Office of Family and Adult Homelessness Newsletter

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May 29, 2019

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

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

Homeless service providers are all too familiar with the mental health challenges that many individuals experiencing homelessness face. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that nearly one-third of unsheltered individuals in our state have some type of severe mental illness. The numbers are staggering, but what does this mean for the housing crisis response system?

According to Commerce partner Bitfocus, communities can help in three ways:

  • Prioritizing the Housing First model
  • Enhancing permanent supportive housing
  • Integrating mental health services with existing programs.

Read the full article with recommendations by clicking here

Is your community interested in addressing mental health needs on the streets? Join the Homeless and Housing Resource Network for session two of their three-part spotlight series: Building a Foundation on the Streets - Assessing Need for Mental Health Care in Encampments on May 30 at 3:30 p.m.EDT.

Learn more and register for this upcoming webinar by clicking here.

Time to Check Your HMIS Data

Green Check

It is time to make sure your Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data is up to date for the Oct. 1, 2017 - Sept. 30, 2018 System Performance Measures report submitted to HUD. The HMIS Team recommends the following:

  • Focus on these type codes: Street Outreach, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, PH – Rapid Re-Housing, PH – Permanent Supportive Housing, PH – Housing with Services and PH – Housing Only.  The other type codes matter as well, but the ones listed are most important right now.
  • Let your local Consolidated Homeless Grant manager lead know if any updates need to be made to your agencies projects or if you need any projects added.  You can also get in touch with us to get corrections/additions taken care of.   
  • Run the [GNRL-106] Program Roster in HMIS (under Program Based Reports).  Enter anyone who is currently being served in your project, but is not in HMIS yet.  Exit anyone who is no longer being served by your project.  Make sure the entry and exit dates are correct!
  • Run the [HUDX-225] HMIS Data Quality Report in HMIS (under HUD Reports), update records with errors, paying special attention to any element that shows over a 5% error rate (ignore name, SSN and DOB error rates for consent refused/anonymous records). Click here for the reference tool that will explain the different sections of the report.
  • Run the [GNRL-220] Program Details Report (under Program Based Reports) in HMIS, keep these fields in mind:
    • Housing move-in date (element 3.20) for Rapid Re-housing and other Permanent Housing projects. Don’t forget this important update! If this is blank, it looks like the participant was never housed by your project.
    • Update income and non-cash benefits before exiting (where required) – this is especially important for Continuum of Care-funded projects that are scored on this measure.
    • Enter a real exit destination – don’t choose don’t know, refused, data not collected, no exit interview completed, or “other” whenever it’s avoidable.
    • Living situation (element 3.917) for all projects – don’t choose don’t know, refused or data not collected whenever it’s avoidable.
    • Household “groups” – Is everyone enrolled in the project in the same group?  This helps determine household type; it’s important to make sure it’s right. 

Need help? Find contact information for the HMIS team by clicking here.

Great news for renters in your homeless programs!

Late rent notice extended to 14 days

Tenants now must be given 14 days' notice to catch up on late rent (instead of three). In addition, if the notice leads to eviction, court judges can consider extenuating circumstances such as job loss or hospitalization, expand a mitigation fund to ensure landlords receive judgment payments promptly while giving tenants more time to pay, and limit the attorney fees tenants can be required to pay.

Rent increases extended to 60 days

Tenants now must be given 60 days’ notice of rent increases instead of just 30. Homeless housing program staff can now help clients plan ahead for changes.

And remember that it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants and would-be tenants based on their source of income. Empower homeless housing staff and clients with this information and reach out to Washington Law Help for more support.

Myth vs. Fact

Myth: I have to exit people from my shelter at 90 days or I will be out of compliance with funders.

Fact:  There is no maximum length of stay in emergency shelters funded by the Emergency Solutions Grant, the Consolidated Homeless Grant or Office of Homeless Youth Young Adult Shelter grants. Reducing the length of stay in emergency shelters is a national and state homeless system performance measure and important goal. However, there is no funding rule that prohibits people staying in your shelter more than 90 days. Aim to make the length of stay in your shelter program as short as possible, but don’t exit people to homelessness based on this myth.

The 90-day time frame refers to the program design and how a program is classified. Emergency shelters are designed to provide temporary housing, normally up to 90 days. If the program intends for most people to stay for more than 90 days, it would not be considered an emergency shelter. So while there is no rule about exiting people at 90 days, the 90 day "design" factor speaks to the type of program. 

The Department of Commerce and Racial Disparities in Homelessness

Equity Corner

The Department of Commerce is committed to continuing the work on addressing racial disparities among homeless populations in Washington state. The updated State Plan to be released in July includes several action steps to address these disparities.

To learn more about this important issue, click here to read a recent article from