June Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) Newsletter - Rising homelessness in Washington, Anti-Criminalization toolkit

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Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) Newsletter

June 2016

Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) Myth Buster

Myth: I shouldn’t call my CHG program manager with this question; they will think it’s a silly question.

Fact: Your CHG program manager loves to hear from you! There’s no such thing as a silly question. We’re waiting for your calls and emails.

Final Invoices for State Fiscal Year 2016 due July 18, 2016

The Department of Commerce is required by the Office of Financial Management to report fiscal year 2016 expenses in order to close the state accounting books under a tight deadline. All CHG invoices through June 2016 are to be received by Commerce no later than Monday, July 18. If you have sub grantees, please plan ahead with them to meet this deadline.

Contact your CHG program manager today if you have any concerns or questions.

Rapid Re-Housing

Fair Housing Act and Non-Discrimination

We want our grantees to be aware that their programs must comply with all federal, state and local nondiscrimination laws, regulations and policies as stated in the general terms and conditions.  This includes the Washington State Law Against Discrimination and the Fair Housing Act and its amendments. Click the button below to read the May 23 memo from Tedd Kelleher and Kim Justice to Commerce grantees.

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Rising homelessness in Washington State

Tedd Kelleher Quote

The Housing Finance Commission published this recent report providing a comprehensive and easy-to-understand primer about the increase in homelessness. This is a great educational piece to share with board members, elected officials or even reference on your website or in your own community newsletters.

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Toolkit to Combat the Criminalization of Homelessness

The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance has rolled out a new toolkit to combat criminalization of homelessness.  Local ordinances, designed to move people who appear to be impoverished or homeless out of downtown core areas, actually aggravate homelessness.  Being incarcerated can place enormous obstacles to finding housing or employment on the backs of people who are homeless.  They also cost communities considerably more in tax dollars than does providing housing. Jail is expensive compared to housing!  Read and download the toolkit.

Click to Learn More

Webinar on the Toolkit
Pervasive myths and stereotypes about chronic homelessness have led to the pursuit of 'solutions' - like criminalization - that only exacerbate the problem and lead to more human suffering. That's why the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA) created the Toolkit to Combat the Criminalization of Homelessness. Please join the WLIHA during our monthly topical housing webinar to learn more about the issues of criminalizing homelessness and the resources and information included in the toolkit.

Please register for Department of Behavioral Health Resources monthly topical webinar on Housing - Decriminalizing Homelessness toolkit on June 30, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

click to register

Housing Programs Performance Audit

The Washington State Office of Financial Management has hired TAP International, Inc. to conduct a performance audit of the housing programs funded by the document recording surcharges administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce.

The audit is designed to answer the following two questions:

  1. Have the document recording surcharge funds been used effectively by recipients to address homelessness?
  2. How well is the Department of Commerce meeting its statutory requirements for the Homeless Housing and Assistance grant program?

Here’s what you can expect over the next several months:

  • All lead agencies will be asked to complete a short online survey about your programs and activities supported with the surcharge funds, the data collected about those programs and activities, and your experience in working with Commerce.

  • Up to 11 lead agencies will be selected for a brief (two hours) in-person visit from TAP International.

  • TAP International will conduct three focus groups – one in King County, one in western Washington, and one in eastern Washington – to gain additional insights from housing providers on whether the document recording surcharges have improved the effectiveness of your programs and resulted in reducing homeless.

The audit will result in a written report to the Legislature, which is due by Dec.1, 2016.

Private For-Profit Audit

Reed & Associates is wrapping up their examination of the private for-profit documentation this month and will produce a draft report on whether or not Commerce has set aside the required 45 percent of the document recording surcharges for calendar year 2015. They will meet with the Office of Financial Management and a landlord representative to discuss the draft before a final report is released.  Following the most recent period, Reed determined (with the exception of $17,894) the expenditures were properly recorded and made in support of private rental housing.

Core Components for Landlord Engagement

Katy Miller, of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, has written a great article on the basic concepts of landlord engagement.   Given that a rapid rehousing program is dependent upon healthy landlord relationships, this is timely information. 

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FREE Rapid Re-Housing Know-How Series

Does rapid re-housing (RRH) work for domestic violence survivors? What about for people with high barriers to housing? How will I know when to exit a household out of my RRH program? What does a successful RRH program look like? What does case management look like for RRH?

Find the answers to these questions and much more in the Rapid Re-Housing Know-How series – a collection of fact-sheets, blog posts, and webinars by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Whether you’re new to RRH or you’ve been leading the pack, there are lots of great resources available!

Click to Learn More

Fraud Alert: Phony Grant Scams

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is reporting that it has received complaints from people around the country who say they have been contacted by phone about a HUD award.  The caller uses a HUD regional office phone number when asked, and requests a fee for processing the “award”. 

Click to Learn More

Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Training and Assistance

Read our HMIS Training Catalog for full descriptions, requirements, and more. We offer at least two trainings a month for new HMIS users and current users on using Clarity HMIS. Please contact Maylee Stevenson ( maylee.stevenson@commerce.wa.gov)  to request a local training. We need a minimum of five attendees to hold trainings outside of Olympia. Check our HMIS Training Catalog  periodically for new training opportunities.

HMIS Questions?

View our HMIS Technical Assistance contact sheet for HMIS help contact information.

For general HMIS questions, check out our HMIS website (www.commerce.wa.gov/HMIS) for resources and more.