HUD Funding for Welfare-to-Work Efforts FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 15:31:17 -0800 (PST)


FWD

From: "Jeff Lubell" <lubell@cbpp.org>
To: "Housing/Welfare List Serve" <housingwelfare@lists.cbpp.org>
Subject: HUD Funding for Welfare-to-Work Efforts
Date: 11 Mar 1999 13:30:00 -0500
Organization: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

In the past few weeks, HUD has released the notices of
funding availability (NOFAs) for most of its competitive
programs.

There are two main ways to access the NOFAs.

Option One: http://www.hud.gov/fundsavl.html.  This list is
organized by program.  It also contains links to application
kits (which include necessary forms and some information in
addition to that in the NOFA).

Option Two: http://www.hudclips.org.  (Select "Current
NOFAs" from the main menu.)  This is organized by document,
listing each NOFA whose deadline has not yet passed.  It
appears to be a little more up-to-date than the list in
option one.  However, unless you know the document you are
looking for, it may be harder to use this option to find the
NOFA for a particular program.  If you follow this option,
don't overlook the "SUPERNOFA," which contains notices of
funding availability for more than a dozen programs.

Of the nearly two dozen NOFAs published by HUD in recent
weeks, we have chosen two to highlight in this message as
particularly germane to welfare-to-work efforts: the NOFAs
for the Economic Development and Supportive Services (EDSS)
program and for Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program
Coordinators for Section 8 Programs.  We also note at the
end of this message the release of a NOFA for the eight
jurisdictions receiving welfare-to-work vouchers under a
statutory set-aside.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORTIVE SERVICES (March 10, 1999
Federal Register 12027).  This NOFA announces the
availability of $23.5 million in funding for economic
development and supportive services (EDSS) activities, of
which 60 percent (about $14 million) is available to assist
families.  (The balance is earmarked for elderly and
disabled supportive services grants.)  These funds are being
carried over from fiscal years 1997 and 1998.  We expect an
additional NOFA to come out in connection with the funds for
fiscal year 1999 (which began Oct. 1, 1998).

The family EDSS program provides funding for economic
development and supportive services.  Permissible economic
development activities include entrepreneurship training and
development, microloan funds, developing credit unions,
employment training and counseling, and employer linkage and
job placement efforts.  Supportive services may include
child care, computer-based training, education,
transportation, substance abuse and mental health treatment,
and case management or service coordinators.

At least 75 percent of the families assisted with EDSS
grants must be public housing residents; the balance must be
recipients of Section 8 assistance (tenant-based and/or
project-based).  Applicants must supplement grant funds with
an in-kind and/or cash match of not less than 25 percent of
the grant amount.  The NOFA indicates that funds from
federal sources (e.g., TANF funds) would be an acceptable
match.  The deadline for applications is April 26, 1999.

Only PHAs may apply for EDSS funds.  However, there is nothing
precluding a manager of a project-based Section 8 development
from collaborating with a PHA to secure funds to assist the tenants
in the Section 8 development (subject to the 25 percent cap).

The availability of a portion of these funds to provide
supportive services to Section 8 recipients suggests the
possibility of linkage with the welfare-to-work voucher
program.  Unfortunately, no more than one-fourth of the
beneficiaries may be Section 8 recipients.  An interesting
question arises with respect to PHAs that plan to target the
welfare-to-work vouchers on public housing residents.  Could
they perhaps use the full EDSS grant for this population?


FAMILY SELF-SUFFICIENCY COORDINATOR FUNDS (March 8, 1999
Federal Register 11277)

For the first time, HUD is offering to fund the program coordinators
of all Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) programs with 25 or more participants.
This is a welcome improvement on the past practice of funding the FSS
program costs of smaller PHAs only.  The maximum amount a PHA may
obtain under this NOFA is $46,350.

The FSS Program is one of a small number of HUD programs
designed to promote employment among HUD-subsidized
households.  As many of you know, FSS promotes self-sufficiency
through the combined effect of case management services (to help
participants access such services as child care and transportation)
and the accumulation of escrow accounts by the participant to be
used to further goals such as homeownership and education.
As families in FSS increase their earnings, the money that
would normally go for increased rent payments are deposited
instead into their escrow accounts.

Many housing authorities have an obligation to run FSS
programs of a certain size as a result of the acceptance of
certain funds for new housing assistance.  Housing
authorities also have authority to run optional FSS programs
or to expand programs beyond the mandated size.

In prior years, HUD has provided reimbursement for the costs
of FSS program coordinators for Section 8 tenants at smaller
housing authorities only; HUD expected larger housing
authorities to meet the costs with their ordinary Section 8
administrative fees.  This year, however, HUD is offering to
fund the FSS service coordinators of ALL housing authorities
that run FSS programs of 25 or more participants.  The NOFA
indicates that HUD expects the $32 million available for FSS
Coordinators under this NOFA to be sufficient to fund all
applications.  If not, it provides a formula for determining
which programs get funded.  This is not a competitive program.

Housing authorities with fewer than 25 participants can
obtain funding if they apply jointly with another housing
authority (so long as the combined program size is at least
25).  Alternatively, since both mandatory FSS program slots
and optional FSS program slots are counted in determining
program size, housing authorities with smaller FSS programs
could apply to HUD to amend their FSS Action Plans to
increase the size of their programs.  (We do not know
whether this could be done in time to apply for funds under
this year's NOFA)

The NOFA states that "HUD is opening eligibility for funding
under this NOFA to HAs with larger Section 8 rental
certificate/voucher programs because it believes that this
action will support welfare reform activities across the
nation.  The FSS program has been found to be a critical
element in welfare reform efforts in many communities."

We could not have said it any better.  The publication of
this NOFA presents an excellent opportunity for both housing
authorities and Section 8 participants.  If a housing
authority has not yet hired a program coordinator specially
to handle the FSS program, now is the time!  This new
funding should allow housing authorities to expand the size
of their FSS programs (which can exceed the mandated size by
any amount the housing authority wishes).  Advocates and
Section 8 participants may wish to bring the availability of
these funds to the attention of their housing authority to
encourage them to start or expand an FSS program.

These funds are available only to assist Section 8
certificate or voucher holders.  Although it is not widely
known, reimbursement for the costs of FSS coordinators that
serve public housing residents may be obtained through the
Performance Funding System (PFS).  Joan DeWitt, Director of the
Funding and Financial Management Division of HUD's Office of
Public and Assisted Housing Delivery, has confirmed that
PHAs can indeed obtain funding for staff to serve as
coordinators or case managers for public housing FSS
programs.  This funding is available for both mandatory and
voluntary FSS programs.  PHAs interested in obtaining
funding for the costs of FSS coordinators working with
public housing residents must submit an Action Plan to HUD.
If the PHA does not have HUD approval for its Action Plan in
time to include FSS expenses in their PFS request for the
full year, a budget revision can be submitted during the
year.

The policy regarding PFS reimbursement for FSS Coordinators serving
public housing tenants was most recently restated by HUD in PIH 98-57
issued Dec 1, 1998.


WELFARE-TO-WORK VOUCHER NOFA FOR SET-ASIDES (March 8, 1999
Federal Register 11285)

This NOFA provides instructions for applications by the
eight jurisdictions receiving funds under the statutory
set-aside for the welfare-to-work voucher program.  These
include: San Bernardino County, CA; Cleveland, OH; Kansas
City, MO; Charlotte, NC; Miami/Dade County, FL; Prince
Georges County, MD; New York City, NY; and Anchorage,
Alaska.


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