2000 Continuum of Care Applications to HUD

All programs were submitted to HUD for renewal

Project Sponsor

Program Name

First Year Funded

Federal

Funding A

Description of Program

Target Population

Point in

Time Capacity

Homeless

On Board of trusteesB

AIDS Housing Council

Supportive Housing

1997

$64,609

Case management

to people in housing

HIV positive homeless

65

yes

Care Alliance

Safe HavenF

1995

$554,089

Daytime Drop in and Residential housing for 26

Mentally ill

26

40 drop

yes

Care Alliance

Upstairs Program

1994

$56,520

Permanent Housing

Woman with Mental Illness

16

yes

Care Alliance

Woman’s CenterF

1996

$345,067

Day Shelter and Support Services

Chronic Homeless Women & Children

60

yes

Center for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (CPDV)

Supportive Housing

1994

$37,618

Support ServicesD for women in housing

Domestic Violence Victims Women

30

yes

Cleveland Housing Network (CHN)

SAFAH

1994

$109,542

Support Services for families in housing

Homeless Families

40

yes

Cleveland Housing Network

Supportive Housing

1989

$17,832

Transitional HousingE with support services

Woman with Children

5

yes

Cleveland Women

Supportive Housing

1994

$33,353

Support Services

Woman w/ children

64

yes

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority

Y-Haven II

1995

$520,725

Transitional Housing with support services

Single men

41

yes

Continue Life

Supportive Housing

1994

$242,362

Transitional Housing with support services

Pregnant women and teens

16

yes

Family Transitional Housing (FTH)

Transitional Housing

1994

$107,351

Transitional Housing with support services

Families with Children

28

yes

Family Transitional Housing

Transitional Housing

Expansion

1995

$109,416

Expand Services and Childcare services

Families with children

0

yes

Family Transitional Housing

Aftercare

1997

$83,317

Support Services for families in housing

Families with Children

0

yes

Hitchcock Center

Transitional Housing

1997

$247,213

Transitional Housing with support services

Chemically addicted women

20

no

Mental Health ServicesC

(MHS)

Drop In

1997

$166,522

Support Services and drop in services

Homeless Mentally ill

75

yes

Mental Health Services

For Homeless People

Outreach and Payee

1995

$424,216

Third Party payee outreach to link clients to services

Homeless Mentally ill

200

yes

Mental Health Services

Safe Haven I

1994

$214,800

Residential treatment and housing

Homeless Mentally ill

8

yes

Mental Health Services

Safe Haven II

1996

$424,216

Transitional Housing with support services

Homeless Mentally ill

16

yes

New Life Community

Supportive Housing

1994

$46,500

Support Services for children

Homeless children

22

yes

University Settlement

Transitional Housing

1994

$52,434

Transitional Housing with support services

Large homeless families

6

yes

Volunteers of America (VOA)

Transitional Housing

1995

$230,326

Transitional Housing with support services

Single homeless men

26

no

Volunteers of America

Transitional Housing

1998

$88,875

Outreach and Additional Support Services

Single homeless men

0

no

A.       This is the federal share of these programs most get other support to operate these programs. HUD now requires a 25% match for all programs that receive Federal funding.

B.       Programs are directed to involve homeless people in the oversight of their programs, and Councilman Cimperman had proposed requiring all agencies that receive public funds to have homeless represented on their board.

C.       Program began operation in June of 1999 and therefore does not have a full year of programs. They were funded in 1997, but did not begin operations until 1999.

D.       Supportive Services are defined as assistance by social workers to provide GED, treatment, counseling, job skill, housing assistance.

E.       Transitional Housing is defined as up to two years of residential housing with placement into permanent housing after graduation.

F.       The County sent a letter to the project sponsor asking them to find a new sponsor to administer the program, but their application was sent to HUD for renewal.

