Housing and Support Services (HSS)

OTDA Home Programs & Services Housing and Support Services (HSS) Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How can my agency access funding from the homeless programs administered by Housing and Support Services?

The majority of funding administered by HSS is awarded via a competitive Request for Proposals Process. Each program has its own unique requirements and funding cycle.

Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP)

  1. STEHP - Who are eligible applicants?
  2. STEHP - Who is the eligible target service population?
  3. STEHP - What are the eligible activities?
  4. STEHP - What are eligible costs?
  5. STEHP - Are matching funds required?
  6. STEHP - What reports and recording keeping are expected?
  7. STEHP - What is the funding cycle?

1. Who are eligible applicants?

Eligible applicants are local social services districts and/or not-for profit corporations and charitable organizations, including faith based organizations.

2. Who is the eligible target service population?

The target populations are homeless families and individuals and those at-risk of homelessness according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definitions.

3. What are the eligible activities?

Eligible activities include:

  • provision of essential services to the homeless persons including, but not limited to, education, employment, budgeting, assistance in attaining mainstream benefits, physical health, mental health, and substance abuse;
  • payment for expenses of street outreach, shelter and transitional housing programs such as maintenance, operation, rent, repairs, security, fuel, equipment, insurance, utilities, food and furnishings;
  • rapid rehousing activities to provide permanent housing for homeless persons through payment of rent and housing stabilization activities;
  • preventing homelessness through legal services, payment of rent and arrears, and housing stabilization activities; and
  • assistance in obtaining Family Eviction Prevention Supplement (FEPS) rental payments in New York City.

4. What are eligible costs?

Personnel expenses such as salary and fringe benefits, and certain operational expenses are allowable in all categories.

5. Are matching funds required?

Yes. Funds received under this program must be supplemented with a 25% match of funds from other sources. These sources may include in-kind contributions, local share funding, or a combination of both.

6. What reports and recording keeping are expected?

Reports are required on a quarterly basis, describing the progress of STEHP activities, the number of individuals and families served, continuing needs for services, as well as the meeting of objectives through key indicators. Grantees must ensure that books, records, documents and other evidence associated with the cost and expenses of the grant are maintained.

7. What is the funding cycle?

Current five year contracts are in effect until September 30, 2019. OTDA expects to release the next RFP in early 2019 for contracts starting on October 1, 2019.

Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP)

  1. HHAP - Who are eligible applicants?
  2. HHAP - Who is the eligible target service population?
  3. HHAP - What are eligible projects?
  4. HHAP - What are eligible costs?
  5. HHAP - What is the funding cycle?
  6. HHAP - Should we be at a certain stage in the process before applying?
  7. HHAP - What should be considered when selecting a site for a proposed HHAP project?
  8. HHAP - Is there a maximum amount that HHAP will pay for acquisition?
  9. HHAP - Can we propose a project designed to house mixed income levels?
  10. HHAP - Can HHAP funds be used to develop licensed facilities?
  11. HHAP - Are specific geographic areas targeted?
  12. HHAP - How important is the provision of non-housing services?
  13. HHAP - Must rent levels be maintained at the local shelter allowance maximum? Can operating budgets show annual increases in HHAP public assistance rental income?
  14. HHAP - What is considered to be an appropriate project size?
  15. HHAP - Can HHAP funds be used to provide renovations to an existing/operating homeless program?
  16. HHAP - Can the total cost of a project be funded by HHAP or is a match required?
  17. HHAP - Is there a cap on the amount of HHAP funding that can be requested per site? Are there any limits in terms of the cost per unit?
  18. HHAP - Is it possible to begin a project using interim financing and/or a commercial loan and then apply to HHAC to pay off the existing debt and complete the project?
  19. HHAP - Are there any words of wisdom that can be provided as we begin to prepare an application?

1. Who are eligible applicants?

Not-for-profit corporations and their subsidiaries, charitable and faith based organizations, municipalities, and public corporations are eligible to apply for HHAP. Applicants and awardees represent a broad range of organizations, generally with experience in either housing development or management, or in the provision of social services.

2. Who is the eligible target service population?

Projects must serve homeless individuals and/or families. A homeless person is defined as an un-domiciled person (whether alone or as a member of a family) who is unable to secure permanent and stable housing without special assistance, as determined by the Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Many HHAP projects serve “special needs” populations including, but not limited to: the elderly; physically disabled persons; persons with HIV/AIDS; youth; survivors of domestic violence; mentally disabled persons; and/or individuals with a history of chemical dependency.

