FY 1998 - 2003 Strategic Plan
Strategic Objective #2
Help communities and States establish a full continuum of housing
and services designed to assist homeless individuals and families
in achieving permanent housing and self-sufficiency.
The best approach to alleviating homelessness is a community-based
process that responds comprehensively to the varying needs of
homeless individuals and families. A comprehensive and coordinated
housing and service delivery approach helps communities plan for
and executes that balanced response.
HUD's innovative homeless effort works with communities to establish
cost-effective "continuum of care" systems in which
gaps in the housing and services needed to move homeless families
and individuals into permanent housing are identified and filled.
The continuum of care system serves the specific needs of all
homeless sub-populations within a particular community. It is
an inclusive process that coordinates the energy and experience
of non-profit organizations, State and local governmental agencies,
housing developers and service providers, private foundations,
local businesses and the banking community, neighborhood groups,
and homeless or formerly homeless persons.
With a continuum of care approach, the community can design a
strategy that works best locally to assist homeless persons and
families achieve permanent housing and self-sufficiency. The continuum
of care model is based on the understanding that homelessness
is not caused merely by a lack of shelter, but involves a variety
of unmet needs -- physical, economic, and social. HUD helps communities
develop a holistic system through a community-based process that
provides a comprehensive response to the differing needs of homeless
individuals and families.
The Department is further committed to ensuring that the non-discriminatory
provisions of the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973 are fully complied with in programs and activities
receiving Federal financial assistance.
This strategy is designed to ensure that homeless programs and
facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities and address
their disability related needs. In addition, the Department ensures
that the rights of persons with disabilities are protected in
this program by conducting monitoring reviews and investigating
discrimination complaints filed against recipients of Federal
The Department proposed in its FY 1998 budget submission to consolidate
the activities of HUD's six existing McKinney homeless assistance
programs and the Innovative Homeless Demonstration Program into
a single performance-based program. This will enable localities
to shape flexible continuum-of-care approaches to solving, rather
than institutionalizing, homelessness.
The primary strategy of CPD since 1993 has been to foster a Continuum
of Care strategy in communities with significant homeless populations
throughout the United States. This has been accomplished by including
such a strategy within the framework of the Consolidated Plan
undertaken by every entitlement community and State. It has also
been carried out by encouraging joint coordinated submissions
for homeless assistance under the competitive programs.
Among the components of a fully operational Continuum of Care
System are: outreach and assessment to identify an individual's
or family's needs and connect them to facilities and services;
immediate shelter as a safe, decent alternative to the streets;
transitional housing with appropriate supportive services, such
as job training, job placement, child care, substance abuse treatment,
mental health services and instruction in independent living skills;
and permanent housing or permanent supportive housing arrangements.
A study by Columbia University showed that substantial progress
has been made in encouraging communities to adopt a more coordinated
and comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of homeless
To foster a true continuum of options for the homeless, the
Department would make public and assisted housing resources available
to families with extremely low incomes. HUD's legislative proposals
would eliminate Federal admissions preferences for public and
assisted housing, enabling local Housing Authorities to establish
admissions preferences according to community needs. Preferences
may be established for families that are homeless or threatened
with homelessness if determined necessary by Housing Authorities.
Homeless or at-risk families will remain eligible for housing
assistance even in those Housing Authorities not establishing
preferences for the homeless, however. This is because the Department
has proposed to require that Housing Authorities reserve significant
portions of their admissions each year for families with extremely
low incomes. Many families making the transition from homelessness
would fall into this income category.
Housing - Contributing to the Reduction in and Prevention of
Sales/leasing to nonprofits
The homes sold to nonprofits can be used as transitional
housing or similar uses. No data exists, however, on the numbers
utilized for this purpose or the total number sold. In Multifamily,
there are procedures that permit the sale of HUDowned projects
to nonprofits and organized tenant groups on a negotiated
basis. Nonprofits can also compete to purchase HUDowned
No priority is provided for nonprofit or tenant purchases.