Sponsor

Program Name

# Placed in Housing in 19991

Cost of each

Client housed

In 19992

Review and Ranking Score out of 330 total

Review score translated to academic scale

Current Contract Ends

# of Conditions by Review Committee5

AHC

Supportive Housing

54

$1,148

318

A

6/1/01

1

Care Alliance

Safe Haven

26

$21,311

231

C-

6/30/01

15

Care Alliance

Upstairs Program

18

$3,140

291

B

9/30/01

8

Care Alliance

Woman’s Center

41

$8,416

198

D-

 

13

CPDV

Supportive Housing

33

$1,140

320

A

8/31/01

2

CHN

SAFAH

26

$4,213

317

A

8/1/01

0

CHN

Supportive Housing

2

$8,912

320

A

8/31/01

1

Cleveland Women

Supportive Housing

74

$451

293

B

8/31/01

3

CMHA

Y-Haven II

29

$17,956

302

A

 

4

Continue Life

Supportive Housing

32

$7,574

280

B

 

8

FTH

Transitional Housing

143

$21,4344

316

A

8/31/01

5

FTH

Transitional Hsg

Expansion

--

--

313

A

10/31/01

8

FTH

Aftercare

--

--

308

A

 

9

Hitchcock Center

Transitional Housing

9

$27,468

292

B

8/19/01

8

MHS

Drop In

42

$3,941

324

A

8/31/01

0

MHS

Outreach and Payee

92

$4,611

311

A

 

1

MHS

Safe Haven I

7

$30,686

313

A

 

3

MHS

Safe Haven II

15

$28,287

321

A

 

3

New Life Community

Supportive Housing

91

$511

303

A

8/31/01

2

University Settlement

Transitional Housing

4

$13,109

267

B

8/31/01

13

VOA

Transitional Housing

726

$4,4337

300

A

1/1/01

1

VOA

Transitional Housing

--

--

279

B

6/1/01

5

1.       This is from the report each group submits to HUD. There is no independent verification or audit of numbers placed in housing

2.       This is the cost the federal government paid to place each household into permanent housing

3.       The figures from FTH were confused and so we averaged the 56 people placed in housing since 1995 at 14 per year.

4.       Again the budgets were confused so we added all grants together for FTH and divided by 14 families placed in housing

5.       Each committee member could submit conditions for renewal. This column is the number of comments submitted.

6.       No new units for expansion grant. Used total housed for the year for both grants added together.

7.       Added total budget for both grants and divided by the number housed.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine, Issue #45 -  2001

A History of the Continuum of Care

Dollars vs. Priorities

By Brian Davis

In the early 1990s, Cleveland was facing a homeless crisis. The emergency shelters were full, and there was a limited pool of resources to meet the growing demand for services. On top of this women and families were entering the system at an alarming rate. City Council President Jay Westbrook and County Commissioner Tim Hagen convened a Coordinating Council to study and make recommendations to answer the growing homeless problem locally. All the Foundations, service providers, some major businessmen, and the Coalition for the Homeless came to the table. Despite the somewhat contentious battles over philosophy and direction, the group produced a series of recommendations.

Along with the creation of more transitional housing programs, the Coordinating Council recommended the creation of the Office of Homeless Services to administer the goals outlined by the Council. This office was jointly funded by the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. It was placed within the administrative structure of Cuyahoga County with broad goals of reporting to the Mayor of Cleveland and the County Commissioners once a year. It was governed by an Advisory Board made up of members of the original coordinating council. The Office of Homeless Services was given the task of coordinating the Supportive Housing Program (SHP) grant to HUD. They also administer the Emergency Shelter Grants from HUD, and act as coordinator of services locally.

The original goals of the Office of Homeless Services:

1.   End homelessness through empowerment

2.   Create an integrated service delivery system.

3.   Provide a continuum of services by establishing a Central Access Point for the homeless and those serving the homeless.

