The FY2018 NOFA: We’re Here to Help!

By now your community has delved into the FY2018 CoC Program Competition. Wherever you are in the process, we’re happy to tell you that the Alliance is here to help!

As Steve Berg mentioned in his earlier blog, this year’s NOFA is all about performance. The Alliance’s FY2018 NOFA blog and webinar series will help guide your community to improve the coordinated system to quickly house people experiencing homelessness. Sign up now for the first webinar to support your system’s efforts!

Our upcoming National Conference on Ending Homelessness & Capitol Hill Day will also provide tons of relevant content for all of the NOFA’s priority areas. Check out the suggested conference sessions below, that can inform your application.

An important first step is to think about how well your community’s homelessness response aligns with the policy priorities that the FY2018 NOFA outlines. These include:

I. Ending homelessness for all persons.

Communities should focus on continuing to decrease homelessness for all populations. That includes those which may have received greater focus in previous years, such as veterans, families, youth, and people experiencing chronic homelessness.

Ending unsheltered homelessness is important for all populations, and especially among individual adults, who are more likely to be unsheltered. Making shelters low-barrier and housing-focused helps reduce unsheltered homelessness and improve systems flow.

Key Alliance resources to help maximize your response to unsheltered homeless include:

  1. Unsheltered blog series
  2. Emergency Shelter Learning Series
  3. RRH Know How series

Key conference content within the sessions below relate to many areas where communities can use their NOFA application to build systems capacity and improve their performance:

  • 1.06 Ending Homelessness for Single Adults: Exploring What Works
  • 1.07 Communities Ending Family Homelessness
  • 1.09 Understanding Unsheltered Homelessness: What We Know So Far
  • 2.01 Homelessness and Racial Disparities II: Look at Your Data
  • 2.03 Coordinated Community Responses to Youth Homelessness: YHDP’s First Year
  • 2.08 Ending Chronic Homelessness: Difficult but Doable
  • 3.04 Assessing Your Community’s Need for Shelter
  • 3.10 Effective Partnerships: VA and CoC Collaboration
  • 5.05 Creating Non-Traditional Affordable Housing to Quickly Address Homelessness Among Single Adults

II. Creating a systemic response to homelessness.

System Performance Measures are a priority in this year’s NOFA—and in creating an effective and efficient crisis response in your community. Key measures include your community’s:

  • average length of homeless episodes
  • rates of return to homelessness, and
  • rates of exit to permanent housing destinations.

CoCs that have developed their coordinated entry systems see real benefits in these areas. The most effective coordinated entry processes promote participant choice; coordinate homeless assistance and mainstream housing and services; and make homelessness assistance open, inclusive, and transparent.

To better understand the importance of system performance measures and how you can improve them in your community, these Alliance resources are essential:

  1. NOFA Performance Measures Making You Nervous? Embrace Your Outcomes.
  2. Coordinated Entry Toolkit: Core Elements

And several workshops at the conference will also cover this important topic:

  • 1.01 What Gets Measured Gets Done: Creating a System Performance Framework with HMIS Data
  • 2.07 Coordinated Entry: Methods of Prioritization
  • 2.12 Taking a Systems Approach to Ending Homelessness in Rural Areas
  • 3.09 Not Just A Number: How to Use the VI-SPDAT in Coordinated Entry (and When Not To)

III. Strategically allocating and using resources.

Analyzing your system and program’s cost, performance, and outcome data will help you allocate even the most scarce resources. As part of this process, CoCs should review project quality, performance, and cost effectiveness. And in this NOFA, HUD encourages CoCs to maximize mainstream and other community resources to serve people experiencing homelessness.

CoCs should strategically re-allocate resources to serve the highest-need populations with the best performing programs. CoCs should also use the reallocation process to create new projects that improve their system’s overall performance and better respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

You can learn more about maximizing homelessness and mainstream resources, and how to use the re-allocation process to improve both program and system outcomes with these Alliance resources:

  1. Reallocating Permanent Supportive Housing
  2. 2017 Continuum of Care NOFA Resources
  3. The Scoop on the Transitional Housing-Rapid Re-Housing Joint Component
  4. The Joint Component Is for Homeless Youth, Too!

And these workshops at the conference will give you the chance to do a deeper dive into this important NOFA priority.

Strategic Use of Homelessness Resources:

  • 1.04 Diversion: A System-Wide Strategy to Reduce Entries into Homelessness
  • 1.10 Quick and Nimble: Applying All a Community’s Resources to Progressive Engagement
  • 2.02 Shifting Emergency Shelter: Using Your Data to Create Change
  • 2.05 Shelter Diversion: A Problem-Solving Conversation
  • 2.06 Expanding System Capacity Through PSH Move-On Strategies
  • 3.04 Assessing Your Community’s Need for Shelter
  • 5.01 The Highest Priority: Getting PSH to People Who Need It Most
  • 5.02 Dude, Where’s My TH? The Changing Role of Transitional Housing in Ending Homelessness
  • 5.08 Turning Data Sharing Barriers into Data Sharing Bridges

Connections with Mainstream Resources:

  • 1.11 At the Intersection: Mental Health, Substance Use Disorders, and Homelessness
  • 1.13 How Child Welfare Agencies Can Prevent and End Homelessness
  • 2.10 Coordinating with TANF to End Family Homelessness
  • 3.05 Housing is Health Care: Integrating Systems to End Homelessness
  • 3.08 Collaboration Works! Connecting Homeless and Employment Systems
  • 4.02 Public Housing Authorities: Key Partners in Ending Homelessness
  • 5.04 Partnering with Law Enforcement to Help End Homelessness

IV. Using a Housing First approach.

Having a system-wide Housing First orientation for all CoC programs is essential to all of the previous policy priorities—and to improving your community’s outcomes for populations. And it’s the right thing to do because people are “housing-ready” by virtue of being without housing.

A Housing First orientation shifts the power from provider to consumer. It allows people to determine the next steps in their lives from the foundation of their own housing. This approach also improves flow through the homelessness system; by focusing all programs on helping people more quickly access permanent housing, it frees up valuable crisis response resources.

To learn more about how to implement a Housing First orientation in your programs and systems, these Alliance resources will explain how it works for everyone:

  1. Fact Sheet: Housing First
  2. Rapid Re-Housing Toolkit
  3. Rapid Re-Housing for Youth Learning Community Webinar
  4. Series Using Smart Outreach & Housing First to End Unsheltered Homelessness in Nevada

Many conference workshops will have content that generally relates to the Housing First orientation, including various program models and populations. Add them to your “must attend” list!

  • 3.01 Homelessness and Racial Disparities III: Implicit Bias
  • 3.12 Rapid Re-Housing: An Effective Housing-First Intervention for Youth
  • 3.13 Helping Children Thrive in a Harm Reduction Environment
  • 4.01 Housing First and Opioid Use: Making It Work for Substance Users Experiencing Homelessness

Those are the major highlights for this year’s NOFA and the conference. And if you can’t make it to the conference, never fear! You can follow all the great content on Twitter (#NAEH2018) and access all the conference resources on our website after the conference.

And stay tuned for additional FY2018 NOFA content, including our blog and webinar series.

Don’t forget to register now for the first webinar on August 2, 2018 from 2:00-3:00pm:

Improving Your System’s Performance Through the FY2018 CoC NOFA