Also published on The Huffington Post.
On February 17th, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) into law. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is administering $1.5 billion of this $787 billion stimulus package through its Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). HPRP funding is truly significant since it equals HUD’s entire annual homeless assistance budget.
While the overall goal of HPRP is housing stability for those being helped, HPRP funds will provide two-fold relief:
1. Homelessness prevention assistance for households who would otherwise become homeless and
2. Rapid re-housing assistance for persons who are homeless.
HPRP funds are intended for short- and medium- term financial assistance for housing stabilization, linking program beneficiaries to community resources, and mainstream benefits and helping beneficiaries develop a plan for preventing future housing instability. It is noteworthy that HPRP funds are not for mortgage assistance nor are they intended to provide long-term support for beneficiaries.
HUD provides the following funding table to show the intended categories for distribution of HPRP funds:
Direct financial assistance, such as rental assistance, etc. $820,875,000.00
Housing relocation and stabilization services $447,750,000.00
Data collection and evaluation by grantees $149,250,000.00
Grantee administrative costs $74,625,000.00
HUD will provide training, technical assistance, monitoring
enforcement, research and evaluation activities $7,500.000.00
By the terms of ARRA, each HPRP grantee must expend 60% of their grant within two years of receipt and 100% of its grant within three years of receipt of its grant.
With a grant minimum of $500,000, funds have been awarded to U.S. territories (0.2 percent of total funding allocation, i.e., $3 million), metropolitan cities, urban counties and states for distribution to local governments and private nonprofit organizations. There are 540 eligible grantees and funds have been awarded pursuant to the Emergency Solutions Grant Program, formally the Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) Program, formula.
Under HRPR, grantees will provide reports on a monthly and quarterly basis and HUD will do remote monitoring. Further, grantees and subgrantees will collect data through the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS).
HPRP funds may benefit individuals or families with or without children for any number of months up to 18 months of assistance. However, these funds are to be paid only to third parties, such as landlords or utility companies, “[i]n an effort to…avoid mismanagement of grant funds.”
The ultimate beneficiaries of HPRP funds, known as “participants,” are those people who are homeless or are at risk of being homeless. While HUD “allows grantees significant discretion in program design and operation,” it does admonish that “grantees and subgrantees should carefully assess a household’s need and appropriateness for HPRP.”
HUD sets forth the following minimum criteria that grantees of HPRP funds must consider before assisting individuals and families, whether homeless or housed:
1. Participants must have initial consultation with a case manager who can determine the appropriate type of assistance to meet their needs,
2. Participating household must be at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). While income limits are available at http://www.huduser.org/DATASETS/il.html, grantees are advised to use HUD’s Section 8 income eligibility standards for HPRP and
3. Participating households must be either homeless or at risk of losing its housing and
(1) No appropriate housing options have been identified, plus
(2) The household lacks the financial resources and support networks needed to obtain
immediate housing or remain in its exiting housing.
Regarding the prevention of homelessness, HUD “strongly encourages” its HPRP grantees and subgrantees to assist those individuals and families at the “greatest risk of becoming homeless.” It asks that grantees and subgrantees remember to ask themselves, “Would this individual or family be homeless but for this assistance?”
Grantees in California include:
Baldwin Park 605,041.00
Chula Vista 819,738.00
Costa Mesa 560,237.00
Daly City 510,070.00
El Cajon 512,686.00
El Monte 1,110,506.00
Garden Grove 1,068,707.00
Huntington Beach 566,611.00
Huntington Park 656,002.00
Long Beach 3,566,451.00
Los Angeles 29,446,304.00
Moreno Valley 732,872.00
San Bernardino 1,455,066.00
San Diego 6,168,104.00
San Francisco 8,757,780.00
San Jose 4,128,763.00
Santa Ana 2,831,989.00
Santa Maria 521,839.00
Santa Monica 553,576.00
Santa Rosa 516,527.00
South Gate 865,273.00
Alameda County 802,915.00
Contra Costa County 1,421,551.00
Fresno County 1,634,630.00
Los Angeles County 12,197,108.00
Kern County 2,076,503.00
Marin County 659,106.00
Orange County 1,556,026.00
Riverside County 4,276,900.00
Sacramento County 2,396,773.00
San Bernardino County 3,040,382.00
San Diego County 1,925,974.00
San Joaquin County 1,460.619.00
San Luis Obispo Country 855,184.00
San Mateo County 1,166,526.00
Santa Barbara County 829,013.00
Santa Clara County 717,484.00
Sonoma County 817,572.00
Stanislaus County 1,023,163.00
Ventura County 826,094.00
State of California 44,466,877.00
Funding directly allocated to the State of California is the largest state allocation in the U.S. to date and is being distributed to 31 California agencies and local governments. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has commented, “This funding will boost efforts helping those who find themselves on the edge of homelessness and add support for the homeless – and it couldn’t have come at a better time thanks to President Obama’s Recovery Act.”
What outcomes are hoped to be achieved through HPRP?
• Reducing the length of stay in shelters or in homelessness
• Reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time
• Increasing the number of people who are diverted from shelter to stable housing
• Reducing repeat episodes of homelessness
• Reducing the number of people overall who are homeless
For additional information about HPRP, please visit www.HUD.gov/recovery and www.HUDHR.info.