This article originally appears as post published at the blog for the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Written by Jen Saunders
The release of the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) registration notice often marks a stressful time for communities. It begins the process of rigorous examination of data, assessment of priorities, and ultimately the need to make tough decisions at the program and system level. While we at the Alliance recognize that this can be challenging, we believe the NOFA process provides an opportunity too. Community’s can use the NOFA to drive long-term change by using the process to strategically assess ways to improve their system, align their resources with best practices, and ultimately better serve the most vulnerable in the community.
What did the 2017 CoC Program NOFA Registration Notice tell us?
While we don’t know much about what will be in the actual NOFA — including when it will be released — the Registration Notice gave us some important clues that can help communities as they begin to think strategically about the application process. Some key observations:
- The Registration Notice is mostly the same as last year’s, focusing more heavily on HMIS data and the submission of system-level performance measures.
- As in past years, the funding that CoCs can apply for is divided into tiers, with projects prioritized in Tier 1 being more likely to be funded than projects of lower priority that fall into Tier 2.
- Communities are expected to have a performance-based project review and rank process.
The registration notice also outlines HUD’s key policy priorities, similar to prior years. CoCs and Project Applications will be evaluated based on the extent to which they further HUD’s policy priorities. The priorities include:
- Creating a systemic response to homelessness by developing systemic supports that assure homeless assistance is well coordinated, well-managed, inclusive, transparent, and achieves positive outcomes.
- Strategic resource allocation based on performance evaluation and data of all resources.
- Using a Housing First approach to move individuals and families quickly into permanent housing.
Communities will also want to take note of the permanent housing bonus described in the registration notice. The bonus is offered for new projects that fall into the following categories:
- New permanent supportive housing projects that primarily serve chronically homeless individuals and families, including youth experiencing chronic homelessness.
- New rapid re-housing projects for homeless individuals and families, including unaccompanied youth entering directly from the streets or emergency shelter, including youth up to age 24, and includes persons fleeing domestic violence situations and other persons meeting the criteria of paragraph (4) of the definition of homelessness.
- New joint transitional housing/rapid re-housing component projects, which will combine transitional housing and permanent housing rapid re-housing into a single project to serve individuals and families experiencing homelessness
We have received a lot of questions about the new joint transitional housing-rapid re-housing project component and hope to have more information to share about this opportunity soon.
What’s next from the Alliance?
Today the Alliance is releasing its NOFA site with tools and resources that we will continue to update as we learn more. During the month of May, we will also be focusing on reallocation so stay tuned for more information, resources, and blogs on this topic. Most importantly, we want to help communities as you prepare! Please send us your questions and let us know about challenges you are facing as you begin this process.