California Continuums of Care: What Stakeholders Are Participating and What Stakeholders Are Not

-Most Identified Stakeholders Included Mental Health and Domestic Violence Advocates-
-Least Identified Stakeholders Included Local Jails and LGBT Service Organizations-

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently asked Continuums of Care (CoCs) to select which stakeholders are participating in their Continuum of Care (CoC) meetings by category as part of their 2018 Continuum of Care Program application submission to HUD. Instructions for 1B-1 CoC Meeting Participants stated

“For the period from May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018, using the list below, applicant must: (1) select organizations and persons that participate in CoC meetings.” (note: The list is included in Table 1)

Most Selected Stakeholder Categories

Table 1 summarizes the responses by all 41 California CoCs that submitted a 2018 CoC Program application to HUD. Two CoCs did not. The stakeholder categories that all (100%) 41 California CoCs selected were:

  • Domestic Violence Advocates;
  • Homeless or Formerly Homeless Persons;
  • Local Government Staff/Officials;
  • Mental Health Service Organizations; and
  • Mental Illness Advocates.

The stakeholder categories that nearly all (98%) California CoCs selected were

  • Affordable Housing Developer(s);
  • Agencies that serve survivors of human trafficking;
  • Other homeless subpopulation advocates;
  • Street Outreach Team(s);
  • Substance Abuse Advocates; and
  • Substance Abuse Service Organizations.

Least Selected Stakeholder Categories

  • Local Jail(s) category was selected by 59% of California CoCs;
  • LGBT Service Organizations category was selected by 78% of California CoCs; and
  • EMS/Crisis Response Team(s) category was selected by 80% of California CoCs.

Two other stakeholder categories were least selected. However, these two categories were contingent upon CoC Program funding, whereas all other stakeholder categories were not. The two categories were

  • CoC Funded Victim Service Providers category was selected by 56% of California CoCs; and
  • CoC Funded Youth Homeless Organizations category was selected by 68% of California CoCs.

Table 1. Selected stakeholders by CoCs that participate in CoC Meetings

 

Stakeholder Categories:

 

Selected

Not

Selected

Not

Applicable

 

Total

# % # % # % # %
Local Government Staff/Officials 41 100 0 0.0 0 0 41 100
CDBG/HOME/ESG Entitlement Jurisdiction 36 88 2 5 3 7 41 100
Law Enforcement

39

95 2 5 0 0 41

100

Local Jail(s) 24 59 17 41 0 0 41 100
Hospital(s)

38

93 3 7 0 0 41

100

EMS/Crisis Response Team(s)

33

80 8 20 0 0 41

100

Mental Health Service Organizations 41 100 0 0 0 0 41 100
Substance Abuse Service Organizations

40

98 1 2 0 0 41

100

Affordable Housing Developer(s)

40

98 1 2 0 0 41

100

Disability Service Organizations

39

95 2 5 0 0 41

100

Disability Advocates

39

95 2 5 0 0 41

100

Public Housing Authorities

39

95 1 2 1 2 41

100

CoC Funded Youth Homeless Organizations

28

68 9 22 4 10 41

100

Non-CoC Funded Youth Homeless Organizations

38

93 3 7 0 0 41

100

Youth Advocates

39

95 1 2 1 2 41

100

School Administrators/Homeless Liaisons

39

95 2 5 0 0 41

100

CoC Funded Victim Service Providers

23

56 5 12 13 32 41

100

Non-CoC Funded Victim Service Providers

38

93 2 5 1 2 41

100

Domestic Violence Advocates

41

100 0 0 0 0 41

100

Street Outreach Team(s)

40

98 0 0 1 2 41

100

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Advocates

36

88 5 12 0 0 41

100

LGBT Service Organizations

32

78 6 15 3 7 41

100

Agencies that serve survivors of human trafficking

40

98 1 2 0 0 41

100

Other homeless subpopulation advocates 40 98 0 0 1 2 41 100
Homeless or Formerly Homeless Persons

41

100 0 0 0 0 41

100

Mental Illness Advocates 41 100 0 0 0 0 41 100
Substance Abuse Advocates

40

98 0 0 1 2 41

100

 Next Steps:

            Participation from CoC Funded Victim Service Providers

The number of CoC funded victim service providers will increase as a result of what HUD termed as New Projects for DV Bonus, which was defined as “a project that is dedicated to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, in the 2018 CoC Program application.

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the 2018 Continuum of Care Program application stated that

“The FY 2018 HUD Appropriations Act provides up to $50 million for “rapid re-housing projects and supportive service projects providing coordinated entry and for eligible activities that the Secretary determines are critical in order to assist survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.” In the FY 2018 CoC Program Competition, CoCs will be able to apply for a DV Bonus for PH-RRH projects, Joint TH and PH-RRH component projects, and SSO projects for coordinated entry (SSO-CE).”

The number of CoC funded victim service providers will increase once the awards are announced by HUD. The number of California CoCs having participation from CoC funded victim service providers, however, my not increase.

As noted in Table 1, 23 or 56% of the 41 California CoCs selected participation from CoC funded victim service providers. If any of the other 18 California CoCs receive funding for a new DV Bonus project, participation from CoC funded victim service providers will increase the total number of California CoCs experiencing CoC funded victim service provider participation because such participation is a requirement by HUD for funding.

