If an agency were to rehouse a household and that household did not remain housed, would this still count towards the region’s overall rehousing goal?
Yes, a household that is successfully rehoused but later becomes unhoused will still be counted towards the rehousing goal.
If a household were to be rehoused for a second time through the EO, would their second rehousing event be counted towards the region’s overall rehousing goal?
Due to the Balance of State’s Rehousing period spanning over the 23-25 biennium, we acknowledge that there are households who may become housed and after a period, lose their housing and re-enter homelessness.
If a household no longer receives a rental subsidy and successfully exits the Rapid Rehousing project, then later falls back into homelessness before becoming housed a second time, the second rehousing will count towards the overall rehousing goal.
If a client is still engaged with the Rapid Rehousing program and is at risk of, or loses, housing while being enrolled in the program, it is recommended that attempts are made to locate another acceptable unit for the household to prevent any period of homelessness. If a household loses housing while still being enrolled in an EO Rapid Rehousing program, the relocation of the household into a new unit would not count as a second rehousing because the household did not fall back into homelessness. A household that is rehoused into a different housing placement and who did not enter back into homelessness should have one consistent enrollment in HMIS to maintain an accurate housing history. A household that relocated housing placements will not be counted as a second “rehoused” household because they were not homeless at the time of moving into the new housing placement. OHCS recognizes that despite best efforts, rehousing providers cannot prevent or mitigate every situation that could result in a household falling back into homelessness.
If attempts to locate another acceptable unit are unsuccessful, and the household enters a period of homelessness, they should be exited from the Rapid Rehousing program in HMIS with an exit destination that matches their new living situation. If a household becomes eligible for rehousing through the EO initiative again, a new enrollment into a Rapid Rehousing program with a new housing move-in date is required for the household to be counted a second time towards the overall rehousing goal.
Does OHCS have a template to be used by EO 23-02 regions for restrictive covenants?
When shelter facilities are acquired, converted, renovated, or rehabilitated, agencies must place a Declaration of Restrictive Covenants on the facility restricting use to provide housing and services as described in the agreement. OHCS requires this covenant, which must be filed by agencies in the real property records of each county where the facilities are located.
OHCS will not be providing regions with a restrictive covenant template. Rather, regions are required to align with the information in their agreement. Regions are encouraged to work with their attorneys to craft this language and ensure legal sufficiency. Please make special note of the Restrictive Use Periods per section five of the agreements.
Can EO funds be used for transportation costs to reunite an individual/household with family or support networks that will provide them with housing?
Yes. OHCS acknowledges that some individuals and households may prefer housing placement within communities of support, rather than engaging with more traditional service provision. Client choice should be centered in these instances and paying for transportation costs (such as bus tickets for rehousing in another county or state) is an available street outreach tool, and an eligible use of EO street outreach funds. This is not an eligible cost under EO components other than street outreach.
While an allowable use of EO funds, these households would not be counted towards the community’s rehousing goal. Long-term success of reunification can be difficult to track, and supportive services may not be available, as are standard with traditional rehousing efforts. Reunification should be used as tool that is deployed as part of a comprehensive housing problem solving conversation that aligns with client choice, and not as a stand-alone program offering.
Can EO RRH funds be used to support an unsheltered individual moving to a neighboring county?
If a client household prefers to be rehoused in a different geographic area, the RRH provider should use all options available to accommodate whenever possible. Unit selection in RRH should be centered around client choice. Centering client choice is an important element in successful housing placement and sustaining that housing.
Equally important is that the supportive services that work concurrently with rehousing are available and accessible by the client. It is possible that a provider may have budgetary, staffing capacity, or other limitations that restrict adequate provision of services and may limit where the household may be rehoused.
If a household wants to be relocated to a location where the current provider cannot serve them, the provider must make reasonable effort to connect the household with another provider in the area where they are wanting to relocate.