4.   Prevent additional people from becoming homeless by assisting them in maintaining their current housing.

5.   Provide decent temporary shelters to help people to acquire the ability to live independently.

6.   Provide an environment that combines housing and supportive services to enable the homeless to become self-sufficient.

7.   Increase safe, permanent, affordable housing opportunities for low income persons.

8.   Create an organizational capacity to perform multiple functions.

While some of the goals like ending homelessness were facetious and nearly impossible very few of the goals have been realized. OHS has taken the reigns in securing federal funds to serve the needs of homeless people. The key to securing funds is the planning, and OHS has tried various attempts to meet the HUD requirements. The grant is divided into a number of parts, which make sense from an academic stand point, but are totally impractical in Cuyahoga County.

What is the extent of the problem locally?

HUD asks that each community layout the extent of the homeless problem locally. They ask that each community certify the number of shelter beds, transitional housing beds and permanent housing units available. Then they ask what the need is for each of those beds and housing units. This is a reasonable request after all how can a community ask for more housing units if they cannot identify the gaps in service? Unfortunately, Cleveland does not have a central database to count the number of people who enter the system. No one collects the intake forms that shelters make every client complete. It is therefore impossible to demonstrate need except through anecdotal information. Every year, Cuyahoga County uses some numbers drawn from an attempted census done in 1993, but the numbers have very little basis in reality.

What is the timeline for planning locally?

The key to receiving the dollars from HUD is demonstrating on-going planning with regard to priorities and gaps in service. While there are some on-going discussions within the community regarding problems, the goal setting is wrapped around the grant. We traditionally begin the application in March or February with a deadline set by HUD for May or June. All of the planning locally takes place over three months every year. This compressed time frame makes it difficult to get into a philosophical discussion about extending shelter stays or developing programs that fill a major gap in services if no organization applies. There is little time to review all the projects seeking renewal funding, decide on the priorities for the year and submit the grant to HUD. Because the focus is on recovering federal dollars, the community planning process is a pursuit of dollars and not a pursuit of solutions.

What are the priorities in the community?

HUD asks that each community decide what are the greatest needs in the community, and then submit programs that address the highest priorities. Every year, Cuyahoga County under the guidance of OHS has attempted to come to a consensus of what the highest priorities are in the community. They have surveyed impartial groups (businesses, government, and foundations), service providers and homeless people and then tried to integrate all these recommendations. They have had the oversight committee for the grant make the recommendations. For the last few years they have just asked members of the community to come together in one large meeting to confirm the priorities from the previous years.

One of the conflicts within this system is that emergency services cannot be funded by the Continuum of Care SHP grant. Therefore many times emergency services are kicked out of the priority list. Also, many safety net services like a lack of entitlement income for adults are not able to be funded by the HUD SHP grant. One of the major concerns of homeless people was the deplorable overflow shelters, but this never made the priority list since it was not a HUD SHP funded program. In the end, the priorities for the community were decided in a one hour discussion at a meeting in March.

What programs should be renewed?

One of the biggest problems with the Continuum of Care funding is the cumulative impact of program funding. Each program is funded for three years, but the money is allocated in one year. So Transitional Shelter X may need $200,000 per year, but are forced to apply for $600,000 in the first year to cover the first three years of the program. The problem arises after three years when the program is up for renewal because every year more and more programs are up in need of renewal funding. Most every community is now at a point where just sustaining the programs funded over the last seven years takes most of the funding set aside for that community. In Fiscal Year 2000, Cuyahoga County faced a situation in which they had approximately $11 million allocated from HUD. If every project that was eligible received only one year of renewal funding, Cuyahoga County would spend $4.491 million. The permanent housing program called Shelter Plus Care needed nearly $7 million to maintain the current number of people housed.