3. What are eligible projects?

Permanent, transitional, and emergency supported housing for homeless households.

4. What are eligible costs?

Acquisition, demolition and site work, rehabilitation or new construction, equipment costs, architectural and other professional fees, and to a limited degree, project reserves.

5. What is the funding cycle?

Program funds are awarded through a competitive “Open” Request for Proposals process. This means that applications are reviewed and awards made in the order in which proposals are received. Please check this OTDA Contracts and Grants listing to determine whether HHAC is currently accepting applications.

6. Should we be at a certain stage in the process before applying?

You should be at the stage where you can submit a substantially complete proposal that is responsive to the RFP. Proposals that are missing key elements, such as a development budget, scope of work, operating budget and documented referral sources for example may be deemed incomplete and not considered for funding. It is expected that an organization will be in a position to move forward with development activities upon notification of award. Applicants, particularly those without recent HHAP experience, are encouraged to submit a concept paper to receive feedback and guidance prior to the submission of a full application. Concept papers are accepted on a continuous basis. Guidelines and format for the submission of concept papers is located on the HHAP RFP webpage.

7. What should be considered when selecting a site for a proposed HHAP project?

Although there are several considerations in selecting a site, of greatest priority is the cost effectiveness to develop the project at that location. Applicants are discouraged from selecting sites which require:

  • purchase of an existing structure that must be demolished to permit new construction;
  • purchase of additional structures on site not associated with the HHAP project;
  • extensive infrastructure development in order to complete the project;
  • properties of historic significance that must comply with State Historic Preservation requirements at an additional cost to the project; and
  • properties requiring substantial rehabilitation where new construction is a more cost-effective option.

In addition to the above considerations, the proposed site must also be appropriate for the population to be housed. Applicants are cautioned not to fall in love with a building. In other words, your program should drive site selection; your site should not drive your program.

8. Is there a maximum amount that HHAP will pay for acquisition?

HHAC has not established a maximum amount of funding that will be available for acquisition; however, we will not pay more than the appraised value. Although not required at the time of application, acquisition costs in excess of $50,000 for land/buildings must be substantiated by an appraisal conducted by an independent, State-certified appraiser. Both the appraiser and the appraisal must be approved by HHAC.

9. Can we propose a project designed to house mixed income levels?

Yes. The development of projects which serve mixed income levels or propose innovative mechanisms to enhance the homeless rent revenues are strongly encouraged. An example of such project would be one that houses homeless and low-to-moderate income tenants and includes commercial space that would ultimately benefit the project and the community. However, HHAP funds can only be used to develop the HOMELESS portion of the project.

10. Can HHAP funds be used to develop licensed facilities?

HHAP funds can be used to develop licensed programs only if the applicant can clearly demonstrate that the population to be housed is first and foremost homeless. Additionally, if you are proposing to develop a project licensed by another state agency, you must document the unavailability of capital funding from that agency (or other sources) to develop the project.

11. Are specific geographic areas targeted?

It is the intent of HHAP to develop housing in areas of high need. Coupled with that is a recognition that need is relative. That is, without question significant supported housing gaps have been identified in Westchester, Suffolk and Albany Counties and the City of New York. However, there are other communities within the state experiencing homelessness. It is absolutely critical that you thoroughly document the need for the proposed project within your community.

12. How important is the provision of non-housing services?

The provision of non-housing services is a necessary component in any HHAP project. Services should be designed specifically to meet the needs of the target population being housed and assist residents to reach the highest level of self-sufficiency possible. Services may be provided either directly by the project sponsor and/or through documented linkage agreements with other service providers. Please note that HHAP funds cannot be used to support the ongoing provision of services.

13. Must rent levels be maintained at the local shelter allowance maximum? Can operating budgets show annual increases in HHAP public assistance rental income?

Unless you have committed supplemental funding sources (i.e., per diem reimbursement, Section 8, SHP), rents must be maintained at the public assistance shelter allowance or 30% of adjusted gross income. In as much as we do not want to penalize providers who are successful in assisting residents gain employment, on a case-by-case basis, HHAC will entertain reviewing the rental structure. Our primary concern is that rents remain affordable for formerly homeless households. If your operating budget is based solely on the public assistance shelter allowance, you should not project annual increases.

14. What is considered to be an appropriate project size?

There are no set standards regarding a minimum or maximum number of units to be developed. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to develop projects that can demonstrate economies of scale from both the development and operational perspectives.

15. Can HHAP funds be used to provide renovations to an existing/operating homeless program?

An existing homeless unit is one that is under contract to house the homeless. Additionally, if your corporate purpose is limited to providing services to the homeless, any units you manage are considered existing units. If a project has previously received HHAP funding, you should contact our office immediately to determine eligibility for additional funding. If a project never received HHAP funding, it may be eligible. You should note, however, HHAP's primary focus is on the development of NEW housing units. The amount of money available for the upgrade or preservation of existing units is limited. Such awards are categorized as an “other than project cost”. “Other than project costs” also include project reserves and start-up. The amount of HHAP funding that can be awarded for “other than project costs” is limited to 25% of the total HHAP allocation. If you are proposing upgrading or preserving existing units, you must:

  • demonstrate that the financial assistance is necessary (as opposed to merely desirable or a good idea); and
  • document that all other sources and alternatives for meeting such costs have been exhausted, that the costs are reasonable, and that the need for such funds will not be ongoing.

Additionally you should demonstrate that without HHAP funding the project is in jeopardy and the community would lose an existing homeless housing resource.

16. Can the total cost of a project be funded by HHAP or is a match required?

HHAP does not require a match; we have the ability to fund 100% of a project’s development cost. However, whenever possible HHAP encourages, but does not require, applicants to leverage funds from other sources.

17. Is there a cap on the amount of HHAP funding that can be requested per site? Are there any limits in terms of the cost per unit?

In order to promote geographic distribution and optimal use of available HHAP funds to address locally-identified housing needs, no single award shall be made in excess of $10 million in any given State fiscal year, and no single sponsoring organization shall receive a combined total of more than 25% of the funds available in any given State fiscal year for multiple projects, unless HHAC determines that it is in the best interest of the State to do so. It is HHAP's aim to fund quality projects at the lowest possible cost. The most competitive proposals are those that estimate the actual cost of the proposed project considering the market in that particular locality. HHAP has no predetermined limits on the amount of funding that will be awarded on a per unit basis. However, we do have guidelines that we employ. Our guidelines are based on many factors, including historical data, the type of construction, and regional considerations. You are advised to engage an architect who knows the local building market to arrive at a realistic construction cost estimate. Sometimes there is a tendency on the part of applicants to underestimate the cost of construction. This does not give you a competitive edge. Also, if you overestimate the cost of the project, you are doing yourself a disservice. If you honestly estimate the cost of construction, you should come pretty close to our guidelines.

18. Is it possible to begin a project using interim financing and/or a commercial loan and then apply to HHAC to pay off the existing debt and complete the project?

Yes, it is possible for HHAC to pay down a commercial loan or mortgage. However, please remember that HHAP funds are awarded on a competitive basis, so there is no guarantee that submitting an application will result in funding. Therefore, nonprofit agencies are strongly discouraged from assuming debt that they would not otherwise be able to carry absent HHAP funding.

19. Are there any words of wisdom that can be provided as we begin to prepare an application?

A key to the success of any project is in the initial planning. Make sure that there is an unmet need for the type of housing that you are proposing; that developing such housing is consistent with your organization's mission and authority; that you have the capacity to develop, own and manage supportive housing; and that you assemble a competent development team. Beyond that, the following advice is offered:

  • read the Request for Proposals and Application thoroughly;
  • respond to each component completely;
  • provide source documentation, where available;
  • do your homework (i.e., local approvals, service linkages);
  • do not assume that we know your agency or the need for supportive housing in your community; and
  • have an editor review the entire proposal for consistency.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

  1. HOPWA - Who are eligible applicants?
  2. HOPWA - What are the eligible activities?
  3. HOPWA - WWhat are eligible costs?
  4. HOPWA - Are matching funds required?
  5. HOPWA - What is the funding cycle?

1. Who are eligible applicants?

Eligible applicants are not-for-profit corporations and public housing agencies that provide services to low-income persons and their families living with HIV/AIDS. (Funding is reserved for applicants that serve area of New York State that do not have direct access to HOPWA funds from HUD).

