Consolidated Homeless Grant News

Consolidated Homeless Grant Update

February 2016

Please forward to your sub grantees and contact your CHG program manager if you have any questions.

The Consolidated Homeless Grant FAQ is updated!  New information has a red date for easy identification. Please note this includes an updated Appendix F: Documenting Housing Status. This table was modified to clarify the documentation requirements for households at imminent risk of homelessness.

Two changes to forms:

  1. CHG Verification of Household Eligibility and Income Recertification Form: Section 2 was updated to align with the documentation requirements for households at imminent risk of homelessness in Appendix F.
  2. CHG Income Eligibility Worksheet:   Instructions changed to align with the 30percent AMI requirement.  Language regarding documentation requirements on the Eligibility Worksheet page were removed, and links to HUD’s AMI limits were updated.

All updated documents are available on the CHG website. 

Audit on For-Profit Spending Requirement

Commerce is preparing for the audit, on the For-Profit spending requirement.  We will report calendar year 2015’s For-Profit spending to the firm conducting the audit and they will select agencies for on-site visits to verify documentation.  Visits are planned for April and May.

How confident are you that 100 percent of the documentation verifying your For-Profit expenditures reported to Commerce are 100 percent accurate?  Remember that Appendix E in the CHG Guidelines has a flow chart that identifies the required documents.

We created a second procedure you can use when conducting an IRS search when you identify something other than an individual or government owner during the parcel search and need to determine if you can charge the client rent in the For-Profit category.

Original Procedure

  • Go to this web page:
  • Click “are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.”
  • Enter the name, city and state.  Click “search.”
  • If you get: “There were no tax-exempt organizations found matching the search values you entered” then print the page.  At the bottom of the printed page you will see the name you typed in.  Highlight the name and place in the file as documentation that the entity is not a non-profit so you can charge the rent in the For-Profit budget category.

Procedure 2

  • You can download the entire Exempt Organizations database here:
  • Once you have the database available (it comes in a text file), you can go to your “Edit” button, select “Find,” and type in the name you are searching for. 
  • If you find the name, then you identified a non-profit and you cannot charge the client rent in the For-Profit category. 
  • If you do not find the name, you will get a “cannot find….”  Print a screen shot and save in your records as documentation for a For-Profit entity.

2016 Fair Market Rents

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published the final 2016 Fair Market Rents. Be sure to use the new FMR’s in your community.

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Are you partnering with your local Workforce Agency?

Do you know what your local Workforce Development Board does? And why it’s important?  They are focused on the needs of all people looking for work and helping businesses find the right employees.

Did you know there is a State Plan that drives their work? And that they are updating that now?

This is important because they need to hear from homeless and housing advocates about how to best partner and collaborate with service providers and support your clients in a pathway toward employment. Consider contacting your local board and find out about what’s happening locally and how you can be involved.

2016 Funding Opportunity through Washington Youth & Families Fund Service Grants

Building Changes is pleased to announce that approximately $935,000 in funding is available to support diversion strategies for homeless families in Washington State.

Eligible agencies and organizations include nonprofits, local tribes, housing authorities, and/or community-based organizations outside of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

Diversion is offered as a first response to quickly resolve a family’s homelessness without relying on typical homeless services, such as emergency shelter or transitional housing. This investment will help us understand how diversion strategies can be adapted to meet the needs of communities across Washington. Funding from Building Changes will be provided for up to three years per agency. 

Proposals are due on Thursday, March 17, 2016. Guidelines and application materials are available on Building Changes' website

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Homeless Management Information Systems Software Update

Notes and FAQs will be continually added to the Commerce HMIS website). HMIS for BOS and Yakima users will be out of service in March. You will enter February data into Adsystech (you will have until March 13 to do so), and then March and April data into Clarity beginning April 1. Plan to collect data on paper in March and enter it into the new system starting in April. We will expect you to “back enter” data from March that you collected on paper, and we will be transferring your HUD standard data from the Adsystech software into the Clarity software up through Feb. 29 for you to start with April 1.

Data quality is always important, especially for legacy data migration purposes:

  • A data quality task you might consider taking on is reconciling housing status and prior living situations logged in HMIS. A “cheat sheet” for cleaning up your status and prior living situations is linked on the Commerce HMIS website).
  • Another data quality task you might consider taking on is making sure to exit clients from programs if they’re no longer present in the program. An “active = yes” search on the client services search page would lead you to a list of people HMIS thinks still reside in your program. Exiting those who actually don’t reside in your program anymore (with accurate exit dates and destination information) would be an awesome quality improvement exercise.
  • Check with your various funders to ensure you’re capturing what you’re required to in HMIS.

We’re keeping our website as up-to-date as possible, and trainings for balance of state users who need to be trained on the new Clarity software will be listed soon. Stay tuned!

  • If you want to go check out some “how to” videos for the new software, go to:
  • Below is a draft data entry form that you can use as needed locally to collect your HMIS data on paper as you wait to go live on the new system April 1.  If you need a specific funder’s form (PATH, RHY or SSVF), we have those, too. Let us know.

The new state HMIS vendor is currently recruiting for an HMIS system administrator to work in Seattle serving HMIS users in King County. The job description, including information on how to apply, is included below.

Millions of dollars in Earned Income Tax Credits go unclaimed each year

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a benefit for working people with low to moderate incomes. Many people are eligible for a tax benefit that often goes unclaimed. Twenty percent of those eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) either do not claim the benefit on their taxes or do not file a tax return at all. The credit reduces the amount of taxes owed and results in a lump sum refund payment for most people who are eligible to claim it.

You must file a tax return to get your credit, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.

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How are you going to deliver supportive housing services in a Medicaid driven system?

The monthly DBHR Housing Topical Webinar is scheduled for Feb. 25 from 8:30-10 a.m. The topic will focus on delivering supportive housing services in a Medicaid-Driven System, featuring Carol Wilkins. 

click to register