If you’re working on your application to the FY 2015 Continuum of Care competition you’ve probably noticed that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has placed a big emphasis on Housing First in this year’s Continuum of Care Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).
With this NOFA, HUD is acknowledging that program barriers that exclude people from receiving help, or prolong their homelessness, are not a smart investment. It’s doing that by heavily incentivizing a low barrier, Housing First approach that will ensure people with the highest needs are not denied the help they need.
As you have probably figured out, the CoC NOFA is very different this year. HUD has created the most competitive application process for CoC funds we have ever seen, with a strong emphasis on evaluating project and system performance and reallocating funds to effective programs that actually reduce homelessness.
The NOFA also focuses on the goals articulated in Opening Doors, including an end to veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. The application newly requires CoCs to report their actual progress toward this important goal. The exciting news is that we know this achievement is within reach for many CoCs across the country. Several communities have already announced that they have succeeded.