2. What are the eligible activities?

Eligible activities are: project-based or tenant rental assistance; supportive services; short-term payments for rent/mortgage/utility costs to prevent homelessness; operating costs for housing; housing information and referral services to help individuals obtain housing; technical assistance in establishing/operating a community residence; and lease or repair of facilities to provide housing and services. All services provided are intended to increase housing stability for program participants and their families living with HIV/AIDS and assist them in achieving their maximum possible level of economic/self-sufficiency.

3. What are eligible costs?

Personnel and non-personal costs are permissible under the HOPWA program. Administrative charges (up to 7%) are also allowed.

4. Are matching funds required?

No.

5. What is the funding cycle?

The FFY 2015 allocation is $ 2,433,775. A RFP was released in October, 2013. There are eleven providers receiving funding. HOPWA awards commenced on January 1, 2014 and terminate December 31, 2018. A new RFP is anticipated to be released in May 2018.

Operational Support for AIDS Housing (OSAH)

  1. OSAH - Who are eligible applicants?
  2. OSAH - Who is the eligible target service population?
  3. OSAH - What are the eligible activities?
  4. OSAH - What are eligible costs?
  5. OSAH - Are there matching funds requirements?
  6. OSAH - What reports and recording keeping are expected?
  7. OSAH - What is the funding cycle?

1. Who are eligible applicants?

Eligibility to receive funds through OSAH is limited to sponsors of HHAP-funded projects that are specifically obligated in their HHAP contract to serve homeless persons with HIV/AIDS.

2. Who is the eligible target service population?

The eligible population to be served is formerly homeless families and/or individuals that reside in HHAP-funded housing units specifically constructed or set-aside to house persons with HIV/AIDS. OSAH funds may not be used to provide services to individuals or families residing in non-AIDS units within eligible projects.

3. What are the eligible activities?

Eligible activities are:

  • maintenance and operation activities that are directly associated with the operation and maintenance of the eligible HHAP project and its grounds;
  • support services activities designed to allow individuals to live independently, and which are not funded by other programs;
  • minor construction and/or rehabilitation activities that directly support and enhance the operation of the eligible HHAP project; and
  • administrative activities, including office rent, postage, insurance, etc. (Not to exceed 10% of total award).

4. What are eligible costs?

Personnel costs, other-than-personal services costs, and indirect administrative charges, that are directly associated with an eligible HHAP project.

5. Are there matching funds requirements?

No, however applicants are strongly encouraged to provide a 25% match.

6. What reports and recording keeping are expected?

Reports are required on a quarterly basis, describing the progress of OSAH activities, the number of individuals and families served, and continuing needs for services. Grantees must ensure that books, records, documents and other evidence associated to cost and expenses of the grant are maintained.

7. What is the funding cycle?

The SFY 2015/2016 allocation is $982,000.00. An RFP was issued in May 2013 resulting in 9 contracts. A new RFP is anticipated to be released in the spring of 2018.

New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP)

  1. NYSSHP - Who are eligible applicants?
  2. NYSSHP - Who is the eligible target service population?
  3. NYSSHP - What are eligible units?
  4. NYSSHP - What are the eligible activities?
  5. NYSSHP - What are eligible costs?
  6. NYSSHP - Are there matching funds requirements?
  7. NYSSHP - What reports and recording keeping are expected?
  8. NYSSHP - What is the funding cycle?

1. Who are eligible applicants?

An eligible applicant is a local social services district, unit of local government or a not-for-profit corporation eligible to do business in the State of New York. Eligible applicants must manage, own, or operate transitional or permanent housing or be a local social services district or unit of local government applying on behalf of a not-for-profit corporation(s). Eligible not-for-profit organizations may also apply in cooperation with one another. A formal agreement establishing the relationship between the two organizations must be presented as part of the proposal.

2. Who is the eligible target service population?

The populations eligible to be served are described below. Please note that each population must be applied for separately.

