Office of Family and Adult Homelessness Newsletter

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Jan.16, 2018

Please forward to your sub grantees and contact your OFAH grant manager if you have any questions.

Homeless System Performance Updates

Office of Family and Adult Homelessness Newsletter

Draft updates to the Washington State Homeless System Performance Reports: County Report Card and Year-to-Year Comparison for the reporting period Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017 have been submitted to counties for review.

The County Report Card includes critical homeless system performance measure outcome data for the state and for each county:

  • Exits to Permanent Housing
  • Returns to Homelessness
  • Length of Time Homeless
  • Unsheltered Entries

    Final reports will be available by the end of January.  You can view last year’s reports here:

    If you have any questions or feedback regarding the Homeless System Performance Reports, please email

    Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) and 811 Programs Update


    The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) and the Section 811 programs came under new grant management when the Housing Assistance Unit reorganized in summer 2017.  Jeff Spring is managing both federal programs, now that Matt Mazur-Hart has moved into management of other Commerce programs.

    HOPWA celebrated its 25th year of existence in Tampa in August. The program has undergone some changes in its history, including a revamped formula for distribution of federal dollars nationwide.  The new formula relies solely on the number of persons with an HIV infection, whereas the old formula looked at cumulative numbers of both those with HIV and deceased persons.

    Section 811, another low-income housing program, is aimed at clients age 18-64 who live with a disabling condition.  Commerce partners with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), who provides client referrals to housing projects with whom Commerce has partnered to set aside units for referrals.  DSHS is targeting clients living in institutional or residential care settings who are able to live independently, but have previously had no place to where they may be discharged.  The program helps DSHS open beds for unserved persons who need residential care settings.

    Update on the Medicaid Transformation Waiver Implementation

    At the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee meeting on Jan. 3, members heard a presentation from Jon Brumbach (Health Care Authority (HCA)) and Melodie Pazolt (DSHS Behavioral Health Administration) on implementation of the Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Waiver. Here is the latest on implementation in our state. 

    Washington finalized the protocols with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over the holidaysThe protocols provide the details for Initiative 3: Foundational Community Supports, which provide supportive housing and supported employment. That went live Jan. 1. HCA’s Fact Sheet has details if you are new to this conversation.

    Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions related to housing and employment:

    Supportive housing services are ongoing supports to help people find and keep stable, independent housing. [Services do not pay rent, arrears, or utilities.]

    Supportive Housing eligibility: services are targeted benefits, meaning they are not entitlements for all enrollees. Supportive housing services are designed for people who experience and whose health needs are established through various systems like the health care system, behavioral health system and long-term care services system:

    • Chronic homelessness (HUD definition)
    • Frequent or lengthy institutional contacts [including criminal justice]
    • Frequent or lengthy stays in adult residential care
    • Frequent turnover of in-home caregivers
    • PRISM Risk score of 1.5 or above

    A full FAQ is on the HCA website.

    If you have further questions, contact Cary Retlin at

    Spotlight: WLIHA 2017 Advocacy Awards


    The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA) announced the 2017 Advocacy Awards during its annual meeting on Nov. 30, 2017. Honorees include the Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness as Advocacy Partner of the Year. Here’s a blurb from the WLIHA announcement:

    Advocacy Partner of the Year: Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness

    During the 2017 legislative session, the Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness led the state in mobilizing advocates and elevating the urgency to prioritize affordable homes and solutions to end homelessness. Advocates in the 40th legislative district contacted their legislators at a higher rate than any district in the state!

    Coalition Co-Chairs Mike Parker (Opportunity Council) and Barbara Johnson-Vinna (Whatcom County) are members of our Homelessness Advisory Committee, and Coalition lead Hill Cummings is a steering committee member of our Resident Action Project. The Coalition plays an important local leadership role in mobilizing advocates and serves as a thought leader and extraordinary partner to the Housing Alliance. We are proud to honor the Whatcom County Coalition for the Homeless as our Advocacy Partner of the Year.

    You can watch the annual meeting and see who the WLIHA honored as other amazing advocates in our state here.


    Just a reminder that the Department of Commerce website has resources on homelessness in Washington state. Last January, Commerce staff wrote the following papers available here:

    Why is homelessness increasing?

    Counts of Homelessness: Different Counts and What they Mean

    Overview of the Homeless Housing System and Funding

    Upcoming Events

    2018 Point in Time Count

    The 2018 Point in Time (PIT) count is almost here. On Thursday, Jan. 25, counties in Washington state will conduct the annual count of sheltered and unsheltered persons experiencing homelessness. Commerce has a recorded webinar with training information available here: Counties will be contacted about webinars on PIT data entry in the next month.

    Volunteers are needed! There are opportunities to help out in various aspects of the PIT, including census takers and people to staff local events. Contact the coordinator for your county: Point In Time Count Coordinator Contact List by County – 2018.

    If you have PIT related questions, please contact Ian Kinder-Pyle at 

    HMIS trainings

    The HMIS Team offers ongoing training for new and current HMIS users. Find information on the Commerce website on the HMIS page here: or contact Maylee Stevenson at

    Housing First Partners Conference

    Housing First

    Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) and Pathways Housing First Institute have opened registration for the Housing First Partners Conference, April 9 – 12, 2018 in Denver, Colo. Information available here:

    NAEH Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness


    Registration is open for the 2018 National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, March 1 - 2 in Los Angeles. Information available here:

    Housing Washington

    The annual conference on affordable housing will take place Oct. 2-4, 2018 in Tacoma. If you have ideas for session topic or speakers for the conference, submit them at: