Thursday, August 29, 2019

2020 State Funding for Addressing the Homeless Crisis


Upcoming state funding for Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program Program (HHAPP).  
First, it’s less money over a longer period of time ($7 million for April 1, 2020 to December 3, 2025).  
Second, it’s limited in its allowed uses, divided between Continuum of Care and County ($3-4 million each), and has some requirements.

Estimates of $ for Sonoma County:

Santa Rosa, Petaluma/Sonoma County

























For Continuum of Care:  $3,987,194.20
For Sonoma County:  $4,027,593.20
Total: $8,014,707.40

Description of HHAPP


Assembly Bill 101, the Housing Development and Financing trailer bill, which is part of the 2019-2020 State Budget package, has established the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program (HHAPP). This one-time investment of $650 million, administered by the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (HCFC) within the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, will provide jurisdictions with one-time grant funds to support regional coordination and expand or develop local capacity to address homelessness challenges informed by a best-practices framework focused on moving homeless individuals and families into permanent housing and supporting the efforts of those individuals and families to maintain their permanent housing. An explanation of the program parameters is below.

Eligible Applicants & Application Process 
HHAPP applicants are limited to “jurisdictions”—a city, county, or Continuum of Care (CoC). To be eligible, an applicant shall provide: 
• How the jurisdiction has coordinated with other jurisdictions to identify their share of the regional need to address homelessness, and how the requested funds will help meet the jurisdiction’s share of that need; 
• Identification of all funds currently being used to provide housing and homeless services for homeless populations in the jurisdiction;
• An assessment of existing programs to address homelessness and an identification of gaps in housing and services for the homeless populations in the jurisdiction;
• Identiication of how funds requested in the application will complement pre-existing funds, close gaps, and serve the local homeless populations;
• Measurable goals, including individuals served and percentage of individuals successfully placed in permanent housing; and,
• Evidence of connection the with local CoC’s Coordinated Entry System. 
Jurisdictions must also agree to participate in a statewide Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). 
HHAPP applications are due on or before February 15, 2020, and awards determinations will be made no later than April 1, 2020. If funding remains, a second-round of awards may be made.

Available Funding 
HHAPP is granting a total of $650 million. Funding shall be made available based on a regional proportionate share of the total homeless population, based on the 2019 Homeless PointIn-Time Count. The four funding categories are as follows:
 • $190 million available to CoCs;
 • $275 million available to the 13 big cities;
 • $175 million available to counties; and
 • $10 million scheduled for later use. 

Note that the formula for HEAP included giving eight counties with 2017 PIT counts between 2500 and 3000 a base floor of $10 million, plus an amount for their share of the statewide PIT for that year.  HHAP eliminates that floor for those counties in favor of a straight percentage based on their shoe of 2019 PIT counts.  The legislation also states that applicants can include CoCs, counties, and large cities.  While if encourages regionalization, and collaboration,  it is still unclear if Home Sonoma Leadership Council and the County of Sonoma can each apply.

Allowable Uses 
HHAPP awards are for one-time uses to address homelessness using 8 evidence-based solutions: rental assistance, rapid rehousing, operating subsidies to supportive housing units, emergency shelters, and navigation centers; incentives to landlords, such as security deposits and holding feeds; systems support to create regional partnerships and maintain a homeless services and housing delivery system; hotel and motel conversions; prevention and shelter diversion to permanent housing; and new navigation centers and emergency shelters based on demonstrated need. 
Additional stipulations include:
 • A maximum 5% use of funds to meet federal requirements for housing funding, such as developing a strategic homelessness plan or infrastructure to support coordinated entry and the HMIS;
 • A maximum 7% use of funds to cover administrative expenses incurred by the city, county or CoC; and,
 • A minimum spending limit requiring at least 8% use of funds to establish or expand services meeting the needs of homeless youth populations. 

Reporting Requirements & Expenditure Timeline 
HCFC may monitor activities to ensure compliance and request repayment of funds for failure to comply with requirements. HHAPP recipients must submit annual progress reports and a final report, no later than January 1, 2026, regarding the expenditure of funds under the program.

Additionally:
• By May 31, 2023, cities and CoCs must contractually obligate at least 50% of their program funds; counties must contractually obligate 100% of their program funds. 
• For counties, any funds not contractually obligated by May 31, 2023, shall be reverted to the CoC that serves the county. 
• For cities and CoCs, any funds not expended by December 31, 2023, shall be returned to the HCFC. 
• Any funds not expended by June 30, 2025, must be reverted to the General Fund.

Homeless Data Integration System Project
Shortly after the Council was transferred from HCD to BCSH in July 2018, Council Chair Secretary Podesta directed HCFC staff to explore options for developing a California Homeless Data Integration System (CDIS), including a state-level Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Phase I would include developing a state-level data warehouse that could import and integrate client-level data from all of California’s existing local HMIS and provide an option for CoCs to participate in a state HMIS if they choose to do so. The state HMIS would comply with HUD standards to facilitate federal reporting. 
Additionally, the proposed system would feature data analytics reporting tools, which would be available to both the state and CoCs. This would give the CoCs additional information to assist in policy setting and prioritizing services provided to homeless and at-risk individuals and families. In addition, it would allow the state to better understand the scope and characteristics of homelessness throughout California. Phase II would include the development of an integrated platform that could import and link other client-level data from various state and local homeless programs, which would serve as a powerful, data driven tool used to inform policy and resourcing decisions. The Council would be in a position to provide data-driven advice on formulating sound policy and make recommendations on the most effective and efficient use of funds. 

