Recovery Act Rental Assistance Program (RARAP) Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing TRAINING
Introductions/Agenda Review Homelessness Prevention (HP) • Service Standards (CIAT, FA, HSS & FSS) • Forms • Potential Challenges & Ideas for Implementation Rapid Re-Housing (RR) • Services Standards (CIAT, FA, HSS & FSS) • Forms • Potential Challenges & Ideas for Implementation Distribution of Forms
Training Goals • Understand HP & RR service model and standards, including changes to HP • Know how to use RARAP forms • Know the difference between HP & RR • Understand the potential challenges providers face and discuss implementation strategies
HP Target Population • Low-income (50% or less AMI) Households • Residing in rental housing in the City of Tacoma • At imminent risk of experiencing homelessness • Recently impacted by the economy • No other support systems available • Able to reach housing stability* in 90 - 180 days with housing and financial stabilization services *Housing stability is demonstrated when the household has the necessary resources (subsidized or unsubsidized) to consistently sustain their housing and utilities at the time of program exit.
Summary of Changes to HP • Model indicates 90 – 180 days of service, but goal remains for household’s to stabilize within 90 days; added definition of housing stability • Households who do not bring all required paperwork to the assessment lose their appointment spot, but can re-schedule for no more than one week after the date of the initial assessment (must bring all paperwork at that time). • 30 day introductory period • Level of FA: 100% first month rent & utilities; Subsequent months: 30% of income toward rent (minus utility allowance), rest covered with FA; no utility assistance • FA and/or HSS provider can conduct the Lead-Based Paint Inspection (must complete HUD online certification); added timeline of 3-5 business days for LBP inspection. • Requirement for FA provider to notify the CIAT within 24 hours of a vacancy • Hold an initial meeting with household within 72 hours (rather than just scheduling it within 72 hours); joint meeting with HSS and FSS staff if different • Minimum of weekly contact with clients for HSS and FSS • Requirement for households to develop at least 1 housing and financial goal; recommend at least 1 goal in employment/education
HP Service Standards Centralized Intake, Assessment and Tracking (CIAT) • Primary role is to: • Outreach to the target population • Screen potential households for eligibility • Conduct thorough assessment to determine household’s ability to reach housing stability • Create client record in Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) database and refer qualified households to service providers (done simultaneously) • Refer ineligible households to other community resources • Track client data in HMIS
Outreach Service Standards • Develop and implement an outreach plan that includes broad, program specific and place specific outreach to the target population • Report outreach activities monthly • Assess the effectiveness of each strategy by determining how each referred household learned about the program • Make adjustments if a certain strategy appears to be more effective than another • Accept referrals directly from HPRP Providers [does not guarantee acceptance]
Eligibility Screening Service Standards • The eligibility screening should take place within 24-48 business hours of initial contact; in person or over the phone • Must verify the following eligibility requirements: • Resides in the City of Tacoma in rental housing • Has a written lease/rental agreement (must provide copy of lease/rental agreement at the time of assessment) • Combined household income that is at or below 50% Area Median Income as currently established by HUD (must provide documentation or self-certification of income at assessment) • Is at imminent risk of becoming homeless without these services (must provide documentation of this status, i.e. eviction notice, 3 day pay or vacate or written documentation from landlord, at the time of assessment) • Has recently been impacted by the economy, i.e. sudden loss of income, unemployed, difficulty securing employment, etc. • Is capable of reaching housing stability as a result of these services within 90 – 180 days
Assessment Service Standards • The assessment should be scheduled within 48 business hours of eligibility screening; in person (households without all needed paperwork will be rescheduled, up to 1 week after); households in imminent risk (i.e. 3 day pay or vacate) should be expedited as much possible • Each assessment process should include: • In person meeting with the household to assess the immediacy of the situation, level of need, and likelihood of success for each household using motivational-interviewing techniques. • Fully completed assessment form that includes staff certification language and is signed by the client, staff and direct supervisor. • Combined household income that is at or below 50% Area Median Income as currently established by HUD (must provide documentation or self-certification of income at assessment) • All required housing status documentation and income verification for each adult in household
Assessment Service Standards Con’t • Each assessment process should include: • Signed Release of Information form • A completed background check for each adult member of the household • Copy of each household member’s identification (i.e. driver licenses, social security cards, birth certificate, etc.) • Notify household that falsifying any information on the assessment form or background check application will result in immediate disqualification from RARAP and the program has a 30 day introductory period at which time the household’s continued enrollment will be decided. • CIAT will also identify initially on the assessment form whether the household will need a Lead-Based Paint and/or Habitability Inspection • Households not accepted into RARAP must be referred to other, appropriate community resources. CIAT will document the number and type of referrals made to these resources.