HUD did allocate additional resources to communities facing a dramatic shortfall in need versus federal share of the SHP funds. For example in 1999, Cuyahoga County had a $10.5 million share, but was given over $17 million to meet the renewal needs of the community. This burden of renewal program has led to a moratorium on the funding of new programs. There is just not room in the allocation for new programs without reducing funding or de-funding programs. This is the heart of the problem in Cuyahoga County. There has never been a reduction in any programs funding, and every program has been renewed every year. Even those programs not performing are renewed. There is no outside oversight body reviewing the programs operating in Cleveland and determining their effectiveness.

Only within the last year were the programs even reviewed to assure compliance with standards locally. In fact, an independent consultant was hired in 2000 to evaluate the 1999 grant application, and she found that "There is not much in the way of program evaluation," and [Cuyahoga County] is limited in its ability to deal with projects that have performance problems. The SHP funds are billed by HUD as helping to "develop housing and related supportive services for people moving from homelessness to independent living." In Cuyahoga County very few of the organizations are effectively moving people into independent living. Many programs spend $20,000 to $30,000 for each person that they move into housing.

Who makes the recommendations for the grants?

An ongoing controversy in Cuyahoga County is who makes the recommendation for what agencies are submitted to HUD for funding. Social service providers have an expertise on how to serve homeless people, but they also have a bias to maintain funding for their organization. Homeless people know what works, but they also have an affinity for the programs that have helped them out of their situation. The government entities have an interest in not rocking the boat in order to not to politicize the grant application. The local government also has a close relationship with social service providers who they rely on to stem the tide of homeless people.

One year a survey of all the programs seeking renewal funding was sent to all the other social service providers in the community. This was to solicit expert testimony about colleagues. One provider who requested that his identity be kept confidential confirmed that providers called each other that year to solicit positive reviews. Our source said, "I got a call saying if you give me a good score, I will rate your program with a high score." Another service agency was given a high score and they were not even operational. They had never housed one individual, but were given a favorable review by the other social service agencies.

The Coalition for the Homeless regularly surveyed homeless people about programs that were seeking renewal funding. These surveys were not given much weight. The opinions of homeless people did not lead to any changes in the funding of programs that were not performing. The Coalition stopped doing the surveys two years ago out of frustration.

Who sits on the oversight committee?

A community meeting of a broad constituency that sets the priorities in the community takes place at the end of the winter every year. The Office of Homeless Services has an advisory board that sets the schedule for the how the grant is prepared. It also approves the final grant and is involved in the application process, but who manages and oversees the application. This has for years been a fine line to walk. There is the issue of conflict of interest that makes it difficult to pick an oversight body. There is a great deal at stake for the social service providers, and should social service providers sit on the oversight body? Some of these programs are $1 million dollar organizations and employ scores of people. The decisions made by the oversight body mean the continued existence of some of the programs or it means that private organizations will have to be tapped to continue the funding.

The OHS advisory board empanels a committee to shepherd the federal grant to completion. The grant oversight organization was called the "ad hoc committee" or the "OHS review and ranking committee." They met three or four times during the grant application process to rank order the programs that are seeking renewal funding and to review new programs and put them in the order of priority for the community. Aside from the lack of objectivity on this committee and the high scores the agencies received, the committee never really looked at the impact the organization was making in the community. While the committee checked to assure that the organization had adequate fire extinguishers they never looked at the organization moving their clients toward housing stability.

The other problem with this committee is the final decisions are not conducted by secret ballot. The committee is supposed to make the recommendations regarding, which programs are provided renewal funding and then which new programs should go forward. For the past two years, the renewal funding used all the resources available to Cuyahoga County, and therefore there were no new programs. In voting on recommendations for renewal funding a chart was produced with the names and vote from each committee member. This makes it difficult to vote not to recommend renewal funding. Every committee member has to be aware of the backlash against the people who voted against a social service provider that may not be performing, but is serving a politically popular constituency like women and children or homeless people with a mental illness. That social service provider could use media and other leaders in the community to castigate the committee members that voted to "throw children back onto the street," or "recklessly close the few safe places for mentally ill people in our community."

