Funding Public Service and Homeless Programs
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) may use a small percentage (15%) of its annual entitlement on public services including but not limited to:
Health care and health care accessibility, legal services, youth services, case management services, fair housing activities, outreach and crisis assistance, services for the homeless and homelessness prevention activities, and fiduciary services.
The majority of the County of Lancaster’s CDBG funds for public services have been spent on direct services to the following activities: housing, health, case management, legal services, and children and youth. The County prioritized the use of public service funds on housing and homeless related services. As part of this prioritization, the programs that do not address housing and homelessness are being phased out. New applications for programs that are not related to housing and homelessness will no longer be accepted.
The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) may fund programs that help persons experiencing homelessness to move quickly back into permanent housing. Eligible activities include rapid re-housing, emergency shelter, and homeless prevention.
The County is a partner in the joint application pool along with the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness (LCEH), the City of Lancaster and the United Way to fund homeless services. The County’s CDBG funds dedicated to housing and homelessness and the County ESG funds are part of this pool of funds. The application process for these funds are released in early January and are due four weeks later. The Governance Board of the LCCEH makes funding recommendations for the funds and the funding sources determine the source of funds for each program.
CDBG and ESG funds are not provided to individuals. All funds are provided to organizations providing services. To access the programs funded through the County’s CDBG and ESG funds, individuals must call 2-1-1 to undergo an eligibility determination. In accordance with HUD’s requirements, priority is given to person that are living on the streets or in places unfit for human habitation (cars, garages, etc.). Persons that are doubled up with friends and family are not eligible for homeless services.
The Road Home: Solutions To Implementing Housing First In Lancaster
To facilitate the movement of persons experiencing homelessness into permanent housing, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) adopted a new policy advocating the use of a philosophy called Housing First. The Housing First approach works to quickly connect people experiencing a housing crisis to permanent housing, without preconditions and barriers to entry (e.g., sobriety, treatment, or service participation requirements), while providing necessary supports to maintain housing and prevent a return to homelessness. Supportive services are offered to individuals based on assessed need, but are not required. Adopting a Housing First approach can be challenging for provider organizations. Providers must understand the core principles of Housing First and the ways in which they may need to change or reorient their existing approaches for successful implementation.
The Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness (LCCEH) set a goal of increasing knowledge, awareness, and engagement with homeless providers to apply Housing First approaches. In order to educate and encourage nonprofit Board members and provide guidance to front-line practitioners on the benefits of the Housing First concepts, an informational, educational training program was developed. This program is called “The Road Home.” The purpose of “The Road Home” is to provide tools and resources that ensure our community is most optimally-positioned to end homelessness in compliance with the Housing First philosophy.
In 2015, the LCCEH aimed to increase knowledge, awareness, and engagement of the concept of Housing First. Lunch meetings were held focusing on the details of implementing Housing First in our community. Presenters were recruited from across the country who have expertise in best practices and proven outcomes in rapidly rehousing people experiencing homelessness. To date, attendees have included Board members and staff of organizations working with people experiencing homelessness. The sessions were interactive and focused on problem-solving.
Please contact Aimee Tyson if you would like to be notified of future sessions.