Program Enrollment Service Standards • Once client eligibility is verified by the CIAT and the household is accepted into the program, CIAT intake staff will create a new client record in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which formally enrolls the household into the program. • Note: the program enrollment or “intake” date marks the beginning of the ninety (90) day service period and coincides with the household being entered into HMIS. • CIAT must send the referral via email to the FA provider the same day the client is enrolled in the program. The referral must include: • Fully signed Assessment Form, including Staff Certification language • Income Documentation (i.e. pay stub, assistance letters, self-certification) • Housing Status Documentation (i.e. lease/rental agreement and eviction notice) • Copy of Identification (i.e. drivers license, social security card, birth certificate, etc.) • Release of Information • Complete Background Check • Other Documentation, if applicable
CIAT Forms • Eligibility & Assessment Form (must include staff certification language and be fully signed/dated by staff, immediate supervisor and client) • Income Verification • Housing Status Verification • Release of Information • Background Check
Potential Challenges • Long period of time between screening, assessment and program enrollment • Incomplete and incorrect information on assessment and/or background check • Missing information/documentation at the time of referral to FA Provider • Difficulty viewing client information in HMIS
HP Service Standards Financial Assistance (FA) • Primary role is to: • Verify all required CIAT paperwork is provided • Ensure all required inspections (Lead-Based Paint and/or Habitability) are conducted • Calculate the level of financial assistance needed for each household, including client contribution • Contact landlord/utility company to ensure continued housing/utility service • Provide financial assistance monthly
Financial Assistance Service Standards • Within 24 business hours of receiving the CIAT referral, the FA provider must review all documentation and contact the household to begin the process of providing financial assistance. • Every effort will be given to expedite contact with households facing imminent homelessness (i.e. 3 day pay or vacate) to prevent eviction. • Prior to issuing financial assistance, the FA provider must do the following: • Verify that all required paperwork is included in the CIAT referral • Screen for Lead-Based Paint (LBP) and Habitability Standard requirements
LBP & Habitability Standards • Lead-Based Paint inspections must be done for all units built before 1978 in which a pregnant women and/or children under 6 years of age reside; Habitability Standard (or HQS) inspections must be conducted on all newly occupied units • Staff performing inspections must complete the required HUD certification and maintain a copy on-site • If the unit needs an inspection, the FA provider will: • Notify household at the time of referral • Conduct Lead-Based Paint and/or Habitability Standard (or HQS) Inspection or notify the Housing Retention Specialist to perform the inspection, if required • If not conducting Lead-Based Paint Inspection, notify all City of Tacoma staff if the unit requires LBP Inspection and obtain subsequent verification of inspection (to be conducted within 3-5 business days of notification) • Assist with relocation if the unit does not pass the required inspection(s), if applicable
Financial Assistance Service Standards Con’t • Prior to issuing financial assistance, the FA provider must also do the following: • Verify rent reasonableness • Calculate the household’s financial assistance needs (see below) and required client contribution • Send referral, including all back-up documentation, to the Housing Stabilization and/or Financial Stabilization service provider(s) • Contact current landlord and/or utility company (when appropriate) to ensure household is not evicted or has utilities shut-off prior to issuing financial assistance • Financial assistance consists of rental assistance, security deposits, utility deposits, utility assistance, moving cost assistance, and short-term motel and hotel vouchers • Send referral to Housing and Financial Stabilization provider(s) within 48 hours of receiving the CIAT referral
Financial Assistance Service Standards Con’t • Assistance is to be issued once a month for up to 90 days as long as the household is fully engaged in housing and financial stabilization services, and continues to meet all eligibility standards. • The FA provider should confirm the household’s engagement with the HRS on a monthly basis prior to the issue of any financial assistance, as well as verify the household is still at or below 50% AMI. • Households in need of additional assistance beyond 90 days must be recertified by the HRS in order to receive up to an additional 90 days of assistance (see HSS Service Standards)
Financial Assistance Service Standards Con’t • Financial assistance the first month will cover 100% of all rent, utilities and no more than two (2) months of rent/utility arrears. • If a household is more than two (2) months in arrears, the HRS should negotiate a payment plan and/or identify other community resources to assist the household. • Clients only in need of assistance with arrears who do not need ongoing rent/utility assistance can negotiate with the FA provider to provide additional assistance with arrears on a case-by-case basis, but household must receive 30 days of housing and financial stabilization services to adequately address any housing stability issues.
