Homelessness

 

KS-505 Johnson County Continuum of Care on Homelessness

Staff contact: Rita Carr, ritac@ucsjoco.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.

2022 KS-505 CoC and CoC Board Meeting Dates


Emergency Food & Shelter Program Grant Availability Announcement

Johnson County, Kansas has been awarded federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds from the Kansas State Set-Aside Committee.  Johnson County has been allocated $81,634 in Phase 39 and $236,757 in Phase ARPA-R to supplement emergency food and shelter programs locally.

A Local Board made up of local representatives of the national organizations participating in the program, including American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, USA, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, The Salvation Army, and United Way Worldwide, along with several other local representatives, will determine how the funds awarded are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by service agencies in the area. The Local Board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive Federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply. Applicants will be assessed on experience/track records as an emergency assistance provider, hours of operation, staff and funding capacity and the program's accessibility to the people it serves.

Agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds should contact Rita Carr at United Community Services of Johnson County at ritac@ucsjoco.org or 913-438-4764 to request an application. Applications must be received by 4pm on Friday, April 15th, 2022.


Homelessness in the Johnson County Community

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.

Experiencing homelessness? Let’s get connected!

¿Está sufriendo por la falta de vivienda? Conectemonos!

Homelessness in Johnson County 2021 Fact Sheet
Homelessness in Johnson County 2020 Fact Sheet
Homelessness in Johnson County 2019 Fact Sheet

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 2022 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 2021, $888,125 were awarded to members of KS-505’s CoC to support 9 programs in Johnson County offering permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, homeless data management services and CoC planning support.

In 2022, 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.

KS-505’s FY 2022 CoC Application timeline is based on the premise that HUD will release the FY 2022 funding opportunity in August of 2022. If there is a significant shift in the funding opportunity’s availability, the local application timeline may be modified to accommodate that change. The current local application timeline for KS-505 can be found here. It was approved by the KS-505 CoC Board on July 13th, 2022 and revised on August 8, 2022.

For more information, please contact Rita Carr, ritac@ucsjoco.org.

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 2022, the KS-505 Continuum of Care, which serves Johnson County KS, anticipates that it will be eligible to apply for approximately $750-850,000 based on 2021 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 2022 CoC Program Competition will be:

  1. Permanent Housing (Permanent Supportive Housing or Rapid-Rehousing);
  2. Transitional Housing;
  3. Supportive Services Only; and
  4. HMIS.

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 2022 CoC competition by 4 p.m. on Friday, July 29, 2022 to the following individuals: Rita Carr (ritac@ucsjoco.org) and Cathy Goodwin (cathyg@ucsjoco.org).

For a more detailed description of the CoC program components, please click below:
https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/coc/coc-program-eligibility-requirements/

HUD Policy Priorities. HUD’s selection criteria include the following priorities to support the goal of ending homelessness:

  1. 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, those experiencing chronic homelessness, and people with disabilities, including those living with HIV/AIDS). 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.
  1. 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 CoCs should measure and help projects reduce the length of time people experience homelessness. Additionally, CoCs should engage landlords and property owners to identify housing units 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.
  1. 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 explore all available resources, including CoC and ESG funded assistance, housing subsidies, and supportive services to provide permanent housing options for people who are unsheltered.
  1. 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 2022 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 recognized the effects of COVID-19 on CoC performance and data quality and reduced the points available for rating factors related to system performance in the FY 2021 CoC NOFO. This FY 2022 CoC NOFO significantly increases the points available for system performance rating factors.
  1. 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:
    1. work closely with public and private healthcare organizations and assist program participants to receive primary care, receive housing-related services, and obtain medical insurance to address healthcare needs. This includes developing close partnerships with public health agencies to analyze data and design approaches that reduce homelessness, improve the health of people experiencing homelessness, and prevent and address disease outbreaks, including HIV/AIDS.
    2. 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 (FUP) 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;
    3. partner with local workforce development centers to improve employment opportunities; and
    4. work with tribal organizations to ensure that tribal members can access CoC-funded assistance when a CoC's geographic area borders a tribal area.
  1. 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. Responses to preventing and ending homelessness should address racial inequities to ensure successful outcomes for all persons experiencing homelessness using proven approaches, such as: developing a coordinated community response created in partnership with a racially diverse set of stakeholders and people experiencing homelessness and partnering with organizations with experience serving underserved populations. CoCs should review local policies, procedures, and processes with attention to identifying barriers that result in racial disparities, and taking steps to eliminate barriers to improve racial equity and to address disparities.
  1. Improving Assistance to LGBTQ+ Individuals. Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation manifests differently for different individuals and often overlaps with other forms of prohibited discrimination. CoCs should address the needs of LGBTQ+, transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals and families in their planning processes. Additionally, when considering which projects to select in their local competition to be included in their application to HUD, CoCs should ensure privacy, respect, safety, and access regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation in projects. CoCs should also consider partnering with organizations with expertise in serving LGBTQ+ populations.
  1. 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. People with lived experience should determine how local policies may need to be revised and updated to improve the effectiveness of homelessness assistance programs, including participating in planning and oversight activities and developing local competition processes. CoC leaders and stakeholders should also prioritize hiring people who have experienced homelessness in areas where their expertise is needed (e.g. peer outreach and support).
  1. Increasing Affordable Housing Supply. The lack of affordable housing is the main driver of homelessness. CoCs play a critical role in educating local leaders and stakeholders about the importance of increasing the supply of affordable housing and the specific consequences of the continued lack of affordable housing. CoCs should be communicating with jurisdiction leaders, including for the development of Consolidated Plans, about the harmful effects of the lack of affordable housing, and they should engage local leaders about steps such as zoning and land use reform that would increase the supply of affordable housing. This FY2022 CoC NOFO awards points to CoCs that take steps to engage local leaders about increasing affordable housing supply.

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.

Last year's KS-505 FY2021 Continuum of Care Rank and Review Committee Results

The Johnson County CoC's Rank and Review Committee and Board have officially released KS-505's FY2021 HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) NOFO Rank and Review results for this year's competition. In FY 2021, KS-505 recommends funding seven projects that support households experiencing homelessness in Tier 1, including the renewal of the 3 rapid-rehousing projects, 2 permanent supportive housing, one HMIS, and the creation of a new project for a total of $747,671 as estimated by the allowable annual renewal demand established by HUD. In addition, KS-505 will seek the funding for the CoC planning grant at $22,666, which is not a part of the ranking process. In Tier 2, as allowable by HUD KS-505 seeks funding for a domestic violence bonus project at $113,156, and $7,057 to fully fund the new project. To review the full results, please click here.

Last year's KS-505 FY2021 CoC Collaborative Application and Priority Listing Posted November 11, 2021

Each year, prior to submission of the annual CoC Collaborative Application and Priority Project Applications, KS-505 posts the final draft of the application for funding on its website and notifies the CoC and community of its availability. In FY2021, KS-505 will be applying for $890,550 to support the renewal of 2 permanent supportive housing, 3 rapid re-housing, a homeless management information system, the planning grant; the creation of a new rapid re-housing project; and the creation of a DV bonus as allowed by HUD.

This year’s application reflects the work of many individuals and organizations who actively collaborate year-round to prevent and end homelessness in Johnson County. The process and application are both an opportunity to celebrate what we’ve accomplished and recognizes the need to continue to collaborate to improve outcomes for clients and the system’s responsiveness. To view it, click here.