In looking broadly at the Continuum of Care system, Cuyahoga County has seen a tripling of the resources from the federal government over the last ten years. We have at the same time seen the number of homeless people experiencing a bout of homelessness during the course of the year also triple during that time. We have institutionalized homelessness transforming it from a short term lack of housing to a chronic condition. There is no accurate assessment of the number or profile of the people entering the system to say nothing of future or emerging populations. There is no plan in place and there is effort to use the dollars to better serve the needs in the community. The consultant hired by the County to look at the Continuum of Care funding process summarized the problem by recommending, "refocusing the community discussion from dollars to priorities."

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine, Issue #45 -  2001

Commentary on Camelot and Hate Crimes

 

By Eduardo Lauriano

             I am writing this to let people know about the hate crimes directed at homeless people on the streets of Cleveland, from building materials thrown from construction sites to bottles and cans from moving vehicles.  We have seen violence against homeless people, such as stealing book bags, radios, tents, and other items.  These are not residents of the City of Cleveland or homeless people, they are people who don’t like homeless people and kick us around.

            There has been targeting of homeless people by people who don’t like homeless people.  I have gotten into a home, but I cannot visit my friends on E. 20th and Superior.  My family gets pushed around by the Cleveland police every time I go down there.  I have made a police report in the past against the people who were throwing the bottles.  I had the plate number and make of the car, and the Police never did anything about it.  I even went to the prosecutor’s office and reported this incident.  The prosecutors never did anything about it.  So these hate crimes are still happening, the same cars, the same people are still doing this.

            I would like to let the public know that we are not at fault for this happening.  People are really doing this to us, taking our stuff, abusing us and sticking their private parts out at us.

            I also want to touch on what happened since the assault on Camelot.  We have a new addition, a newborn, his name is Ferin Camelot Lauriano, he weighted 8 lbs. 6 oz. And was 19 inches long when he was born October 30th tat 8:42 p.m.  He is known as Camelot.  Pamela Wagner is his mother; she is recovering and she is doing good, she has over 1,100 staples in her stomach and she is getting back on her feet.  I went to surgery for hernia and had 12 staples in my stomach; I am recovering and coming around now.

            On East 21st and Superior we were fighting with those throwing bottles for about one or two hours.  We never saw city cars, no police, no security, nothing.  We were fighting and nobody from the city heard or saw anything.  Just to show you thta the City doesn’t care about the homeless people.  Remember that Mayor Michael White directed the police to sweep homeless people off the street last year at this time November & December.  When he came to office, he swept the homeless and I was one of them.  Once I was taken outside the city.  The second time, I was taken to the Justice Center and arrested for sleeping on Public Square.

            I also wanted to say something about the City break in.  City Hall was broken into.  The computers and disks were allegedly taken that I believe had information about Camelot.  The paperwork about the future of the building is unclear.  They weren’t going to do anything with that building they just wanted us out of there.  The paperwork and everything is gone.  We believe he Mayor had something to do with it because there wasn’t a forced entry into City Hall.  I think that somebody from inside City Hall went in there and took all the stuff that we needed.  We cleaned it up, ran off the drug pushers, the prostitutes and took it over for the homeless people and talked to Councilwoman Lewis.  We cleaned up Camelot.

             The city break in has something to do with the Mayor, the police, and city officials because they refuse to talk to us.  When we went to court they said they were going to get us housing, we are still out here homeless.  Camelot people are still out here homeless, freezing sick & going in to hospitals.  The city scheduled one day to meet with us after the court hearing.  They cancelled, because they wanted to meet with the attorneys and not with the homeless people themselves.  That is what we were trying to express to the judge: we wanted to talk to the city officials, because only the homeless know what the homeless need.  The city and a bunch of lawyers don’t know what the homeless need.