HMIS Reporting when rehousing in a different geographical area:
- For reporting purposes in HMIS, if rehousing an individual/household into a different county, follow your normal HMIS workflow.
- Enter them into your PH – Rapid Re-Housing, Street Outreach, or Services Only program and select your CoC for client location.
- Although the actual housing is not in your county, this unsheltered to housed person will count towards your CoC/MAC goal.
Is paying for renters insurance expenses an eligible use of Rapid Rehousing funds?
Yes, Rapid Rehousing funds can be used to cover renters insurance expenses as a landlord incentive. Coverage of renters insurance for a tenant housed through the EO is an effective tool to incentivize landlord engagement and recruitment. A successful rapid rehousing project has low, or no barriers to entry, and renters insurance coverage may encourage landlords to feel more secure when renting to a tenant who may otherwise face barriers based on rental history or other factors.
What is OHCS’s stance on Coordinated Entry with the Executive Order work?
OHCS is deferring to the local Continuums of Care (CoC) to determine if Coordinated Entry will be used for EO programs in the CoC’s geographic area. The OHCS EO programs do not require the use of Coordinated Entry, and they do not prohibit its use either. If you are unsure of your COC’s stance on Coordinated Entry for these funds, please reach out to your CoC for further clarification. We encourage CoCs to recognize that the EO funding is designed to address unsheltered homelessness in an extremely short period of time and is not subject to the same requirements that exist for HUD-funded programs. CoCs that opt to use Coordinated Entry for EO-funded projects must determine if the local Coordinated Entry process is capable of delivering assistance pursuant to EO goals and requirements and make appropriate adjustments to Coordinated Entry standards, as necessary. Please reach out if you would like to discuss this more.
When entering homelessness from an institutional care facility (i.e. hospitals, jails, substance abuse or mental health treatment facilities, or other similar facility), are individuals or households eligible to be served through the EO rapid rehousing program?
Yes, so long as the individual or household was experiencing unsheltered homeless prior to entering an institutional care facility. In an effort to reduce barriers, there is no maximum time limit for days spent in institutional care that would cause ineligibility for EO rapid rehousing. This differs from HUD's definition of homelessness, which stipulates that time spent in an institution must not exceed 90 days in order to not constitute a break in homelessness. OHCS acknowledges the importance of recognizing where the point of entry may be for communities and is expanding our definition of eligibility for rapid rehousing as a result.
Can rehousing funds be used to incentivize developers to create units by paying for needed renovations?
Yes, utilization of funds for renovations is permitted use of rehousing funding, so long as the renovated units will be made available specifically for rehousing households who are eligible for rehousing under the terms of the program. It is required to obtain a written agreement with the property owner documenting the predetermined use of said units, including outlining the compliance with the housing-focused services provision within the Grant Agreement and how client referrals to those units will be administered by the homelessness response system and accepted by the property owner or their designee.
A Restrictive Use Period for Facilities that are placed in service following rehabilitation or conversion is required. Please refer to the Rehabilitation and Conversion Minimum Period of Use standards designated for shelter facilities (section 5 of the grant agreement) for requirements. OHCS is applying the same requirements listed in that section of the Agreement for activities carried out that involve paying for renovations for unit access purposes. The CoC is responsible for exercising due diligence when negotiating with property owners and is advised to think critically about the following considerations: Will all units be at market rate? What, if any, barriers to entry are present? Does the property owner eliminate barriers for clients to not only obtain housing but stay housed (such as understanding that sobriety, compliance in treatment, or even criminal histories does not necessarily determine success in housing)? How long will these modified units be set aside for the purposes of rapid rehousing?
Before the use of any funds to rehabilitate or convert a facility to be located on leased property, CoCs must request prior written approval from OHCS. OHCS may approve or disapprove of such use of funds in its sole discretion, and any such approval may include modifications to the Restrictive Use Period as determined by OHCS in its sole discretion.
Can rapid rehousing funds be used to acquire buildings for use as permanent housing?
