March Consolidated Homeless Grant Newsletter

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Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) Newsletter

March 16, 2017

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

Reminder: Homeless Housing funding applications are due to Commerce by April 18!

Annual County Reports Due Monday April 10

Annual County Reports were emailed to Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) lead agencies on Friday, March 10 and are due back to Commerce on Monday, April 10. The report includes an inventory of all programs that serve individuals and families facing homelessness. It also collects 2016 expenditure information on projects that receive public funding for homeless assistance activities.

Every provider will need to contribute to this report either to update their participant data in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), make a correction to the bed inventory for one of their projects or enter project expenditures. Please make sure to respond quickly and work closely with the CHG lead agencies on this report when they ask for assistance.

In addition to the policy and program decisions made at the state level using data from this report, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses this data to assess our capacity to serve populations in need and measure our performance over time. HUD also scores the Continuums of Care in our state on that performance, and funding can be at risk if data are incomplete or inaccurate. It is very important to make sure all of the project participants and beds are accounted for, especially related to permanent housing interventions, such as rapid re-housing beds used during the Point-In-Time count, permanent supportive housing beds and beds set aside for chronically homeless individuals and families.

We appreciate your great work on this report. 


Ian Kinder-Pyle,, 360-725-2976 or your CHG program manager if you have any questions.

Myths and Facts

Myth: If my client gets a job they will lose their disability benefits, income and health insurance

Fact: The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers comprehensive work incentives that allow you to keep your benefits for quite a long time. Should you be unable to continue working as a result of your disability, SSA may restart your benefits. Because some SSA rules may be hard to understand, all states have benefit planning resources to help you get started. For more information, go to

SSA has a free Ticket to Work Program available to all Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries. Specialists connect individuals to employment supports in their area, such as career counseling, training and job placement. They can also explain in detail how going back to work will impact a person’s benefits. The website includes links to local employment resources and offers free training webinars for beneficiaries and service providers. For more information, go to

Help Clients Access Social Security Benefit Information Online

The fastest way to verify Social Security and supplemental security income benefits is through a My Social Security account. Don’t wait for the mail. Go online to view, print, or save an official letter. If your clients are unable to go online, they can call Social Security's  toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

My Social Security Account

Spotlight: Community Partnerships, Diversion, and Low-Barrier Shelter Led to Rural Resources’ Success in Unsheltered Prioritization

From 2015 to 2016, Rural Resources increased the percentage of unsheltered households served from 19 percent to 48 percent in Stevens County and from 13 percent  to 71 percent in Ferry County.  We asked Cruze Thompson, Rural Resource’s Emergency and Transitional Housing Manager, what changes helped achieve such a significant improvement of unsheltered prioritization. Thompson reported the increase is due to several programmatic changes and ongoing, strong relationships with local victim service providers, mental health services, Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and landlords.

Some of the programmatic changes include providing diversion services. “When working work clients faced with an eviction notice, instead of just giving assistance to almost anyone, we look at what other options they may have first," Thompson said. "Seek help from family or friends, negotiate payment agreement with a landlord, seek the AREN (Additional Requirements for Emergent Needs) grant from DSHS or contact the faith-based organization." 

Reducing shelter eligibility criteria and shelter rules were also critical to the program’s success. 

“When I first started, the shelter intake and rules were strict, and some of those rules would automatically turn people away from access to shelter," Thompson said. "The rules since then have been reworked twice, both times drastically decreasing eligibility requirements to point of only needing to be homeless to enter.”  

HUD Releases Additional Requirements for Coordinated Assessment

On Jan. 23, 2017, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released long-anticipated guidance around coordinated entry for Continuums of Care funded by HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) program (a.k.a. McKinney-Vento). 

The guidance calls for most of the same requirements already called out in the CHG guidelines, but adds many required written policies and procedures not currently mandated under CHG.  Since there is some overlap between recipients of CHG and CoC funding, Commerce staff will be working in the coming weeks to determine how, or if, the CHG guidelines will be amended to reflect the HUD requirements.  Any changes to the guidelines will be effective with the version for release July 1, 2017 that coincides with the new contract period.

Notice Establishing Additional Requirements for a Continuum of Care Centralized or Coordinated Assessment System (PDF)

National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) Provides Direction

Stephanie Reinauer came back from the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness with a “to do” list from Nan Roman, president of NAEH.

  • Increase and improve diversion
  • Focus shelters on exits to housing
  • Bring rapid rehousing to scale
  • Use transitional and permanent supportive housing resources more strategically
  • Improve linkages to mainstream programs
  • Develop more affordable housing
  • Fight for living wages
  • Reduce discrimination

Want to Make Your Shelter More Effective?

Ask yourself these “10 Critical Questions for Every Shelter and Shelter System.” To start with, is shelter a process that leads to housing? Or is it a destination where people get comfortable and stay for a while?

Read more here.

USA Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Released an Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Supportive Housing

Download the new guide to support the safe and healthy development of young children in family shelters.

Commerce Received 135 Stage 1 Applications for Housing Trust Fund (HTF)

The Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) has received 135 Stage 1 applications to the State Housing Trust Fund (HTF) for affordable housing projects across the state. A total of 6,780 affordable housing units (including 730 beds) have been proposed, with a total ask to the HTF of $234,750,598. 

The entire list of Stage 1 applications are located here.

To review HTF’s 2017 and 2018 funding cycles process, including next steps, please review the Solicitation.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Announces Funding Opportunity: Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals

SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment  is now accepting applications for FY 2017 Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals. This opportunity supports the development and/or expansion of community infrastructure that integrates behavioral health treatment and services for substance use disorders (SUDs) and co-occurring mental and substance use disorders (CODs), permanent housing, and other critical services for individuals, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. One of the grant’s required activities is connecting clients who experience SUDs or CODs to enrollment resources for health insurance, Medicaid, and mainstream benefits such as SSI/SSDI.

Applications are due by Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Details and Application Materials.

Association of Washington Cities and Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) Released Homelessness and Housing Toolkit for Cities

Cities have an important role to play in addressing the crisis of homelessness. The toolkit includes information on rental assistance, master leasing, housing first, cold weather shelters, and other critical interventions. We love how this resource provides clear definitions, funding strategies, and real world success stories.  

Homelessness & Housing Toolkit for Cities