KS-505 Johnson County Continuum of Care on Homelessness
Staff contact: Erika Garcia Reyes, firstname.lastname@example.org
UCS is the lead agency for the KS-505 Johnson County Continuum of Care on Homelessness or CoC, a community collaboration that seeks to improve the community’s response to poverty and homelessness. The CoC is made up of both private and public organizations and agencies who either serve those who are currently homeless or those who are most at risk. Together, with private and public resources, the members of the CoC work to create a comprehensive safety net for those who are homeless or facing homelessness that provides shelter and assists them to regain stable housing. The CoC meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 8:30 a.m., except December, and is open to all who wish to work together to prevent and end homelessness in Johnson County. Currently, meetings are being held virtually through Zoom.
On an annual basis, UCS submits a consolidated application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on behalf of the CoC for housing and supportive services programs.
The term “homelessness” conjures up a variety of images and experiences. Even for those who work year round to assist households to regain and sustain stable housing, the term has multiple meanings. The experience of homelessness results in significant barriers and challenges for adults and children, both now and in the future. Johnson County’s Continuum of Care on Homelessness is a collaboration of public and private service providers committed to quickly and effectively responding to housing crises in order to end homelessness among local residents.
Since its inception, United Community Services has addressed issues related to poverty through program activities that raise awareness, plan collaboratively and mobilize resources.
KS-505’s FY 2021 Continuum of Care on Homelessness’ Competition Public Notification for Proposals
Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a national competitive funding opportunity to Continuums of Care (CoC) working to end homelessness. UCS acts as Johnson County’s CoC lead agency (KS-505) and submits the application annually on behalf of local members. In FY 2020, $768,911 was awarded to members of KS-505’s CoC to support 7 programs in Johnson County offering permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, homeless data management services and CoC planning support.
In 2021, KS-505 is opening the application process locally prior to HUD’s official release of the RFP to provide adequate time for any organization or agency committed to ending homelessness in Johnson County, KS to learn about and apply for CoC funding. Each year the CoC accepts and considers proposals from organizations whether they have previously received funding or not and regardless of whether the CoC is applying for new funding.
HUD released the FY2021 CoC NOFA on August 18, 2021. An updated local application timeline for KS-505 can be found here. It was approved by the KS-505 CoC Board on September 8, 2021.
For more information, please contact Erika Garcia Reyes, email@example.com.
Program Description. The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program (24 CFR part 578) is designed to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; to provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, states, and local governments to quickly re-house homeless individuals, families, persons fleeing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and youth while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness; to promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and to optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness.
In FY 2021, the KS-505 Continuum of Care, which serves Johnson County KS, anticipates that it will be eligible to apply for approximately $700-800,000 based on 2020 awards and bonuses.
CoC Program Components. 24 CFR 578.37 states that CoC funds may be used for projects under five program components: permanent housing (including rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing); transitional housing; Supportive Services Only; HMIS; and in some cases, homelessness prevention.
The likely components that will be funded in the FY 2021 CoC Program Competition will be:
- Permanent Housing (either Permanent Supportive Housing or Rapid-Rehousing);
- Transitional Housing;
- Supportive Services Only; and
In addition to funding projects that use these components, KS-505 will likely be able to apply for projects that include the Transitional Housing and Permanent Housing-Rapid Re-Housing components in a single project, a Joint TH and PH-RRH component project. If your agency or organization is interested in either renewing or applying for a new project in one of the program components listed, please submit a Letter of Intent to apply in KS-505’s FY 2021 CoC competition by 4 p.m. on Friday, July 30, 2021 to the following individuals: Erika Garcia Reyes (firstname.lastname@example.org), Christina Ashie Guidry (email@example.com), and Cathy Goodwin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For a more detailed description of the CoC program components, please click below:
KS-505 regularly reviews the performance of CoC funded programs to assure that they meet the needs of local residents experiencing homelessness, result in successful and sustainable permanent housing, and that awarded funding is spent down in a timely manner so that funds are not returned unspent. KS-505 members work together to support the success of CoC funded programs. However, under certain circumstances HUD CoC funding may be recommended for reallocation due to a number of factors. Click here for KS-505’s reallocation process.
In FY2021, CoC project applications are scored during the rank and review process on a number of performance-related criteria. These include: housing stability, increased total income, bed utilization, housing first practices, data quality, and fiscal responsibility. The KS-505 Board delegated the responsibility to the rank and review committee to review, and update the scoring sheet, and project application to meet HUD guidelines and priorities. The project application is shared at the annual NOFO training. Click here to view the rank and review scoring break down for the FY2021 NOFO.