Financial Assistance Service Standards Con’t • After the first month, each household is required to contribute at least 30% of their current income toward their rent each month and cover 100% of their utilities (amount needs to be clearly documented and includes a utility allowance if they pay for utilities directly) • Actual contribution will be determined monthly, based on each household’s specific situation and financial resources. The Housing Retention Specialist will help households obtain outside utility assistance if necessary • In rare cases where the household is unable to locate other utility assistance, HPRP funds can be used if the household demonstrates a clear need for assistance (i.e. utility shut-off notice, monthly budget indicating the inability to pay utilities, etc. and list of community resources they attempted to obtain) and the HRS supports providing utility assistance. If HPRP funds are used, the payment should take into consideration the previous utility allowance given to the household in the client contribution calculation for rent.
Financial Assistance Service Standards Con’t • Households should be encouraged to work toward supporting more of their monthly expenses each month as they reach the end of their time in the program. • The FA provider may perform additional background screening. • The FA provider must keep documentation of all financial assistance payments and verification of each expense (i.e. letter from landlord, utility bill, etc.) and report client information in HMIS. • The FA provider is responsible for notifying CIAT if there is a vacancy within 24 business hours of the household’s exit from the program so they can begin the process of screening potential clients.
FA Forms • Financial Assistance worksheets (i.e. utility allowances, etc.) • Lead-Based Paint Inspection • Habitability Inspection
Potential FA Challenges • Financial assistance issued without required inspections • Inability of client to pay 30% contribution for rent or 100% of utilities after the FA has been issued for the month • Inconsistent levels of financial assistance provided (rent & utilities) • Lack of back-up documentation for FA issued • HMIS
HP Service Standards Housing Stabilization Services (HSS) • Primary role is to: • Support each household using a Motivational Interviewing and tailored care approach • Assistance with the development of a Housing Stability Plan • Have regular with households to provide case management and resource/referral services • Condcut 30 day review and 90 day recertification • Prepare each household for program exit
Housing Stabilization Service Standards • The HSS provider will review the CIAT assessment and referral paperwork, contact the household and hold an initial meeting within 72 business hours of receiving the referral. • The initial meeting with the household and Housing Retention Specialist (and Financial Stabilization Services provider, if applicable) must include: • Review the CIAT assessment • Review and sign the Client Services Agreement • Explain the RARAP Introductory Period (during which the client can be terminated if it is determined that they are not eligible, presented incomplete and/or falsified information during assessment and intake process, or have violated any RARAP policy) • 30 day review with HRS (done at the 2nd in-person meeting)
Housing Stabilization Service Standards Con’t • The initial meeting must also include: • Complete the Needs Worksheet, including potential resources • Develop an initial Housing Stability Plan (to be updated every monthly meeting) that covers the following life domains: • Housing (must have at least 1 goal) • Financial (must have at least 1 goal; should be done by FSS provider if applicable) • Education/Employment (encouraged to have at least 1 goal) • Medical/Healthcare • Family/Childcare • Legal • Identify three priority goals on HSP
Housing Stabilization Service Standards Con’t • The HSP goals should be determined by the client, in consultation with the HRS, and be based on identified client need. • Services are expected to be tailored to each client and provided using a Motivational Interviewing approach. • The HRS should have contact with each active household at least once per week and meet in person at least once per month to track progress on the Housing Stability Plan. • The intensity and frequency of services should match the level of need for each household. The HRS should maintain Case Notes to document services delivered, client information, etc.
Housing Stabilization Service Standards Con’t • The HRS will update the FA provider on the household’s progress each month, prior to the FA provider issuing financial assistance. • The second in-person meeting should coincide with the end of the 30 day introductory period and should assess whether the client provided accurate information during the screening/assessment/intake process, meets all program requirements identified in the Client Services Agreement, and is fully engaged in services. • The HRS must complete the Introductory Period Review form and make a recommendation for continuation in the program beyond the introductory period.