 Copyright Homeless Grapevine – Issue 45 January 2001

Editorials and Comment

 By Brian Davis

             So the sky did not fall on October 1.  Many families disappeared from welfare system, but there was not rioting in the street.  We did not have neat, media-friendly starvation on Monday the 2nd of October.  We did not have 1,700 landlords evict the families that lost welfare on that date.  There was a great deal of attention directed at the October 1 date, but in the end it was all hype.  We were all focused on this one date while poverty quietly became more of a permanent condition.

            The reality is that there is added misery in our community. The number of children living in unstable housing has increased, as has the number of kids not receiving food stamps.  The poverty within some of our families is more severe.  The number of children in foster care/adoption system has dramatically increased over the last three years.  Delinquency has also increased.  We are told that the economy is better, but for many members of our community we are not seeing the fruits of a better economy.  It is difficult to say how much welfare reform has contributed to this level of instability within our community.  We need to know if welfare reform has hurt our children.

            The short terms of service of our elected officials and the changing political winds many time force governments into huge changes without the proper forethought.  We make historic changes without having the proper supports in place.  For example, we closed the mental health institutions, which certainly needed reform, but we never did put the resources into care in the community for mentally ill people.  HUD is reforming the housing industry by encouraging de-concentrating ghettos.  Unfortunately, the replacement housing is not in place, which has led to a housing crisis in many urban and rural cities.  Now, we have reformed the welfare system.  We do not have universal health coverage in place.  We do not have a mandatory livable wage or family friendly wage to our working age populations.  Secondary education is not readily available to very low-income individuals so that they can get a job that pays a decent salary.

            Everyone is trying to set up a plan for families.  Self-sufficiency coaches, child safety review social workers, and workforce job coaches are all developing plans.  Our low-income families need more money and fewer plans.  Our families need the tools to get out of poverty and not all these stopgap measures.  We have set up an obscene system where social workers are paid to track down and scold women for being poor.  We have directed our low-income families to send their kids to be taken care of by other low-income women while they go to a very low wage job and we call that progress.

            Everyone is pushing families to self-sufficiency which is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the poor.  Self-sufficiency without universal health care, mandatory living wages, and housing as a right is a myth.  There is nothing that we can do on the local level to move a family living in poverty toward “self sufficiency” until the country moves toward economic justice. And yet we continue to punish people for being poor.  How arrogant of a society have we become in that we begrudged a women for taking $370 per month to raise her kids when we have handicapped her with scarce housing, slave wage jobs, and rising medical costs?

            Where do we go from here?  If I were the Commissioner I would mover to have Cuyahoga County secede from Ohio.  The state laws are hurting our populations and we need to make a statement that we would be better off as our own state.  The state officials do not understand our population and we need to make a statement that we would be better off as our own state. The state officials do not understand our population, and they are romantically attached to this myth of self-sufficiency.  Since secession from the state is not going to happen, we need to organize.  We need to push our own poor people’s platform.  We want to continue to meet to discuss how we can get our agenda to the broader community.  And we need to stay informed.  Most of all, when you hear the self -sufficiency code word, remember that the only people truly self sufficient in this world are dead people who do not rely on anyone else to remain dead.

 Copyright NEOCH Homeless Grapevine issue 45 January 2001 Cleveland Ohio

Homeless Funding for Cuyahoga County

1989-1999—Does not include funds administered by the City of Cleveland

provided by the Office of Homeless Services

1989—Pre OHS

Emergency Shelter $69,000

Transitional Housing $74,070

Total $143,070

1990—Pre OHS

Emergency Shelter $69,000

Total: $69,000

1991—Pre OHS

Emergency Shelter $69,000

Total: $69,000

1992—Pre OHS

Emergency Shelter $69,000

Total $69,000

1993—OHS created

Emergency Shelter $46,000

Shelter Plus Care $9,995,460

Total $10,041,460

1994—First Year for Continuum of Care

Emergency Shelter $102,000

Transitional Shelter $35,826

Supportive Housing $1,407,372

Community Block Grant $54,500

Total: $1,599,698

1995

Emergency Shelter $134,000

Supportive Housing $4,783,776

Community Block Grant $40,000

Innovative Funds $959,217

Cuyahoga General Revenue $75,968

Total $5,992,961

1996:

