LOUISIANA HOUSING AUTHORITY www.LHC.la.gov
The Corporation Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG)
The Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC), effective July 5, 2011, through Act 408 of the 2011 Regular Session. The intent of the Act was to consolidate the funding sources and programs for affordable housing throughout the state and provide for a coordinated approach to overall state housing policy to ensure an adequate supply of affordable and accessible housing for all residents of the state. As a result of this new legislation, more than 30 programs from five agencies were merged into the operation of the new Louisiana Housing Corporation. The LHC will coordinate a statewide approach to solving affordable housing shortages and promoting efforts which are driven by clear statewide policy regarding funding sources for development. The new corporationâ€™s 11-member Board assumed control of the agency on January 1, 2012. 1
Hurricane Disaster Response
Louisiana experienced immeasurable damage and loss in five separate hurricane events since 2005. The southern parishes were devastated in less than a month during the 2005 hurricane season by the combined effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The communities were in recovery, but again suffered comparable devastation in 2008 with Hurricanes Gustave and Ike. In 2012, on the seven year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isaac made landfall once again delivering a hard blow to coastal areas and, in some cases, to parishes that had not previously suffered hurricane damage. Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) and its Disaster Housing Task Force (LDHTF) mobilized into action immediately following the Hurricane Issac. The aftermath of slow-moving Isaac brought over a foot of rain and a violent 11-foot storm surge stranding more than 4,000 people on rooftops and forcing many into shelters across the state. Over 12,000 households and 7,000 homes were affected. Just days later, LHC and LDHTF assessed initial reports and surmised that shelters in several parishes would not be able to transition toward closing emergency shelter operations due to the widespread need of local residents. Many people simply had no where to go because flood waters had inundated the area, eliminating traditional support systems like friends and relatives.
HOME TENANT BASED RENTAL ASSISTANCE EMERGENCY DECISIONS
In an unprecedented move, LHC/LDHTF made the decision to set aside funds from its existing HOME program to establish a Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA), specifically for those affected by Hurricane Isaac in 26 parishes across the state. The program targeted the most vulnerable residents at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI) and was the first of its kind in Louisiana. 2
Below are the preferences for the program: • 60% AMI or below (4 points) • Applicants verified as homeless (3 points) • Elderly persons (2 points) • Individuals with mental or physical disabilities (1 point) Participants, served on a first come, first served basis, were able to move into eligible units under a 12-month long TBRA contract as long as the unit offered reasonable rents, whether publicly or privately owned. HOME TBRA assistance contracts could last up to one year and were eligible for renewal based on funds availability. The program’s primary goal—providing temporary housing until permanent housing was identified and secured—served 81 residents.
Issac HOME TBRA Disaster Relief 81 households served $1M allocated $637,311 expended This first innovative and comprehensive HOME TBRA program implemented in Louisiana’s history quickly served families and helped transition them into permanent housing. LHC rightly determined that case management needed to be a component for monitoring and transitioning families. Therefore, LHC formed a partnership with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in order to take advantage of the capacity and resources available within the DCFS-managed and FEMA-funded Disaster Case Management Program. Case managers helped maintain contact and develop program exit plans connecting two populations with permanent housing: HOME TBRA recipients and DCFS’ existing wait list. The LHDTF served as the mechanism for LHC to make a quick decision and use existing resources to speed response time in filling an 3
Youth aging out of foster care 19 households served $500,000 allocated $16,425 expended
immediate disaster need. Conversations are now being held regarding maintaining annual allocations for families who suffer disasters using HOME TBRA emergency assistance with case management. After addressing emergency concerns, LHC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DCFS to implement the same type of program for youth aging out of foster care. As a result of these new, innovative programs, HOME TBRA will likely remain an important element in the continuum of LHC services.
PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING
The Louisiana Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) model combines deeply affordable rental housing with voluntary, flexible and individualized community-based services to assist people with the most severe and complex disabilities live successfully in the community. PSH is not a new model of housing. A significant body of research has proven that successful outcomes for people and cost savings to government are achieved through the PSH approach.
Louisiana’s PSH goal is truly ambitious and far reaching. Rather than simply create 3,000 PSH units, Louisiana set out to create the nation’s first comprehensive PSH system that helps the state achieve several important policy objectives, including: • addressing chronic homelessness • reducing the unnecessary confinement of people with serious disabilities in nursing homes and other high-cost, restrictive settings • improving the state’s fragile behavioral health system through the implementation of evidence-based models of housing and services Currently, LHC’s PSH funding includes: • 3,000 vouchers for severely disabled, including people in institutions, at risk of institutionalization, the homeless, and people at risk of homelessness • PSH $50 Million Shelter Plus Care (S+C) – A five year grant, with one possible five year extension and annual renewal funding of $10 million • Project Based Voucher – A $20 million annual allocation when all 2,000 vouchers are leased.
2222 Tulane The Rosa F. Keller building in New Orleans, is a Permanent Supportive Housing project with a total of 60 units, 30 of which are subsidized with Shelter Plus Care subsidies.
Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers
2,392 vouchers leased $70M expended 4
(includes both Shelter Plus Care and Project-Based Vouchers)
Section 811 Program Rental Assistance Demo
LHC’s recent Section 811 Program award of $8.2 million will allow the existing PSH program to be expanded statewide and create 200 additional rental units for people in need of permanent supportive housing. The application Located in Baton Rouge, 438 Main Street has three PSH units. was leveraged with 125 tenant-based vouchers from three local housing authorities and $1,250,000 in HOME TBRA from the LHC. The statewide program will be administered in partnership with the Department of Health and Hospitals. Currently, the program operates in the Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone).
PARTNERSHIPS TO END HOMELESSNESS
New Orleans is one of the first ten HUD-identified cities selected to participate in a new initiative between HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) called Dedicating Opportunities to End Homelessness which intends to help federal, state and local agencies align in order to supplement existing plans that address and end homelessness within ten years. In addition, target communities use a new “Strategic Planning Guide,” an analytic tool to help estimate housing needs associated with meeting the goals established in Opening Doors, the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. The LHC is a strong partner in this initiative and serves as the Strategic Planning Guide operator.
State Interagency Council on Homelessness
The newly created Housing and Transportation Planning and Coordinating Commission (HTPCC) serves as Louisiana’s state interagency council on homelessness. Implementing its policies via LHC, it is charged by the Governor to create the state’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. HTPCC anticipates the boot camp process discussed below will be replicated state-wide in the remaining 8 Continuum of Care (CoC) regions. In partnership with the Rapid Results Institute and Community Solutions, the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) has funded Veterans and Acceleration Boot Camps with the 100,000 Homes Campaign. The Boot Camps are an opportunity to bring local government, CoC providers, PHAs, and VA Medical Center staff together in order to improve Veteran and chronically homeless housing and placement processes and increase effectiveness and efficiencies. The Boot Camps establish “take down” targets (i.e., how many Veterans and chronically homeless households need to be housed each month to end Veteran and chronic homelessness). Preliminary data indicates this approach is very successful and New Orleans is currently vying for the honor of being the first to end Veterans and chronic homelessness. New Orleans’ first 100 day “take down” target was housing 200 Veterans and chronically homeless people. That goal was surpassed and 244 people were housed in partnership with the City of New Orleans, the VA and UNITY of Greater New Orleans and many other organizations within the local CoC. The LHC also serves as co-lead for the state chronic homeless policy academy to reduce the prevalence of chronic homelessness, which is sponsored jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HUD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the USICH.
EMERGENCY SOLUTIONS GRANT PROGRAM $2M annually The ESG provides funding for homeless shelters, homeless prevention and rapid re-housing assistance to eligible households. The Emergency Solutions Grant Program is a federal block grant authorized by the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act and administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH) revised the Emergency Shelter Grant Program and renamed it to the Emergency Solutions Grant Program. As a result of the HEARTH Act, the new ESG expands the eligible activities for emergency shelter and homelessness prevention activities to include short-term and medium-term rental assistance and services to stabilize and rapidly re-house individuals and households who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The purpose of the program is to deliver housing supports and related services to persons strictly defined as either “homeless” or “at risk of homelessness,” as defined in Federal regulation for the ESG program. This program is principally designed to be the first step in a continuum of assistance to enable homeless individuals and families to move toward independent living as well as to prevent homelessness. ESG is an annual funding source awarded to the state, each year the state contracts with between 28-33 governmental agencies to administer the funding statewide. The state continues to work with local communities to reduce the homelessness, this hard work is evident as we have began to see a gradual decline in the annual unduplicated number of homeless persons seeking services. The annual unduplicated count: 2010 - 38,411 persons, in 2011 - 37,728 persons, and then in 2012 - 36,856 persons. 8
Philip and Marlene were displaced to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina. Homeless for years before and after the storm, they became aware of the PSH program in 2011. During a public hearing for the PSH program, a security officer approached a staff member and relayed the story of two people she knew who were living in conditions not meant for human habitation. Phillip and Marlene had lived on the levee for six years and then in an abandoned home on St. Philips Street for a year. In December of 2011, Marlene was hospitalized and subsequently placed in a nursing home. Her diagnosis was grave and, she was not expected to leave the nursing home. While Marlene was in the nursing home, a local church supported Phillip in a local motel. In February 2012, Philip was accepted into the One Stop. The One Stop provides 36 units of permanent supportive housing and brings support services on-site supporting independent living for formerly homeless residents providing access to medical care, a pharmacy, case management, mental health screening, legal aid, employment assistance and vocational training. Miraculously Marlene recovered and was released from the nursing home. In July 2012, Philip and Marlene were reunited in their new home in Baton Rouge.
The Louisiana Housing Corporation does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, national origin, physical handicap, political or union affiliation. No person, solely on the basis of any of the above factors, shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under the loan programs administered by The Louisiana Housing Corporation
For more information, contact Louisiana Housing Corporation (225) 763-8700 Main
(888) 454-2001 Toll Free (225) 763-8710 Fax
Published on Nov 20, 2013