Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Q&A: Why is child support being counted as income? Isn’t this a violation of the IRS code?

Child support is on the income list for HUD HMIS requirements. HUD is federal so I imagine if it were in violation of another federal department, then they would catch it or deal with that conflict. It is necessary information to collect for this program, as any legal income that will support stabilization needs to be documented.

Q&A: Can HPRP funds be used for furniture?

As stated in the Notice, HPRP funds may not be used to help participants purchase furniture. However, there are a number of resources available to help households who need assistance furnishing an apartment.

Visit to find a furniture bank in your community.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HUD recommends HPRP roundtable discussions

This powerpoint presentation contains a series of questions for consideration in implementing HPRP programs.

Staff Affidavit

The Staff Affidavit is a requirement for all households determined to be eligible for HPRP assistance. The Staff Affidavit documents that the HPRP household meets all eligibility criteria for HPRP assistance, certifies that true and complete information was used to determine eligibility, and certifies that no conflict of interest exists related to the provision of HPRP assistance. The Staff Affidavit, linked to below, is a required form and subject to review by HUD. Implementation required by November 1, 2009.

HPRP Staff Affidavit:

Resource: HUD's Vision for HPRP training powerpoint

(PDF) 2009 Regional HPRP Training powerpoint:

Resource: Connecting HUD's HPRP with Mainstream Workforce Programs

(PDF) This paper explores the role of employment services in preventing homelessness and in rapidly returning homeless individuals and families to housing stability. The paper also examines the role that HUD’s new Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re‐Housing Program (HPRP) can play in assisting people to achieve or sustain employment. Strategies for collaboration between the housing and employment sectors are discussed. This paper is targeted to HPRP grantees and sub‐grantees – specifically, program leaders who supervise case managers and have responsibility for helping people using HPRP services to access mainstream workforce investment services. It is also a resource for local workforce investment boards, their staff, and contractors.

Resource: HPRP Case Management

(PDF) This document explores the role of case management in preventing homelessness and in rapidly returning homeless individuals and families to housing stability. Tasks such as assessment and planning are described, providing the case manager specific information about case management within the HPRP program. The document can also be useful for system planners who are considering job descriptions, performance measures, and contract provisions within the HPRP program. A “Case Scenario” is included in this document to demonstrate how a potential client’s or household’s needs may or may not be addressed through the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program and how a case manager can work with individuals or families to plan the right mix of services. Case Scenario boxes are presented throughout this document to illustrate how case management principles can be applied to a household. “Case Management Tips” are easily identified by the icon.

An example of a Housing Stabilization Plan is included as Appendix A and is populated with information applicable to the case scenario.

Resource: Designing and Delivering HPRP Financial Assistance

(PDF) The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re‐Housing Program (HPRP) provides communities with a range of flexible financial tools to prevent homelessness as well as to assist in re‐housing homeless households. This paper provides users with a convenient reference and overview of the scope of HPRP eligible financial assistance activities. It also covers key rental assistance program design concepts, including existing program models along with guidance on approaches that differ from standard models.

Model: Rural Homeless Initiative of Southeast and Central Ohio

(PDF) This two‐year pilot project explored the unique homeless prevention aspect of regional coordination and planning to end homelessness in 17 rural counties of Southeast and Central Ohio. Results indicated that communities vary in their ability to plan and implement, issues found in RHISCO mirror national homelessness issues, and improving point in time counts and mainstream involvement in planning are successful in ending homelessness.

Model: Homeless Prevention in Lancaster, PA

(PDF) This case study has been written as a resource for communities who would like to begin or modify an existing program to focus greater attention on rapidly re‐house individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The agency highlighted in this case study has been re‐housing clients since the late 1980s in a relatively rural part of Pennsylvania.

Model: Hennepin County Rapid Re-housing

(PDF) This case study explores Rapid‐Exit, programs that offer rapid re‐housing and supportive services to families who reside in homeless shelters of Hennepin County, MN. In general, these homeless shelters experienced 1) a reduction in the number of families who utilize homeless shelters, and 2) a reduction in the lengths of stay at homeless shelters. Approximately 500 families are served by Rapid‐Exit every year.

Model: Family Housing Collaborative

(PDF) This case study explores the unique homeless prevention aspect of rapidly re‐housing families and providing them with intensive case management services as soon as possible but within 15 days of referral to FHC. Semi‐annual results in 2008 indicated that 143 families participated in the program and 93 percent of them successfully obtained housing and supportive services in compliance with program design.

