FAQs: Starting a Homeless Housing Program
Q: I am interested in helping the homeless, what type of programs are needed in Delaware?
The goal of Delaware's Homeless Assistance System is to prevent and end homelessness for all Delawareans. In order to do that we have to "Close the Front Door" of the system by preventing people from becoming homeless as well as "Open the Back Door" and help people to end their homelessness as quickly as we can.
To that end, Delaware currently is in need of the following services:
- Targeted Prevention Services (Financial Assistance and Housing Case Management for people who are at immediate risk of homelessness)
- Diversion Services
- Crisis Beds (No Barrier programs that people can access 24/7 until they are able to connect with a Housing Case Manager)
- Rapid Re-Housing Programs (Financial Assistance and Housing Case Management for people who are unsheltered or living in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs)
- Permanent Supportive Housing (Permanent community-based housing options that provide financial assistance as well as on-going supportive services)
Q: What are the different types of housing programs for the homeless?
Emergency Shelter:(As defined by HUD): Any facility whose primary purpose is to provide temporary or transitional shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations of the homeless for a period of 90 days or less. Supportive services may or may not be provided in addition to the provision of shelter.
Transitional Housing: A type of supportive housing used to facilitate the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing. Generally, homeless persons may live in transitional housing for up to 24 months and receive supportive services that enable them to live more independently. The supportive services may be provided by the organization managing the housing or coordinated by them and provided by other public or private agencies. Transitional housing can be provided in one structure or several structures, at one site or in multiple structures at scattered sites.
Permanent Supportive Housing(As defined by HUD - in terms of their programs): Permanent housing for homeless persons with disabilities is another type of supportive housing. It is long-term community-based housing, which includes supportive services for homeless persons with disabilities. The intent of this type of supportive housing is to enable this special needs population to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting. The supportive services may be provided by the organization managing the housing or coordinated by the applicant and provided by other public or private service agencies.
Q: What is the Housing First Model?
Housing First is a consumer-driven housing model that offers permanent housing to those without homes. It is based on the belief that helping people access affordable permanent housing should be the central goal in ending homelessness. Housing First has an immediate and primary focus on quick access to and sustainability of permanent housing, and often is offered simultaneously with support services. The housing is not time-limited, and is not contingent on compliance with services or regulations.
Q: What is McKinney-Vento?
HUD McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. This represents the largest federal investment in homeless assistance, and is responsible for funding many local shelters and housing programs.
Soon, the McKinney-Vento program will undergo considerable change as a result of the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act. In 2009, Congress passed the HEARTH Act which reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs and made some considerable changes to the program. The changes outlined in the HEARTH Act will be implemented starting in late 2011 and early 2012, and include:
- Increased emphasis on homeless families with children,
- Increased emphasis on homelessness prevention,
- Incentives for developing permanent supportive housing, and
- Grants greater financial discretionary authority to rural communities.
The McKinney-Vento program includes two programs specifically for homeless housing programs: Continuum of Care Supportive Housing Programs and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). The Continuum of Care Supportive Housing Program is coordinated through the Homeless Planning Council. Each year, the HPC releases a Request for Proposals for permanent supportive housing programs funded through the Continuum of Care. To receive the Request for Proposal please send an email to Susan Starrett (email@example.com).
The Emergency Solutions Grant program funds operations for homeless shelters, transitional housing and homeless prevention programs. The Emergency Solutions Grant funding goes through Delaware’s three housing jurisdictions (City of Wilmington, New Castle County and Delaware State Housing Authority). The jurisdictions have their own process for releasing Requests for Proposals. Contact information for each of the jurisdictions is below. These jurisdictions are also responsible for funding projects through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and HOME funds, which can all be used to support homeless shelters and housing programs.
Q: What are the resources for funding homeless programs?
There are a few main sources of funding for homeless programs: Federal Homeless Assistance Programs, Health and Human Services funding, Community Services Block Grant, and state dollars. Below are contacts for each of the different funding sources.
Federal Homeless Assistance Programs
City of Wilmington Department of Real Estate and Housing - Nailah Gilliam firstname.lastname@example.org
New Castle County Department of Community Services - Nicole Waters email@example.com
Delaware State Housing Authority - Amber Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and Human Services Funding
Federal Grants System - www.grants.gov
Community Services Block Grant
First State Community Action Agency - www.firststatecaa.org
Office of Community Services - Robert Broesler Robert.email@example.com
Q: What are other federal funding sources that could be used for homeless programs?
Department of Health and Human Servicesalso offers some homeless assistance services through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The SAMHSA programs include the Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI) program, the Treatment Systems for Homeless program, and the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. In addition, efforts are underway to authorize the Services to End Long-Term Homelessness Act (SELHA), which would fund an array of services in permanent supportive housing.
Other federal departments, including the Departments of Justice, Education, and Veterans’ Affairs also provide programs targeted at people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Q: Are there any private funding sources for homeless programs?
On the private side, there are a number of foundations and for-profit organizations that contribute to homeless assistance programs. The following foundations are particularly dedicated to the cause of homelessness:
United Way has a longstanding reputation as a leader in eliminating homelessness at a national and local level. Most states and communities have local United Way branches. You can see if your area has a local branch by entering your zip code at the top right hand box on their homepage.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
In their domestic efforts, the MacArthur Foundation provides grants for community development and affordable housing projects. You can see their guidelines for applying for grants on this page.