On June 10 HUD issued PIH Notice 2013-15 (HA) to provide Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) with strategies for documenting and housing individuals and families experiencing homelessness through the Housing Choice Voucher program and Public Housing. This guidance builds on the lessons learned from two convenings held last year by HUD’s offices of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) and Community Planning and Development (CPD) and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to address the goals of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.
CSH is dedicated to supporting HUD and PHAs in implementing these strategies. We participated and presented at HUD’s convenings and worked closely with PIH in publishing our CSH PHA Toolkit, which offers resources to PHAs that want to implement initiatives to end homelessness. CSH provides consultation, training, and technical assistance for public housing agencies and their partners to end homelessness and create Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). Visit CSH’s Consulting and Training webpage for more information.
This article indexes the resources CSH offers that relate directly to HUD’s guidance in the Notice.
Access to Housing Choice Vouchers and Public Housing
Sections 6-10 of the PIH Notice outline a number of ways that PHAs can reduce access barriers for people who are homeless and prevent a loss of assistance in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and Public Housing, including establishing a strong outreach strategy through service providers, strengthening the process for contacting applicants on waiting lists, establishing flexible intake and briefing schedules, and establishing nondiscriminatory preferences in admissions policies for persons experiencing homelessness. HUD states that a PHA’s greatest tool for increasing program access for individuals and families experiencing homelessness is establishing a preference in their admissions policies. The Notice gives helpful guidance in how to create a local preference. CSH’s PHA Toolkit offers additional suggestions and examples:
- Creating accessible waitlists and preferences for Housing Choice Voucher Programs and examples of PHAs that are doing this work. These examples include admin plan documents, board resolutions, program descriptions and more!
- Creating accessible waitlist and preferences for Public Housing.
- CSH’s Dimensions of Quality Supportive Housing, which emphasizes tenant-centered approaches and housing first in supportive housing.
One type of preference PHAs can create is for individuals and families “moving up,” from Permanent Supportive Housing. HUD notes this as a way PHAs can contribute to their community’s overall efforts to end homelessness by freeing up units for currently homeless families and individuals with disabilities who need housing combined with services. CSH has worked in several communities to create these types of initiatives, which have resulted in better targeting of resources and continued housing stability for tenants.
- Read about CSH’s work with the Chicago Housing Authority to create a Moving On Initiative.
Partnering with Service Providers
Strong service partners are critical to successful supportive housing programs and are important in any PHA initiative to end homelessness. HUD references the important role that service providers can play in supporting continued occupancy in Section 11 of the Notice. CSH recommends developing solid written agreements between PHAs and partner service providers and funders.
- PHAs can use CSH’s tools and templates to select and work with service partners in Housing Choice Voucher Programs.
- Tools and templates for Public Housing partnerships.
- CSH’s publication, Not a Solo Act, describes successful supportive housing partnerships.
PHAs may choose to project-base up to 20 percent of their Housing Choice Voucher budget authority. Doing so can be an important tool in creating supportive housing and ensuring long-term subsidies for people who need them most. Project-basing comes with its own set of regulations. HUD’s Notice offers important clarifications and tips for PHAs that want to project-base vouchers to end homelessness.
- CSH breaks down the details of the project-based regulations and provides examples for implementation in a dedicated chapter of our Toolkit.
- CSH’s tools and templates help PHAs project base vouchers for supportive housing. CSH provides training and technical assistance in project-basing. Some of the PHAs we have worked with include those in Asheville North Carolina, San Antonio Texas, Mesa Arizona, and Longview, Washington.
- View examples of PHAs that are project-basing for supportive housing.
For more information about PHAs and ending homelessness, please contact us at email@example.com.