Model: Chicago's Housing Locator

(PDF) This case study explores providing 1) rapid‐rehousing placement services to families who reside in homeless shelters, and 2) relocation services to families who are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Since its inception in 2006, the Housing Locator program has housed more than 845 households, 279 of which were housed in 2008.

Model: Ohio Dept of Development Family Homelessness Prevention Pilot

(PDF download.) The Ohio Department of Development Family Homelessness Prevention Pilot Project (OFHPP) This case study explores the unique homeless prevention aspect of providing families with direct client assistance and intensive case management services for up to six months. As of December 2008, 421 families successfully obtained permanent housing and received supportive services in support of self‐sufficiency and leveraging community resources.

Model: The Home Base prevention program in NYC

PDF document: This case study explores Homebase, a program administered by the New York City Department of Homeless Services, that offers community prevention, diversion and aftercare services to homeless families in the New York City area. The program serves roughly 5,000 households per year and has generally experienced a lower rate of increase in shelter entry between years 2004 and 2007.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Q&A: Can HPRP providers train others on HPRP?

Yes, providers are welcome to use the HPRP 101 power point and tools provided by CCEH to train other agencies and interested parties. Lead agencies or their sub-grantees cannot “bill” DSS for providing HPRP trainings. HPRP trainings are provided by DSS via CCEH.

Q&A: How can someone get trained on HMIS?

See web site for HMIS training schedules. HMIS trainings for HPRP will also be ongoing.

Q&A: What trainings can HPRP providers expect?

There have been four HPRP 101 trainings provided statewide. There has been a “Working with Clients for HPRP” training also, and additional one will be provided in November 2009. Providers can expect statewide round tables to discuss barriers, ideas, problem-solving, successes. CCEH will also identify additional training opportunities based upon needs. Please see Training and Implementation Support Plan on

Q&A: Are local providers responsible for HPRP reporting?

Each lead agency may have reporting expectations for each of their subcontractors. Regarding DSS, the lead agencies are responsible for reporting according to their contracts. DSS reports to HUD. CCEH will produce the reports. We will post the reporting matrix on our website and this blog by October 30, 2009.

Q&A: How long are providers expected to follow up with clients receiving assistance?

Providers are expected to follow up every three months for up to 18 months for clients that received “one-time” assistance and ongoing assistance.

Q&A: Are providers expected to follow up on clients that received “one-time” assistance?

Yes. DSS expects providers to also follow up on clients every 3 months for up to 18 months who received one-time financial assistance or other eligible service through HPRP.

Q&A: How are HPRP providers expected to follow up? Mailers? Surveys? Is proof of followup tracked through HMIS?

This process will be developed by December 2009 and communicated to the lead agencies by DSS.

Q&A: What is recertification? Will there be a tool that DSS expects providers to use for recertification?

Recertification is the process of redetermination of eligibility after a client has received services for 3 months. Recertification should be done every 3 months if the client continues to receive financial assistance or other HPRP services.  A paper version of the recertification tool has been finalized and sent to each lead agency.  The recertification assessment is also avaibable in HMIS.

Q&A: What is the difference between utility assistance and a utility deposit?

Utility assistance is ongoing financial assistance, possibly up to 18 months for an eligible client. An example is someone that cannot currently afford costly utility payments due to heating and is not eligible for a matching payment program or other programs that may assist with utility payments.

Utility deposits are useful for households that are required to pay a deposit for service connection, usually due to poor credit, lack of credit, or history of late payments or outstanding bills with utility company. Utility deposits are also helpful for those that have been “shut-off” by utility company and must pay full amount of outstanding bill to resume service.

Q&A: What's up with these outcomes? They are too aggressive.

Outcomes will be revisited by DSS after the first quarter and we will put out an addendum to correct some of the outcomes and due dates that were misprinted in the executed contracts.

Q&A: Is case management and/or supports mandatory for HPRP eligible clients?

No, they are not mandatory. All regions have agencies that are contracted to provide those services. Services may be encouraged for stabilization. Services include case management, legal services and credit repair/budgeting.

Q&A: Does an applicant have to have an income to be eligible for HPRP?