No, acquiring buildings for use as permanent housing is not an eligible expense for rapid rehousing funds.
Acquisition of buildings that increase the shelter bed capacity is a permitted use of shelter funds, and this type of project would be eligible only under the shelter fund grant category.
What types of shelters can be funded using emergency funds?
Congregate or non-congregate shelters must meet habitability requirements that include minimum safety, sanitation, and privacy standards as outlined in 24 CFR § 576.403, regardless of whether 24 CFR § 576.403 independently applies to such shelters apart from this Agreement. Shelters must be structurally sound. Tents and other structures without hardened surfaces that do not meet these minimum standards are unallowable. Shelter units may be in the form of Non-Congregate Free-Standing Units if they provide the following amenities:
Are there sub-populations within the goal of 1200 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness that we must focus on?
Point-in-Time data, while imperfect, is a universal measuring tool that reveals trends in our data that must drive local interventions in order to effectively meet the needs of those we serve. Within this surge effort, it is incumbent on us all to remain in shared accountability to our commitment of centering racial justice. Faltering on this commitment means repeating mistakes of the past that we are seeking to rectify.How will we measure success?
As stated in the executive order, the success of this 12-month surge effort is defined by meeting the following goals:
- Rapidly rehouse 1,200 households experiencing unsheltered homelessness in emergency areas;
- Create 600 new shelter beds in emergency areas;
- Prevent 8,750 households from becoming homeless statewide.
What’s the accountability, and how will the state be monitoring this work?
The people of Oregon deserve an efficient, accountable, and equitable state government. OHCS, ODEM, and the Governor are committed to tracking the work outcomes and ensuring the funding explicitly supports the local interventions identified within the community plan. OHCS will require frequent reports on the number of people being re-housed, the number of beds being created, and the number of people served with prevention resources. OHCS will also set clear expectations for providers to ensure the emergency funding is going toward services that align with the best available practices for ending homelessness.
Can the state work with HUD to get more vouchers?
An effective homeless response and prevention system requires coordination and partners across all levels of government. OHCS is actively working with HUD, among other key federal partners, to identify where Oregon needs resources to be layered.
How can we plan for helping people experiencing homelessness who refuse low-barrier services?
Technical assistance by national experts is available now and throughout this process to support local MAC groups in addressing challenges like this. One strategy is doing community development within encampments to find creative solutions to meet people where they are. Creating leadership from the encampments can bring about change. Other strategies include street outreach, adding capacity for encampment strategies, peer supports, and encampment decommissioning – the number of people that become family and want to cohabitate.
How do we access available state lands to support this work?
Oregon Department of Emergency Management is working with the Department of Administrative Services to identify suitable properties for potential investment under EO 23-02. Properties in natural hazard-prone areas will not be considered.
Will shelter beds added after January 2022 be considered “new” since the funding allocation is based on the 2022 Point-In-Time count?
No.Do individuals already in shelter who are permanently housed during the emergency operation count toward housing goals?
In order to determine if someone is eligible for rapid-rehousing services under the grant funds, CoCs are required to conduct an evaluation to determine their housing status at the time of initial engagement. When that initial engagement period occurs, it is able to be determined and created per local CoC policies. An individual in shelter who has a history of unsheltered homelessness may be served and counted toward rehousing goals if the local CoC creates a policy that describes when that initial engagement must take place. Will clients currently in shelter programs be eligible for the rapid rehousing strategies established by these funds?
OHCS is allowing each CoC to define CoC requirements and processes to determine when initial engagement occurs. This policy must be reasonable and carried out consistently to ensure the intent of the EO is carried out by focusing on those who have experienced unsheltered homelessness. We recognize that this will be different in each community. It will be up to your CoC to determine when the point of initial engagement occurs for the housing status determination. We recognize that this would usually occur for someone when they initially enroll in this program; however, we are allowing for CoCs to set policies that ensure that someone who entered services, like, for instance, staying in a shelter, and has a history of unsheltered homelessness would be able to be served under Category 6, Unsheltered Homelessness.