2021 Policy Priorities. HUD’s selection criteria include the following priorities to support the goal of ending homelessness:
HUD’s selection criteria include the following priorities to support the goal of ending homelessness:
- Ending homelessness for all persons. To end homelessness, CoCs should identify, engage, and effectively serve all persons experiencing homelessness. CoCs should measure their performance based on local data that consider the challenges faced by all subpopulations experiencing homelessness in the geographic area (e.g., veterans, youth, families, or those experiencing chronic homelessness). CoCs should partner with housing, health care, and supportive services providers to expand housing options, such as permanent supportive housing, housing subsidies, and rapid rehousing. Additionally, CoCs should use local data to determine the characteristics of individuals and families with the highest needs and longest experiences of homelessness to develop housing and supportive services tailored to their needs.
- Use a Housing First approach. Housing First prioritizes rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing and does not have service participation requirements or preconditions. CoC Program funded projects should help individuals and families move quickly into permanent housing, and the CoC should measure and help projects reduce the length of time people experience homelessness. Additionally, CoCs should engage landlords and property owners to identify an inventory of housing available for rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing participants, remove barriers to entry, and adopt client-centered service methods. HUD encourages CoCs to assess how well Housing First approaches are being implemented in their communities.
- Reducing Unsheltered Homelessness. In recent years, the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness has risen significantly, including a rising number of encampments in many communities across the country. People living unsheltered have extremely high rates of physical and mental illness and substance use disorders. CoCs should identify permanent housing options for people who are unsheltered.
- Improving System Performance. CoCs should be using system performance measures (e.g., average length of homeless episodes, rates of return to homelessness, rates of exit to permanent housing destinations) to determine how effectively they are serving people experiencing homelessness. Additionally, CoCs should use their Coordinated Entry process to promote participant choice, coordinate homeless assistance and mainstream housing, and services to ensure people experiencing homelessness receive assistance quickly, and make homelessness assistance open, inclusive, and transparent. CoCs should review all projects eligible for renewal in FY 2021 to determine their effectiveness in serving people experiencing homelessness, including cost-effectiveness. CoCs should also look for opportunities to implement continuous quality improvement and other process improvement strategies. HUD recognizes the effects of COVID-19 on CoC performance and data quality, and compared to previous CoC NOFOs, reduces the points available for rating factors related to system performance. However, HUD plans to significantly increase the points available for system performance rating factors in the FY 2022 and subsequent CoC NOFOs.
- Partnering with Housing, Health, and Service Agencies. Using cost performance and outcome data, CoCs should improve how all available resources are utilized to end homelessness. This is especially important as the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan have provided significant new resources to help end homelessness. HUD encourages CoCs to maximize the use of mainstream and other community-based resources when serving persons experiencing homelessness and should:
- work closely with public and private healthcare organizations and assist program participants to obtain medical insurance to address healthcare needs;
- partner closely with PHAs and state and local housing organizations to utilize coordinated entry, develop housing units, and provide housing subsidies to people experiencing homelessness. These partnerships can also help CoC Program participants exit permanent supportive housing through Housing Choice Vouchers and other available housing options. CoCs and PHAs should especially work together to implement targeted programs such as Emergency Housing Vouchers, HUD-VASH, Mainstream Vouchers, Family Unification Program Vouchers, and other housing voucher programs targeted to people experiencing homelessness. CoCs should coordinate with their state and local housing agencies on the utilization of new HOME program resources provided through the Homelessness Assistance and Supportive Services Program that was created through the American Rescue Plan;
- partner with local workforce development centers to improve employment opportunities; and
- work with tribal organizations to ensure that tribal members can access CoC-funded assistance when a CoC's geographic area borders a tribal area.
- Racial Equity. In nearly every community, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are substantially overrepresented in the homeless population. HUD is emphasizing system and program changes to address racial equity within CoCs. CoCs should review local policies, procedures, and processes to determine where and how to address racial disparities affecting individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
- Persons with Lived Experience. HUD is encouraging CoCs to include in the local planning process people who are currently experiencing or have formerly experienced homelessness to address homelessness. People with lived experience should determine how local policies may need to be revised and updated, participate in CoC meetings and committees as stakeholders, provide input on decisions, and provide input related to the local competition process (e.g., how rating factors are determined). CoCs should seek opportunities to hire people with lived experience.