HUD guidelines for HPRP do not state that a person or household must have an income or sustainable income. Lead agencies were given the opportunity to add additional risk factors or criteria in their proposals to DSS. Those without an income should not be excluded, but programs are expected to assess each case to determine if the temporary financial assistance will be sufficient to help stabilize that eligible household. These funds are not intended for those with long term needs or supports. It is for those “but for” this assistance would be homeless.

Q&A: Are HPRP providers administering case management or support services expected to provide intensive case management?

Intensive case management may be defined differently by each agency. The intent of the case management services for CT-HPRP is to provide stabilization assistance, follow up and ensure connection to resources. Frequently, intensive case management is intended for those who need permanent supports, but it is up to the region if they have the case management capacity to provide intensive supports. Again, it is not recommended because this is a temporary program.

Q&A: Can rent arrears be paid with HPRP funds if an applicant has a Section 8 certificate or other type subsidy?

From While a household receiving an ongoing housing subsidy cannot receive HPRP rental assistance, HPRP can be used to help the household pay for up to six months of arrears in cases where the household has fallen behind on its portion of the payment due to a time lag between the household’s change in income and the recalculation of the tenant rent contribution. Note that the payment of arrears is eligible because it represents a different period of time – i.e., the arrears represents a back payment of the client portion, while the current rental assistance is a payment going forward.

Q&A: Is there required verification and documentation for HPRP eligibility?

If an applicant meets any of the prevention or rapid re-housing risk factors listed in the CT HPRP applications, it should be verified. HUD has provided guidelines that must be implemented by November 1, 2009. Here's the link for Income and Housing Eligibility Documentation details.

For housing status documentation:
For income verification:

Q&A: Does an “undocumented citizen” include people with a green card?

A green card holder is a documented person.

Q&A: Can someone with a Section 8 certificate or other type subsidy receive assistance with a security deposit through HPRP funds?

Yes. Eligibility for the DSS Security Deposit Guarantee Program should be checked first. From “Finally, clients receiving rental assistance under another program may be eligible for other types of HPRP assistance, as long as they are not also receiving that “type” of assistance through another source. For example, a homeless veteran entering a HUD-VASH project may receive security deposit assistance with HPRP funds.”

Q&A: Mortgage foreclosure – if the client’s meet the income eligibility can they receive HPRP assistance other than a housing subsidy?

No. HPRP funds cannot be associated with mortgage, taxes or mortgage refinancing. If the household is in foreclosure and they would be homeless but for this assistance and they meet the HUD eligibility, HPRP may be used for assistance other than the mortgage.

Q&A: Is rent reasonableness being analyzed for prevention and rapid re-housing?

Rent Reasonableness applies to rapid re-housing or prevention with relocation, not prevention in place.

Q&A: Has HUD changed its guideline on arrears: that the 6 months of arrears will not count towards the client’s 18 months of assistance?

We are not aware of any such change. The 6 months of arrears does count towards the 18 month limit.

Q&A: Can people refuse to do the pre-screen with 211 and just get the regional lead agency contact information?

Yes, people can refuse to complete the screening tool with 2-1-1. If they refuse, the agency will be expected to start the client record, including completing the screening tool.

Q&A: If 2-1-1 cannot get in contact with the appropriate provider, do they follow up?

Yes, 2-1-1 will provide the caller with contact information and attempt to contact the caller up to 3 times to ensure connection with the appropriate HPRP provider. 2-1-1 should not be expected to follow up with callers or applicants that did not originate with them.

Q&A: Will the call specialist really do the 3 way call with the client and the contractor?

Yes, as long as the 2-1-1 housing specialist can get through to the correct HPRP provider.

Q&A: Should callers/applicants be directed to Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Program before screening for HPRP if they request rental arrears?

HPRP is a homelessness prevention program. The resources are limited and should be directed to people who would be homeless but for this assistance. Rental arrears are an eligible cost under HPRP, but should be applied only to households for whom homelessness will result from a lack of assistance.

Q&A: If a client receives a security deposit with HPRP funds, who receives the security deposit if the client moves out? The program or the client?

The decision should be made with guidance from lead agency and/or program level.

From HUD is giving grantees the discretion to determine how to handle security deposits. The grantee may recover the security deposit, in which case it must be treated as program income. Alternately, the grantee may allow the household to keep the deposit and use it towards their next unit. Finally, the landlord or property management company may keep a portion of the deposit if it is needed to pay for costs incurred by the tenant such as damages to the unit.