Exploring Development of a California Homeless Data Integration System 

Background Information 
At the July 11, 2018 Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (Council) meeting, Chris Pitcher, an expert in HMIS and a consultant for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), made a presentation to the Council regarding a state-level homeless data integration system. Mr. Pitcher’s assessment included three salient observations: (1) California has provided an unprecedented amount of funding toward the statewide homeless crisis; (2) California lacks the appropriate data infrastructure to measure the impact and effectiveness of various homelessness programs; and (3) without statewide data, California is trying to solve a problem that it does not have the data to fully understand. The Council’s Chair, Secretary Alexis Podesta, directed staff to explore options for developing a California Homeless Data Integration System (CHDIS), including a state-level Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). 

Since July 2018, HCFC staff, in collaboration with CDT and the HUD consultant, have:
• Held vendor demonstrations with vendors currently providing HMIS solutions to CoCs in California to gain a better understanding of the functions and capabilities of current HMIS operating in the state. HCFC also held demonstrations with other IT vendors that were interested in discussing capabilities of their IT solutions and how they might support the goals of a potential HDIS.
• Surveyed CoCs to learn more about how local jurisdictions administer their HMIS and how best practices and lessons learned at the local level could inform the state in developing a state HDIS. Extended interviews and site visits were conducted with current HMIS users in seven CoCs around the state to determine necessary requirements to build into a potential system and to consider options for improving on current HMIS software options. 
• Collaborated with the California Department of Technology (CDT) to identify challenges and opportunities related to a CHDIS project. 
• Submitted Stage I and Stage II Business Analysis documents required by CDT as part of the state IT project development process. 
• Published a Request for Information (RFI) that invited vendors to provide their proposed solutions to meet the goals of a CHDIS, as well as a cost estimate for their solution. Thirteen responses to the RFI were received on or before November 9, 2018, when the responses were due. 

As currently envisioned, the CHDIS would consist of two phases: 
• Phase I would include developing a state-level data warehouse that could import and integrate client-level data from all of California’s existing local HMIS and provide an option for CoCs to participate in a state HMIS if they choose to do so. The state HMIS would comply with HUD standards to facilitate federal reporting. Additionally, the proposed system would feature data analytics reporting tools, which would be available to both the state and CoCs. This would give the CoCs additional information to assist in policy setting and prioritizing services provided to homeless and at-risk individuals and families. In addition, it would allow the state to better understand the scope and characteristics of homelessness throughout California and begin to align state resources more effectively and efficiently with the needs of local communities. The Council would be in a position to provide data-driven advice on formulating sound policy and make recommendations on the most effective and efficient use of funds. 

• Phase II would include the development of an integrated platform that could import and link other client-level data from various state and local homeless programs, which would serve as a powerful, data driven tool used to inform policy and resourcing decisions. 

Frequently Asked Questions 


Question: Would CoCs be required to give up their current HMIS system? 
Answer: The CoCs would not be required to give up their current HMIS system. 

The proposed solution would include an option for CoCs to use a state-supported HMIS, which may reduce the burden felt by under-resourced CoCs currently maintaining an independent local HMIS. The state-supported HMIS would allow CoCs to directly enter data into the system, and the proposed system would comply with HUD standards to facilitate federal reporting. 

Whether individual CoCs decided to keep their own system or use the state-supported HMIS system, the Council envisions that client level data would be exported to the state’s database on a quarterly basis. If Phase II was implemented, the CoCs’ data would be integrated with the data from state departments that have programs or funding to address homelessness, which would provide critical insights into homelessness issues in California. 

Question: Would the state’s proposed data system track individual-level data?
Answer: Yes, the system would include the capacity to track individual-level data. 

This data is important to provide a comprehensive picture of the scope and demographics of homelessness in California, as well as the services and supports being provided. Council staff are working in close collaboration with CDT and data privacy/security experts to ensure the data system requirements would provide sufficient safeguards to protect sensitive data, as well as ensure compliance with all state and federal privacy and security laws. 

Question: What would be the benefit to CoCs participating in this project? 
Answer: The CoCs would be able to opt into the state HMIS as an alternative to administering their own CoC-level HMIS. 

All CoCs would gain access to a system that could integrate data and produce reports that provide feedback and local insights into homelessness, including alignment between programs and needs, opportunities for collaboration across programs, gaps in funding and services, and effective community strategies. The system would enhance both state and local entities’ ability to identify and develop effective strategies to reduce homelessness and better direct resources to ensure they have maximum impact in addressing the needs of California’s homeless.

Market Analysis 
Proposed IT projects in California must complete the Project Approval Lifecyle (PAL) process under the oversight of the California Department of Technology (CDT). The PAL process requires a thorough market analysis as a preliminary step to developing a specific IT solution. Throughout HCFC’s exploration of a potential HDIS, a consultant from HUD has provided expert advice and support, including information about how other states have implemented a statewide HDIS and what features of an IT solution are required by HUD for CoCs to be eligible for federal homelessness funding. 

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