Moreover, we are allowing someone to receive other services, such as shelter stays, while they pursue housing placement under the Rehousing services portion of the grant. This needs to be done in a manner that is client-centered because we expect that the system is orienting toward a Housing Focused system, and that is outlined in the Grant Agreement in Exhibit A. In other words, a Grantee would not be able to require a shelter stay before receiving rehousing services – this is in direct opposition to a Housing Focused system and the principles that Executive Order 23-02 is working to proliferate.
If a household was unsheltered homeless when they went into shelter, but the placement in the shelter was before the EO was put in place, can we serve them with the EO rapid rehousing program?
The CoC would need to determine and implement a policy that outlines the point of initial engagement and apply that policy consistently throughout the period of performance. The policy must be reasonable to ensure the intent of the EO 23-02 is carried out by focusing rehousing efforts on those that have experienced unsheltered homelessness.
Does extending programs initiated after the January 2022 Point-In-Time count and operated using one-time federal dollars (ARPA) set to expire in the next biennium violate the “supplant” clause?
No, this does not violate “supplant” as long as the program would be ending “but for” these funds.
How is “homelessness prevention” defined? How do we effectively measure prevention and determine if that prevention of homelessness is sustained?
The homelessness prevention resources in the Governor’s early investment package (HB 5019[DO1] ) will be distributed through existing programs with program requirements related to the definition of prevention.
How is successful Rapid Rehousing for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness defined?
A successful rapid rehousing project has low or no barriers to entry, length of participation is short to medium, housing placements are high, rates of return to the homeless system are low, and employment and income gains are modest. Rapid rehousing is a permanent housing intervention that means an individual or family has a lease or sublease agreement in their own name.
Do Conestoga Huts meet the emergency shelter requirements?
Conestoga Huts can be used as emergency shelters if they meet the habitability standards and other requirements for emergency shelter outlined in the OHCS agreement. The services that would be available in a traditional emergency shelter (housing navigation, supportive services, trash pickup, 24/7 security, etc.) must also be available to those staying in the Conestoga Huts. Use Conestoga Huts for emergency shelter must increase bed capacity for the local shelter system and be part of an overall housing-focused program.
Do RVs in good repair that meet the emergency shelter requirements qualify as emergency shelter?
RVs can be used as emergency shelters if they meet the habitability standards and other requirements for emergency shelter outlined in the OHCS agreement. The services that would be available in a traditional emergency shelter (housing navigation, supportive services, trash pick up, 24/7 security, etc.) must also be available to those staying in the emergency shelter RVs. Use of RVs as emergency shelter must increase bed capacity for the local shelter system and be part of an overall housing-focused program.
To qualify under this funding, RVs must be owned by the local jurisdiction or partner agency delivering services to people experiencing homelessness. RVs owned by the clients do not qualify as emergency shelters. Safe parking for RVs owned by the clients also does not meet the criteria for emergency shelter.
Do RVs in good repair, hooked up to sewer and water and on at least month-to-month leased or owned land qualify as permanent housing?
If the household is not seeking traditional permanent housing, and their housing preference is an RV, it can be counted as permanent housing. Permanent housing for an RV should include being in livable good condition, hooked up to sewer, water and electricity, and on at least a month-to-month leased or owned land. Please be sure to check on any local habitable structure codes, and safety and sanitation codes for RVs. The RV would need to comply with any local codes as well.
Are prevailing wage rates (PWR) mandatory per EO funding agreements with OHCS?
OHCS does not explicitly require PWR per our EO funding agreements. However, since the projects utilize public funds, they’re not specifically exempt from PWR, and agencies should consult with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) for guidance. OHCS requires grantees and subgrantees to abide by all applicable laws, including those relating to PWR.