CAMBRIDGE, Mainstream vouchers to house chronically homeless people with long-term care needs.

CAMBRIDGE, Mainstream vouchers to house chronically homeless people with long-term care needs.

Additional Money Follows the Person (MFP) Funding Available: Let’s Make It Work for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness!

  • Posted on: 27 October 2020
  • By: HRASHID

Peace Be Unto You,

Additional Money Follows the Person (MFP) Funding Available: Let’s Make It Work for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness
Written byCha ndra Crawford October 13, 2020
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced $165 million in supplemental funding to states currently operating Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration programs. MFP allows Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities, including older adults, in inpatient facilities (e.g., hospitals, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, nursing homes or other long-term care facilities) to transition to their own homes and communities, paired with supportive services.

Each of the 33 participating states are eligible to receive up to $5 million in supplemental funding for a range of activities that include, building Medicaid-housing partnerships to facilitate access to affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities and older adults to redesigning service delivery tools, such telehealth, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection among MFP participants.

MFP and Housing
Since 2007, MFP programs have helped over 90,000 people transition from institutions to the community (Kaiser, 2019). Under MFP, people with disabilities and older adults receive additional home and community-based services (HCBS) beyond what is provided under existing state HCBS programs, including housing supports. The program is credited with helping states establish formal institution to community programs and with advancing more housing related services to address barriers vulnerable groups often face in accessing affordable housing.

The additional funding for the MFP is certainly a resource providers in the field should take advantage of as they continue to work to house people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. These funds, for example, could be used to help eligible states work with their local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to utilize the new and existing Mainstream vouchers to house chronically homeless people with long-term care needs.

It is imperative that we use every tool in the toolbox available during COVID-19 to get vulnerable people out of congregate settings to smaller, safer, permanent settings with rich services. States may request this funding through supplemental budget requests on a rolling basis through June 30, 2021. Let’s make sure eligible states take advantage of this opportunity to help house people experiencing homelessness during this devastating time. Every resource helps!

Getting the Most Vulnerable Housed During COVID-19: Opportunities Through Mainstream Vouchers
Written by Chandra Crawford September 23, 2020
People experiencing homelessness are uniquely at severe risk for contracting COVID-19, given the prevalence of risk factors in homeless populations. First, they have higher rates of chronic health care needs with limited access to health care. Second, people experiencing homelessness often find it difficult to comply with public health recommendations, such as physical distancing, isolation and quarantine because of issues like shelter conditions. People living outside or in encampments also often live in close quarters, share utensils and other personal items that could spread COVID-19.

More resources are needed to get people experiencing homelessness housed during the pandemic. Many communities have, for example, moved people from shelters into private hotel and motel rooms and will need resources to eventually transition people to permanent housing. Returning people to shelter or leaving people unhoused during the pandemic are challenges the field is desperately trying to overcome. Helpful resources are available right now.

Mainstream Vouchers: Available Funding
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced $150 million in housing vouchers for public housing authorities (PHAs) to expand housing capacity as a response to COVID-19. HUD’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is a great opportunity for non-elderly people with disabilities experiencing homelessness to access housing.

The notice includes the following:

Allows PHAs with an HCV program to apply for new Mainstream vouchers; including those who do not currently administer HCV programs
Provides waivers and alternative requirements for Mainstream vouchers
Modifies the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewal formula
The deadline for applying for the new voucher funding is December 31, 2020.

Forming Partnerships to Make Change
As those of us working to end homelessness know, funding for housing vouchers are scarce – this $150 million in new funding from HUD is a needed opportunity to house more people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. Continuums of Care (CoCs) should contact their PHAs about applying for this funding.

Working across systems can be challenging, but CoCs have the expertise required to assist PHAs with these vouchers: CoCs have relationships with homeless populations, they know how to implement tenant based rental assistance programs, and they have coordinated entry systems to identify applicants. Through effective partnerships we can reach our ultimate goal during these challenging times: getting the most vulnerable into safe and affordable units.

SOURCE: Chandra Crawford, National Alliance to End Homelessness,1518 K Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20005, https://endhomelessness.org/

Yours In Peace
Hasson Rashid
Concerned Citizen