Sample agreement:

Q&A: If someone at risk of housing loss or has lost housing in one HPRP region, and wants to relocate...

Q: If an individual or family is at risk of housing loss or has lost housing in one HPRP region, and wants to relocate to another region, which HPRP region or program provides the service?

A: The household should be identified by zip code of current residence or area of habitation. The appropriate provider in that catchment area or region should provide all necessary assistance for household to secure housing, ie. relocation costs, security deposit. After the household secures housing in the “new” catchment area or region, the appropriate HPRP provider in that area should provide services including rental assistance if needed. The “new” provider will also be expected to perform recertification and follow up.

Q&A: Can case managers conduct the required housing inspections?

Providers do not have to hire an additional inspection specialist for housing inspections, but they must adhere to the HUD habitability standard checklist. Lead based inspections require a HUD certified inspector or agency to complete this. Lead based inspections should be done on prospective housing for households with children 6 and under.

For Housing Inspections from The housing habitability standards described in Appendix C of the Notice. These standards apply only when a program participant is receiving financial assistance and moving into a new unit. They do NOT apply to persons receiving services only. They also do not apply to persons served with HPRP prevention assistance in a unit in which the program participants were already residing (prevention in place). Please see other questions for the lead-based paint assessment requirements, as they differ from the habitability standard inspection requirements.

Note that the habitability standards are different from the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) used for other HUD programs. Because the HQS criteria are more stringent than the habitability standards, a grantee could use either standard. Also note that the HPRP Notice does not exempt units from having to be compliant with local housing codes. Therefore, if there are requirements that are in both the local housing code and the HPRP Notice, the grantee must comply with the more stringent of the two.

In contrast to HQS inspections, the habitability standards do not require a certified inspector. For example, HPRP project staff or staff from or hired by an agency of the grantee’s local government can conduct the inspection. In addition, if a program participant is moving in to a unit and using another subsidy program that requires an inspection, staff from the other program may conduct the inspection, as long as they follow the minimum habitability standards required by HPRP. Inspections must be conducted upon initial occupancy and then on an annual basis for the term of HPRP assistance.

For Lead Based Paint requirements from Please note that housing that is occupied by families with children under the age of 6 and that was constructed before 1978 – whether served with prevention or re-housing assistance - must also comply with Lead Based Paint inspection requirements, per the Lead Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act. Visual assessments can be conducted by a HUD-Certified Visual Assessor under HPRP, and must meet the requirements as outlined in the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act, as noted in Section VII.F of the Notice. A 20-minute online training course on conducting visual assessments can be found on HUD’s website at

HPRP Inspections:

Habitability checklist:

Understanding the Lead Based Paint Requirements:

Q&A: Why is there is no employment or rent burden criteria? I think clients will end up back in the shelters after 18 months.

There may be criteria adjustment at a statewide and regional level as we learn more about what is most effective. Individual programs were asked in the RFP to identify additional risk criteria or targeting criteria.

Q&A: I'm confused by this language: "An assisted property may not be owned by the grantee, subgrantee or the parent, subsidiary or affiliated org"

DSS, Lead agencies and all subcontractors may not relocate households within housing owned by their regional lead or contracted agencies.

Q&A: How will it be handled if clients are determined ineligible from the application and want to fight it?

Each lead agency should have a grievance procedure and appeals process in place. If a program deems someone ineligible, then the applicant should be referred to other services.

Q&A: How do we properly target applicants for HPRP assistance?

A few tips include:
• People who have employment, or prospects for gaining income or employment in the next 3-6 months
• HPRP is not for people who have experienced long term homelessness and need ongoing subsidy and support services
• HPRP should divert households who are shelter bound to housing when there are simply no other alternatives
• In other words, the household would be homeless and seeking shelter without this assistance. Not might be, will be.

There is no part of the country that has the entire answer to targeting. As implementations develop and refine targeting criteria we will share it. It is import to remember that HPRP is a homelessness prevention program, not a poverty or eviction prevention program. It can not possible fill the monumental gap in our safety net for people who are poor or in economic distress. Households served must have documentation that they have been asked to leave their place of residence.

Q&A: When verifying income, is it gross or net income?

You need to verify gross income.