These groups can work/partner with state and local governments
via the right of first refusal process mentioned above.
Partnership with Health and Human Services and other Federal
In reviewing our draft Strategic Plan, HHS noted that "Support
services for the homeless must be comprehensive encompassing all
social supports such as day care, health needs, job training,
HHS encourages "interagency collaboration in trying to provide
comprehensive support to the homeless." HUD is working with
Federal agencies such as Health and Human Services, Department
of Education, Justice, Agriculture, and Department of Transportation
to utilize existing programs, and to create new partnerships to
provide a "continuum of care" for the homeless. This
process is on-going.
In recent years, PD&R has evaluated all of the major HUD
McKinney Act programs. Among these are evaluations of the Supplemental
Assistance for Facilities to Aid the Homeless (SAFAH) program,
the Supportive Housing Demonstration (SHDP) program, the Emergency
Shelter Grants (ESG) program, and the Shelter Plus Care (SPC)
program. In addition, in collaboration with the Census Bureau
and several other Federal agencies, the Department is presently
conducting a census of homeless service providers.
FHEO may also use the results of periodic compliance reviews
and monitoring reviews as a further tool to evaluate these programs.
PD&R will continue to conduct studies related to measuring
the performance of homeless programs. Currently, in collaboration
with the Census Bureau and several other Federal agencies, the
Department is conducting a census of homeless service providers.
This will provide an important baseline for measuring the effects
of homeless initiatives. The Department is also completing work
on a local homeless database system, which will provide important
tracking data on homeless individuals, which will help in performance
Linkage to HUD 2020: Management Reform Plan
Problems encountered by CPD include limited resources for managing
competitive grants; limited staff for on-site monitoring; fragmented
approaches to solving community problems; and an inability to
completely track and respond to market trends.
CPD is in the process of correcting these weaknesses by seeking
legislation to convert competitive grants into performance-based
grants; outsourcing discrete functions; using advanced mapping
software to aid community planning (Community 2020); aligning
resources within a new Economic Development and Empowerment Service
(see also Objective #1); and downsizing its Headquarters staff.
HUD has also proposed legislation to consolidate six homeless
assistance programs into one Performance-based Formula Grant program.
Permanent consolidation will eliminate the need for HUD to administer
staff-intensive, multiple competitions for funds. Communities,
through local planning boards, may share comprehensive "continuum
of care" systems, which would lie within the overall Consolidated
Plan for that community.
Programmatically, the new Economic Development and Empowerment
Service will allow HUD to:
- approach homeless problems locally and comprehensively,
- ensure role of non-profits and other community organizations,
- give cities responsibility for monitoring homeless problems.
Macro-economic factors can dwarf the Department's efforts to
affect homelessness. Increases in unemployment, the failure to
provide employment for people leaving the welfare rolls, and increases
in the cost of housing all can lead to increases in homelessness.
Factors such as the rates of domestic violence, substance abuse,
and the incidence of disabilities, which are associated with homelessness,
also are beyond the Department's control.
Moreover, HUD's ability to transition people into permanent housing
is constrained by local housing markets, by the ability to place
people into employment, and by the availability of financial support
for these individuals.
Please see also the section on External Factors under Objective
How annual performance goals support the achievement of this
Adopting a comprehensive approach to the prevention of homelessness
is an integral part of the strategy of HUD. Development of Continuum
of Care Partnerships in Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) communities
will be measured annually, with an ultimate goal of a partnership
in every ESG community by the year 2003.
But that alone will not solve the problem. For those who already
face the plight of homelessness, we must first increase annually
the number of transitional beds linked to supportive services,
and, more importantly, the number of homeless persons moved from
HUD transitional housing to permanent housing. In order to accurately
measure this transition, as well as the overall state of homelessness,
we must increase the number of local homeless tracking systems.
See Appendix I for specific performance measures.