conducting the initial evaluation required under § 576.401(a), including verifying and documenting eligibility; counseling; developing, securing and coordinating services; obtaining Federal, State, and local benefits; monitoring and evaluating program participant progress; providing information and referrals to other providers; and developing an individualized housing and service plan, including planning a path to permanent housing stability.”
The Emergency shelter component also includes Case management, which includes this same specific inclusion (576.102 (a)(1)(i)(D)): “Developing, securing, and coordinating services and obtaining Federal, State, and local benefits;”
They are also recommending the use of ESG funding for SOAR in Oregon. See this memo for an example of how you can encourage your CoC to consider this funding opportunity.