Participation from CoC Funded Youth Homeless Organizations

Twenty-eight (28) or 68% of 41 California CoCs selected CoC funded youth homeless organizations participation. Just like the category of CoC funded victim service providers, the category for CoC funded youth homeless organizations is contingent upon CoC Program funding, while all other stakeholder categories were not.

Presently, the number of CoC funded youth homeless organizations can only happen through what HUD has termed as “reallocation” and “bonus project.”

Reallocation

HUD defined reallocation as “is a process that CoCs use to shift funds in whole or part from existing eligible renewal projects to create one or more new projects.” New projects included:

  • Permanent housing-permanent supportive housing (PH-PSH);
  • Permanent housing-rapid rehousing (PH-RRH) projects that will serve homeless individuals and families, including unaccompanied youth; and
  • Joint Transitional Housing and PH-RRH component projects.

The number of CoC funded youth homeless organizations will increase if reallocated projects were successfully reallocated to youth homeless organizations. As noted in Table 1, 28 or 68% of California CoCs selected participation from CoC funded youth homeless organizations. If any of the other 13 California CoCs successfully reallocated to youth homeless organizations, participation from CoC funded youth homeless organizations will increase the total number of California CoCs experiencing CoC funded youth homeless organizations participation because such participation is a requirement by HUD for funding.

Reallocated awards for the 2018 CoC Program competition have not yet been announced.

Bonus Project

A CoC is eligible to apply for “more than one (new) bonus project provided it has demonstrated the ability to reallocate lower performing projects to create new higher projects,” as noted by HUD.  New projects also included:

  • Permanent housing-permanent supportive housing (PH-PSH);
  • Permanent housing-rapid rehousing (PH-RRH) projects that will serve homeless individuals and families, including unaccompanied youth; and
  • Joint Transitional Housing and PH-RRH component projects.

The number of CoC funded youth homeless organizations would also increase if bonus projects were successfully awarded to youth homeless organizations. The bonus projects would increase the total number of California CoCs experiencing CoC funded youth homeless organizations participation if awarded to CoCs that were not able to select participation from CoC funded youth homeless organizations category.

Bonus Project awards for the 2018 CoC Program competition have not yet been announced.

Participation from Other Least Selected Stakeholder Categories

Participation for other least selected stakeholder categories for some California CoCs may be the result of the lack of a local jail, LGBT service organizations, and EMS/Crisis Response Teams, particularly for smaller CoC jurisdictions.

Local Jail(s)

Local jail(s) was not a selected stakeholder category for 17 or 41% of California CoCs. In order to increase local jail participation, these 17 California CoCs can reach out to their county Sherriff’s Department for all 58 California counties have a Sheriff’s Department. In addition, these 17 California CoCs can reach out to city police department participation that have local jails or access to another nearby jurisdiction’s local jails. Of the 41 California CoCs, 38 are county or joint-county CoCs and three are city CoCs. Of the three city CoCs, two of the cities selected local jail(s) participation.

Local jail participation equates to local law enforcement participation, which is important because of the issues that surround the criminalization of homelessness that includes measures that prohibit life-sustaining activities such as sleeping, eating, sitting, resting, and storing belongings in public spaces. Recent media reports have declared that such criminalization is on the rise.

LGBT Service Organizations

LGBT service organizations was not a selected stakeholder category for nine (9) or 32% of California CoCs. Such organizations may not exist within the jurisdictional boundaries of the nine (9) CoCs. However, there may be institutions, agencies, and programs that provide services to youth age 18 – 24 or other adults that include LGBT persons such as educational systems, foster care agencies, and drop-in and community centers. Encouraging these entities to participate in CoC meetings may result in LGBT service organizations participation. If these entities already participate, encouraging them to focus more on the needs of LGBT persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, may result in new or increased LGBT services from a division, department, or program within these entities.

EMS/Crisis Response Team(s)

EMS/Crisis Response Team(s) was not a selected stakeholder category for eight (8) or 20% of California CoCs. All 58 California counties receive funding for some type of crisis response team for adults experiencing a behavioral health crisis as the result of the approval of California Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act in 2004. The California Department of Mental Health (DMH) provides the funding, personnel, and other resources to support county mental health programs and monitor progress toward statewide goals for children, transition age youth, adults, older adults and families, including those who are experiencing homelessness.

Funding from DMH provides services for Crisis Response Teams to reduce incidents of acute involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, reduce the amount of calls to law enforcement for psychiatric emergencies, reduce the number of psychiatric emergencies in hospital emergency departments, reduce the number of consumers seeking emergency psychiatric services from hospital emergency departments, reduce the amount of time a consumer with a psychiatric emergency spends in hospital emergency departments, and increase consumer access to services.

Each county DMH is responsible to submit a plan and annual updates that outline a strategy that includes services for persons who are homeless. Each DMH is responsible to provide forums to discuss local implementation of programs and elicit innovation. Thus, the plan and updates provide an opportunity for California CoCs to engage their local DMH concerning homelessness. In addition, recent legislation regarding several affordable housing and homelessness requires California CoCs to submit plans in order to receive funding for affordable housing and homelessness services, which also requires updates to the plans. DMH plans and California CoC plans should mirror similar strategies and goals concerning persons with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Thus, each county’s DMH should be a participating stakeholder in each California CoC.

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