Emergency Shelter $89,000

Supportive Housing $4,788,913

Shelter Plus Care $4,402,320

Community Block Grant $40,000

Cuyahoga General Revenue $118,000

Total $9,438,233

1997:

Emergency Shelter $89,000

Transitional Shelter $17,304

Supportive Housing 2,561,599

Shelter Plus Care 1,659,300

Community Block Grant $40,000

Cuyahoga General Revenue $118,000

Total: $4,485,163

1998:

Emergency Shelter $127,000

Supportive Housing $3,288,042

Community Block Grant $40,000

Cuyahoga General Revenue $360,000

Total: $3,815,042

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine, Issue #45 -  2001

HUD Forces a Plan on Cities to Solve the Growing Homeless Problem

     With the explosion of homeless people in the early 1980s, Congress was slow to react. Finally in the mid 1980s increasing public pressure caused a bipartisan commission to recommend changes. Chief sponsor of the legislation was Stewart A. McKinney who died before seeing the legislation become law. A reluctant President Ronald Reagan signed the McKinney Act, which defined homelessness, created a funding stream, and mandated a coordinated planning mechanism. In 1987, Congress allocated funds to move homeless people into more stable housing, created a source of funding for emergency shelters, and funded supportive housing services. Supportive housing services are programs that assist people with increasing skills or their income.

     The Clinton administration studied the problem, and decided a "Continuum of Care" in each community would better serve the homeless population. They consolidated all the major funding programs under one large grant application. Instead of each program competing against every other program in the country, each community was given a certain portion of the funding to divide among their service providers. HUD still maintained oversight responsibility for the grant, but forced the local government to do planning and coordination. This was the closest to block granting the funds without totally relinquishing control of the funds.

     HUD set up a grant application that mandated a "comprehensive community planning process," and they designated which entities had to participate in the planning. The Veterans Administration, the Mental Health Board, the Public Housing Authority, Alcohol and Drug Board, AIDS services, the local municipal government, the County, homeless people, among others. If the planning process as documented in the grant is sufficient, the programs in the grant are eligible for funding. Housing, supportive services, and transitional shelters (shelters that allow people to stay for up to two years) all fall under the same grant. Emergency shelters (30-90 day shelters) as well as day shelters do not fall under this Continuum of Care grant. Within a local community, a planning group is constructed, and they decide on the priorities as well as which programs are recommended for funding.

     One of the tensions within this Continuum of Care funding process or Supportive Housing Program (SHP) is that those communities that do not do a good job of planning receive no funds. In 1998, both Dayton and Akron were completely shut out of their portion of the federal homeless SHP funding. Also, this grant process forces very expensive housing programs to compete against social services for the limited pool of funds. Finally, there is a very difficult formula for deciding the local share of the SHP funds. An example of this disparity is that Columbus, Ohio has a similar population as the city of Cleveland but receives one half of the funding.

     The involvement of homeless people in the process has also created some tension on a national level. While HUD mandates within the grant that homeless people must be a part of every step of the process, they do not seem to enforce this provision. Some communities paper over the involvement of homeless people, while others genuinely try to get the opinions and expertise of those on the street. Coalitions in San Francisco, New York and Baltimore have lodged complaints with HUD over the politicizing of the SHP funds and the lack of involvement by small grassroots organizations and homeless people.

     The total allocation for 2000 for the SHP program and the Emergency Shelter Grant program was $1.025 billion dollars. The just completed HUD budget has a slight increase in funding for 2001, and requires communities to use 30% of the funds for housing. Most studies at the national level have shown that these funds are woefully inadequate, and many of the funds are making very little impact on homelessness

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine, Issue #45 -  2001