Housing Stabilization Service Standards Con’t • Client information must be tracked in HMIS. • Current HSP should be uploaded in HMIS for all service providers to access. • It is expected that the majority of households will reach housing stability within ninety (90) days. • Households needing more assistance must be recertified by the HRS before going over 90 days of service in order to receive up to an additional 3 months of assistance • See next slide: Recertification Process
Recertification Process • The Housing Retention Specialist (HRS) must recertify any household in need of services beyond ninety (90) days after program enrollment. The recertification process includes verifying that the household: • Meets all eligibility standards (see Section A: Eligibility Screening & Assessment) • Participates in housing stabilization and financial stabilization services, as needed and verified by the household’s HRS • Makes significant progress toward housing stability, as verified by the household’s HRS • Meets all program requirements identified in the Client Services Agreement • Has the capability of reaching housing stability within up to an additional ninety (90) days of service
Recertification Process Con’t Step 1: Flagging Clients • Each program will set up a tracking system that flags all clients at least 20 days prior to the end of their 90 day service period (approximately 70 days after intake date). This is to ensure that there is adequate time to seek recertification and/or to transition the client out of the program. • Clients who are flagged should be assessed by the HRS to determine whether they will reach housing and/or financial stability by the 90 day mark (see definition of stability under section H: Discharge and Termination) • If the client will not reach housing or financial stability before the end of the 90 days, complete the Recertification & Staff Certification Form
Recertification Process Con’t Step 2: Completion of Recertification Form • Section 1: Eligibility verification • Fill out all information requested, including the specific start and end dates of the review period. The review period begins on the intake date (otherwise knows as the date of referral) and ends exactly 90 days later. • Update information required to verify eligibility, including address, rent amount, household income, and other housing/financial resources • Section 2: Level of Service Engagement • Answer all questions to document the client’s level of participation in housing and financial stabilization service • Section 3: Household Status Review • Describe progress toward housing stability, including specific steps taken by the client and likelihood that client will reach housing stability within next 90 days
Recertification Process Con’t Step 2: Completion of Recertification Form Con’t • Section 4: Final Recommendation • Check the box next to your recommendation for the client (either to remain in the program or to exit) • If recommendation is to exit the program, identify the reason (either lack of eligibility or failure to make satisfactory progress) • Staff Certification Form • If the client meets eligibility requirements (regardless of whether the HRS is recommending recertification or not), staff certification form must be completed by program staff
Recertification Process Con’t • Step 3: Recertification Review by City Staff • Submit recertification paperwork to the program’s contract specialist at the City of Tacoma at least 2 weeks (14 days) before the end of the 90 day review period. • City staff will review paperwork and clarify any questions with HRS, if needed • City staff will provide written approval or denial of recertification request within 5 business days of receiving paperwork • Step 4: Continuation or Termination of Services • If client is recertified, program should continue serving him/her and set up tracking system to flag again in 70 days • If a household cannot meet the conditions of recertification, then the HRS must discharge them from the program prior to exceeding the 90 days of service and provide transition planning with the household to avoid homelessness.
HSS Forms • Housing Stability Plan • Needs Worksheet • Client Services Agreement Form • 30 Day Introductory Period Review Form • 90 Day Re-Certification
Potential HSS Challenges • Meeting with households within 72 hours • Coordinating or conducting inspections • Maintaining regular contact with households • 30 Day Introductory Review • Completing re-certification within 90 day requirement • HMIS
HP Service Standards Financial Stabilization Services (FSS) • Primary role is to: • Support each household using a Motivational Interviewing and tailored care approach • Assist household with the development of the Financial Domain goal(s) in the HSP • Have regular with households to provide money management, credit repair and other services • Provide information to the HSS provider for the 30 day review and 90 day recertification • Prepare each household for program exit
Financial Stabilization Service Standards • The FSS provider will review the CIAT assessment and intake paperwork, and then coordinate with the Housing Retention Specialist to attend the household’s initial meeting. • During the initial meeting, the Financial Stabilization Services provider will: • Review the financial components of the CIAT assessment with the household • Lead the development of the Financial Domain goal(s) in the Housing Stability Plan • Provide the household with the Miscellaneous Expenses Worksheet and List of Debts to complete and bring to the second monthly meeting • Discuss initial financial needs and communicate with the FA provider accordingly
Financial Stabilization Service Standards Con’t • The HSP financial goal(s) should be determined by the client, in consultation with the FSS provider, and be based on identified client need. • Services are expected to be tailored to each client and provided using a Motivational Interviewing approach. Each household is required to engage in some level of FSS. • At a minimum, each household must develop a Monthly Spending Plan, Miscellaneous Expenses Worksheet and List of Debts to ensure the household is prepared to reach and maintain housing stability. This should focus on helping the household develop adequate safety nets (i.e. savings account) to avoid future risk of homelessness. • Additional services, such as credit repair, should be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Financial Stabilization Service Standards Con’t • The FSS provider should have contact with each active household at least once per week and meet in person at least once per month to track progress on the Financial Domain goal(s) in the Housing Stability Plan, but the intensity and frequency of services should be tailored to each household. • The second in-person meeting should coincide with the end of the 30 day introductory period, so information can be provided to the HRS about the client’s engagement in FSS services. The focus of this meeting should be to review the completed Miscellaneous Expenses Worksheet and use the information to complete the Monthly Spending Plan. • he List of Debts should also be reviewed at the second in-person meeting and inform the spending plan accordingly.
