Are California Counties Ready for the Newly Established Housing for a Healthy California Program?
-Counties must tie rental subsidies to health care services-
-Counties must meet established requirements to be eligible for funds-
-Counties should be preparing to meet the requirements to become eligible-
Assembly Bill 74 (AB 74) Housing required the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to establish the Housing for a Healthy California Program (HHC Program) on or before January 1, 2019. Funding for the program was made available through California Senate Bill 850 Housing (SB 850).
SB 850 requires 50% of the funds collected under Senate Bill 2 Building and Jobs Act (SB 2) on and after January 1, 2018, and before December 31, 2018, to HCD for the HHC Program. Year 1 breakdown of funds from SB 2 includes $57.5 million for the program.
The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) will be released during the spring, 2019.
Funds must be used to address the problem of high costs incurred by health system for homeless persons while living on the streets. Funds must be used to implement a solution that ties rental subsidies to health care service funds included in the final 1115 Medicaid Waiver, which includes the Whole Person Care pilot program and the Health Home Program.
In order to be eligible for program funding, a county must meet all of the following requirements outlined in AB 74 Section 53592:
“(a) Has identified a source of funding for providing intensive services promoting housing stability. Funding for these services may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
(1) County general funds.
(2) Whole Person Care pilot program funds, to the extent those funds are available or the Whole Person Care program has been renewed.
(3) The Health Home Program.
(4) Other county-controlled funding to provide these services to eligible participants.
(b) Has agreed to contribute funding for projects assisted through federal Housing Trust Fund grants. This assistance may include preferences or set-asides for federally funded, locally administered rental subsidies.
(c) Has designated a process for administering grant funds through agencies administering housing programs.
(d) Agrees to collect and report data, as described in Section 53593, to the department.”
Section 53593 states that
“(a) The department (Department of Housing and Community Development) shall coordinate with the State Department of Health Care Services to match program participant data, consistent with state and federal privacy law, to Medi-Cal data to identify outcomes among participants as well as changes in health care costs and utilization associated with housing and services provided under the program to the extent that information is available, up to 12 months prior to each participant’s move into permanent housing, as well as changes in costs after each participant’s move into permanent housing.
(b) A county or developer awarded grant or loan funds shall, at annual and midyear intervals, report all of the following data to the department:
(1) Data specified by the department necessary to measure the costs and outcomes of the program.
(2) The number of participants and the type of interventions offered through grant funds.
(3) The number of participants living in supportive housing or other permanent housing.
(4) To the extent feasible and available, data on the impact of the program on participants’ use of corrections systems and law enforcement resources.”
Section 53594 states that
“(a) A county shall use grants awarded pursuant to this part for all of the following:
(1) Acquisition funding, new construction, or reconstruction and rehabilitation.
(2) Project based operating assistance.
(3) A county’s administrative costs, as determined by the department, of at least 5 percent of the total grant awarded.
(b) Project based operating assistance may include either or both of the following:
(1) Long-term rental assistance for periods of up to five years, subject to renewal grants.
(2) A capitalized operating reserve for at least 15 years to pay for operating costs of an apartment or apartments receiving capital funding to provide supportive housing to people experiencing homelessness.
(c) A county awarded grant funds pursuant to this part shall comply with federal Housing Trust Fund regulations.”
Section 53595 states that
“The department shall establish rating and ranking criteria to promote housing for persons who meet all of the following requirements:
(a) Is chronically homeless or is homeless and a high-cost health user upon initial eligibility.
(b) Is a Medi-Cal beneficiary.
(c) Is eligible for Supplemental Security Income.
(d) Is eligible to receive services under a program providing services promoting housing stability, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) The Whole Person Care pilot program, to the extent the Whole Person Care program is available or has been renewed.
(2) The Health Home Program.
(3) A locally controlled services program funding or providing services in supportive housing.
(e) Is likely to improve his or her health conditions with supportive housing.”
For more information see
AB 74 Housing for a Healthy California Program Fact Sheet