Office of Family and Adult Homelessness Newsletter

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May 1, 2018

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

The 2018 Conference on Ending Homelessness

2018 Ending Homelessness

We hope to see you at the 2018 Conference on Ending Homelessness May 22 - 23 in Yakima! A pre-conference training on student homelessness kicks off on May 21. Conference information and registration can be found at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance website.

Conference presenters and speakers include services providers, people who have experienced homelessness and other community leaders with innovative ideas and urgent actions to get people housed. We are looking forward to keynotes by community organizer Toya Andreka-Jean Thomas, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Marc Dones, project director for *Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities (SPARC), whose recent report on racial inequity and homelessness was highlighted in the March Office of Adult and Family Homelessness (OFAH) newsletter.

Look for Commerce staff participating in the following sessions and discussions:

May 22              

7:30 –  8:15 a.m. Low Barrier Shelter and Housing Breakfast Meeting

9:20 - 10:50 a.m. The Why and How of Low Barrier Housing

11:10 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. Real Talk and Data Walk

 2 – 3:30 p.m. Washington State Coordinated Entry Guidelines Meeting

 3:50 – 5:05 p.m. Medicaid Housing and Employment Services for People who are Homeless

May 23             

7:30 – 8:45 a.m. HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Breakfast

Commerce will also have a vendor booth with computer access to our Homeless System Performance page. Stop by and say hello.

*Note: A previous version of this e-mail referred to SPARC incorrectly as Seattle Parks and Recreation. In this instance, the acronym stands for Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities.

Data Year Round!

While Commerce prepares to submit the federal Point-in-Time (PIT) data to U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Commerce also makes available “supplemental administrative snapshots” year round.

The Washington state departments of Commerce, Social and Health Services, Corrections, Employment Security and Health all submit client level data to the state’s Research and Data Analysis (RDA) database. These snapshots look at all of the people who touch those systems, checking to see if they receive basic food assistance and their housing status for the months of January and July.

These snapshots are useful tools when evaluating local PIT data to better understand how many people experiencing homelessness are accessing food assistance that may not be accessing the local homeless crisis response system. Let us know how your community uses this data to evaluate need and plan for a more comprehensive response.

The snapshots are located on Commerce's HMIS page under DSHS – HMIS Matched Data Analysis.

Source of Income Discrimination

Beginning in September, landlords will no longer be allowed to refuse to rent to someone because they use rental or income assistance to help pay the rent. Commerce is interested in learning how homeless service providers will educate landlords and clients with this new information. Please reach out to Kathy Kinard at with your ideas.

New Landlord Mitigation Program: Your help is needed

This summer, Commerce will launch the new Landlord Mitigation program created through House Bill 2578 (ensuring housing options). That bill created a new program intended to help pay some move-in repairs and some eligible damages to private-market and nonprofit landlords. Our first step will be to hire staff to develop and deploy the new program later this year.

We need your help to start our outreach efforts to landlord liaisons through this six-question survey to build a list of interested parties around the state and other local incentive programs:

Contact Cary Retlin at if you have questions about the new Landlord Mitigation Program.

Myths vs. Facts

Myths and Facts

Myth: Commerce's monitoring of grantees that include “monitoring findings” result in funding decreases or other punitive actions.

Fact: “Monitoring Findings” in a Commerce monitoring report result in corrective actions for what Commerce has determined to be out of compliance with contractual requirements or program guidelines. Monitoring is required to ensure that public funds are being spent on activities that are allowable and appropriate to end homelessness. It is also an opportunity to provide Commerce with information about your program operations and systems work, and for Commerce staff to provide guidance, assistance and training.

Changes in the Extended Foster Care (EFC) program

State homeless housing service providers need to be aware of important changes to the Washington State Extended Foster Care (EFC) program that will take effect on July 1. Key changes include:

  • The opportunity to enroll in the program until age 21.
  • The option to unenroll/reenroll in the program from ages 18-21 as needed.
  • The option for foster youth who were in a trial return home, on an extended run from care, or in a JRA facility on their 18th birthday to enroll.


Mary Van Cleve of Columbia Legal Services created this fact sheet with additional information and has offered to answer questions and provide training. She can be reached at

Deactivation of Housing Search Northwest (NW)

OFAH staff alerted Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) lead grantees that Housing Search NW will be deactivated in the coming weeks. Some grantees use this site to meet the CHG requirement to provide an “interested landlord list” for people seeking housing assistance. (Section 2.2 of the CHG Guidelines). Grantees will need to plan for an alternative method to meet this requirement. Contact your grant manager if you have questions.

50th Anniversary of Fair Housing Act

April 11 marked 50 years of the Fair Housing Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. Knowledge of, and adherence to, the Fair Housing Act is imperative in homeless housing work. Check out the following resources about the Fair Housing Act:         

If you’re at the Conference for Ending Homelessness in Yakima next month, look for the session Fair Housing Rights and Regulations presented by staff from the Fair Housing Center of Washington on Tuesday, May 22 from 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

Administration of the HOPWA program is moving from Commerce to the Department of Health (DOH).  DOH administers the Ryan White program, a medical care program for persons diagnosed as HIV+. HUD has been advocating for HOPWA and Ryan White to be co-managed by the same grantee; this allows for better coordination between funding sources, and streamlines service delivery to eligible clients. The current HOPWA competitive grants expire May 31, and DOH will execute new contracts beginning June 1. The HOPWA formula grants expire June 30, and DOH will also execute new contracts July 1. Project sponsors will not experience any lapse in contracting due to the administrative switch.

Upcoming Event


The National Conference on Ending Homelessness will be held July 23 - 25 in Washington, D.C. This will be an informative and productive conference, including Capitol Hill visits and a chance to meet and collaborate with like-minded individuals who are working toward the shared goals of ending homelessness in America. Register here.