Single Adults
NYSSHP eligible single adults are defined as adult individuals living without children, who are residing in an eligible unit and who are in need of services to live independently and remain stably housed.
Young Adults (age 18 – 25)
NYSSHP eligible young adults are those age 18 – 25, single without dependents who are eligible for benefits under the State Plan for the Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program whose incomes do not exceed 200 percent (200%) of the federal poverty level and, unless in receipt of public assistance, whose participation in such a program would not constitute “assistance” under the Federal TANF regulations. In addition, young adults must be in need of supported housing and accompanying services which promote housing retention and self-sufficiency.
Families
NYSSHP eligible families are those who are eligible for benefits under the State Plan for the Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program whose incomes do not exceed 200 percent (200%) of the federal poverty level and, unless in receipt of public assistance, whose participation in such a program would not constitute “assistance” under the Federal TANF regulations. In addition, households must be in need of supported housing and accompanying services which promote housing retention and self-sufficiency.

3. What are eligible units?

A supportive housing unit for single/young adults is defined as a private room providing living and sleeping space for at least one, but no more than two persons. Units must have access to bathing and toilet facilities and be within a building or portion thereof, which is operated by an eligible applicant.

A supported housing unit for families shall mean a dwelling providing living and sleeping space for families which has access to bathing, toilet and kitchen facilities, within the same building that is operated by an eligible applicant.

In both cases units may be defined as transitional (up to 24 months) or permanent housing.

In no event shall units be located in an operating:

  • hotel, motel or other dwelling occupied transiently;
  • shelter for families as defined in 18 NYCRR Part 900 or adults, as defined by the Commissioner of OTDA in Section 2(23) of the Social Services Law;
  • residential facility or institution which is required to be licensed by any State agency except for OCFS certified young adult projects;
  • college or school dormitory;
  • clubhouse, fraternity or sorority house;
  • house intended for use primarily or exclusively by the employees of a company or institution; or
  • convent or monastery.

4. What are the eligible activities?

Funding may support services on-site and/or off-site for eligible program participants residing in eligible units/beds. Eligible core services are those services designed to assist eligible residents to live independently and remain stably housed and include but are not limited to the following:

  • case management;
  • counseling and crisis intervention;
  • employment and vocational assistance;
  • educational assistance;
  • parenting skills development;
  • pregnancy prevention, including counseling;
  • family reunification and stabilization;
  • life skills training; and
  • building security services.

5. What are eligible costs?

Personal Support Services—costs directly associated with the provision of personal support services to tenants. These costs must be a minimum of 80% of the grant. These costs include personnel, fringe and consultant costs.

Non-personal services costs—these costs may not exceed 20% of the grant. These may be allocated for items such as:

  • office supplies / equipment;
  • security supplies/ equipment;
  • HMIS expenses
  • staff travel;
  • food for resident gatherings and /or meal provisions; and
  • recreational supplies/ equipment.

6. Are there matching funds requirements?

All applicants must provide a dollar-for-dollar match for State funds provided under this program. The match can be actual or in-kind expenditures incurred by eligible applicants in the operation of eligible projects, and must be documented. In-kind expenditures are defined as the cash value of eligible costs that are not reimbursed under the SRO Support Services program, and may include but not be limited to materials, equipment, space, and paid or volunteer staff.

7. What reports and recording keeping are expected?

Reports will be required on at least a quarterly basis describing the progress of NYSSHP activities, certifying the number and types of services provided, the number of individuals served, the occupancy rate per month, and the number of available beds. Contractors must ensure that books, records, documents, and other evidence associated with the costs and expenses of the contract are maintained. The detail of these records must document all costs of materials, equipment, supplies, services, and all other costs and expenses for which reimbursement is claimed or payment is made under the contract. All expenditures shall be reported on an accrual basis.

8. What is the funding cycle?

The SFY 2015-2016 appropriation was approximately $29M, providing support to 163 contracts.

Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program (ENHP)

  1. ENHP - Who are eligible applicants?
  2. ENHP - What are the eligible activities?
  3. ENHP - What are eligible costs?
  4. ENHP - Are matching funds required?

1. Who are eligible applicants?

Eligible applicants include not-for-profit corporations and charitable organizations in social services districts with a population in excess of 2,000,000.

2. What are the eligible activities?

Eligible activities are: Crisis Intervention, Eviction Prevention, Emergency Mobile Feeding, and Summer Youth Program. Individuals and families served through ENHP are those at risk of becoming homeless or who are homeless and are eligible for benefits under the State Plan for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and whose incomes do not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

3. What are eligible costs?

Personnel and non-personal costs are permissible under the ENHP program. Administrative charges (up to 10%) are also allowed.

4. Are matching funds required?

No.

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