California Emergency Solutions & Housing (CESH)

I just listened to the first webinar from the California Department of Housing and Community Development following the release last week of their Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $53 million in state funds for local Administrative Entities (AE) to use to improve their ability to serve homeless.   The allocation for Santa Rosa/Petaluma/Sonoma County is $843,907, and the details are on Appendix A of the Department’s webpage on the CESH Program.  

Ben Metcalf, Department Director, described the program in the first 45 minutes, and then answered questions for an hour.   In our case, the Sonoma County Continuum of Care (CoC) will probably designate the Community Development Commission (CDC) as our administrative entity, and it will have until October 15th to submit an application for the funds.  

Eligible activities
Allocated funds must be used for one or more of the eligible activities listed below:
1) Rental assistance, housing relocation, and stabilization services to
ensure housing affordability to individuals experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness. Rental assistance provided pursuant to this paragraph shall not exceed 48 months for each assisted household and rent payments shall not exceed two times the current HUD fair market rent for the local area, as determined pursuant to 24 CFR part 888.
2) Operating subsidies in the form of 15-year capitalized operating reserves for new and existing affordable permanent housing units for homeless individuals and/or families.
3) Flexible housing subsidy funds for local programs that establish or support the provision of rental subsidies in permanent housing to assist homeless individuals and families. Funds used for purposes of this paragraph may support rental assistance, bridge subsidies to property owners waiting for approval from another permanent rental subsidy source, vacancy payments, or project-based rent or operating reserves.
Rental assistance provided from flexible housing subsidy funds shall not exceed 48 months for each assisted household, and rent payments shall not exceed twot imes the current HUD fair market rent for the local area, as determined pursuant to 24 CFR part 888. Operating subsidies from flexible housing subsidy funds shall be in the form of 15-year capitalized operating reserves for new or existing affordable permanent housing units for homeless individuals and/or families.
4) Operating support for emergency housing interventions, including, but not limited to, the following:
a) Navigation centers that provide temporary room and board and case
managers who work to connect homeless individuals and families to
income, public benefits, health services, permanent housing, or other shelter.
b) Street outreach services to connect unsheltered homeless individuals and
families to temporary or permanent housing.
c) Shelter diversion, including, but not limited to, homelessness prevention
activities such those described in 24 CFR 576.103, and other necessary
service integration activities such as those described in 24 CFR 576.105, to
connect individuals and families to alternate housing arrangements, services, and financial assistance.
5) Systems support for activities necessary to maintain a comprehensive
homeless services and housing delivery system, including Coordinated Entry System (CES) data, and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) reporting, and homelessness planning activities.
6) Develop or update a CES, if the CoC does not have a system in place that
meets the applicable HUD requirements, as set forth in Section II.E.3.A of this NOFA. Eligible CES costs do not include capital development activities,
including, but not limited to, real property acquisition, construction, or
rehabilitation activities.
7) Development of a plan addressing actions to be taken within the CoC service area if no such plan exists. If an applicant requests funding to develop a plan, the applicant shall submit the developed plan to HCD prior to the expiration of the contract executed with HCD.
An AE may contract with a subrecipient if the AE determines that the subrecipient is qualified to carry out the eligible activities with the allocated funds. Subrecipients shall include a unit of local government, a private non-profit, or a for-profit organization.

The audio tape of the webinar, and copies of the Department slideshow will be posted on the Department’s CESH website early next week.  We will be inquiring of the CDC about how they plan to solicit input into the requested funded activities for the five-year period of the state grant.  The initial application does not require the identification of sub-recipients, but only the general uses with individual expected budgets and goals.  The AE has a year to make awards to subrecipients.  Homeless Action!  will use future posts to provide any additional updates on either local or state information.

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