Financial Stabilization Service Standards Con’t • The FSS provider must provide regular progress updates to the HRS (if services are provided by two different staff) and FA provider on the client’s engagement level and accomplishment of financial goal(s). • This information should be used by the HRS to complete the 30 day Introductory Period Review Form and 90 day Recertification Form. • Client information must be tracked in HMIS. • The FSS provider should maintain case notes to document services delivered, client information, etc.
FSS Forms • Housing Stability Plan (Financial Domain) • Monthly Spending Plan • Misc. Expenses Worksheet • List of Debts • Other: Credit report, etc.
Potential FSS Challenges • Coordination with HRS to meet with household within 72 hours and ongoing communication • Household has no current income • Difficulty with credit repair given limited length of time in the program and significant credit issues • HMIS
Client Forms • Every provider must have certain client forms completed and on file for each household served. Program records, including client forms, must be kept for seven (7) years after the receipt of the final payment. • Mandatory Client Forms • Client Assessment Form, including Staff Certification language • Release of Information • Background Check(s) • Income Documentation (must be updated if income level changes and at the time of recertification) • Housing Documentation (written lease/rental agreement) • Copy of identification for each household member • Client Services Agreement Form • Needs Worksheet • Housing Stability Plan • Case Notes • Monthly Spending Plan • Miscellaneous Expenses Worksheet • List of Debts • Introductory Period Review Form (after 30 days of service) • 90 Day Eligibility Recertification (must be completed prior to reaching 90 day mark)
Client File Checklist SECTION 1 • Intake & Assessment Documentation • Assessment Form (fully signed/dated) • Copy of Identification(s) & Release of Information • Income Documentation • Housing Status Documentation • HP: Eviction Notice & Copy of Lease • RR: Homelessness Verification • Inspections and Financial Assistance (FA Only) • Lead-Based Paint Inspection (if required) • Habitability Inspection (if required) • Client Contribution Worksheets • Back-Up of FA provided • Correspondence with landlord
Client File Checklist SECTION 2: • Housing Stabilization Services • Housing Stability Plan • Client Services Agreement (fully signed/dated) • Needs Worksheet (HSS only) • Case Notes (HSS only) • 30 Day Introductory Period Review & 90 Day Recertification Form SECTION 3: • Financial Stabilization Services • Monthly Spending Plan • Misc. Expenses Worksheet/List of Debts (FSS only) • Case Notes (FSS only) SECTION 4: • Miscellaneous • Case Notes/Correspondence • HMIS information
Discharge & Termination Process Discharge • Households are discharged from the RARAP when they reach adequate housing stability and/or no longer meet program eligibility standards. At the time of program discharge, the household’s HRS must document the household’s “destination” status, which may be permanent, temporary, institutional, or miscellaneous, in HMIS. • The household’s HRS should help the household prepare for program exit to ensure the household maintains housing stability after discharge. This can include creating a transition plan, identifying support systems, or providing referral information to other community resources. • The CIAT should be notified by the FA provider within 24 business hours of the discharge so potential clients can be identified and screened to fill the vacant spot. • Detailed discharge or program exit “Destination” types can be found in the HUD Data Standards Manual July 2009, Section 4.10.
Discharge & Termination Process Con’t Termination • Individuals may be terminated from the RARAP for non-compliance or falsification of information. The conditions and process are outlined below. • Service providers may have a different set of rules that are specific to their program that will be upheld so long as they do not violate the law. • This list is meant to give examples, not to be a complete exhaustive list of the many violations that could take place during program participation. RARAP reviews only pertain to the services and payments provided by RARAP provider. Landlords may still terminate tenancy, charge fees and operate under the Landlord/Tenant laws. • Failure to comply with any HUD/HPRP program requirements • Failure to comply with agency rules or contract of participation • Failure to comply with case management rules to complete necessary goals for continued participation • Participation in any criminal activity or falsifying any information
Appeal Process • The RARAP appeal process is designed to provide a fair, impartial due process for program participants who believe they have been unjustly terminated from receiving RARAP services. • The appeal process is triggered when a program participant submits a written appeal to Associated Ministries: Attention CIAT, within 5 business days following the notification of service termination by the participant’s service provider. • There is a detailed appeal process outlined in the HP Desk Manual (page 15-16)