Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care News
December 2019
Texas Homeless Network is the lead agency for the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC) . The TX BoS CoC is a group of stakeholders that collaboratively plan and operate the CoC and a range of housing and services to prevent and end homelessness. The TX BoS CoC covers 215 counties and includes 24 Local Homeless Coalitions (LHCs) that plan, deliver, and evaluate local systems.
Team Member Spotlight
Margaret Hill is the Bos CoC Governance VISTA at Texas Homeless Network. Originally from Conroe, Texas, she has lived in Austin for 16 years. During that time, she has worked mostly in the food service industry, and briefly ran her own business selling kolaches. Her experiences in the service industry sparked her interested in the struggles of people have been left behind by Austin’s economic growth.

During her time in Austin, Margaret has seen many people priced out by the high cost of living, which led to an interest in local politics. For the past several years, she has also volunteered with local organizations that serve those in Austin experiencing mental health issues and homelessness. She believes that the best measure of a society is how it treats its most disadvantaged.

Margaret has a BFA in Design Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and plans to pursue a masters after her VISTA year. 
Congratulations, Taylor!  

Thanks to Taylor Brewer, our social work intern from Texas State, for working with us this semester! Taylor participated in training on rapid resolution/diversion; helped to deliver the Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness; and researched best practices for incorporating the voices of youth with lived experience of homelessness into our work.

We wish her well as she continues her position at NASW/TX (the National Association of Social Workers-Texas branch) and applies for graduate school.
Staff Update 

We are pleased to announce that Linda Xiong has accepted the position of Systems Change Coordinator with the TX BoS CoC Planning Team. Linda will focus most of her energy on Coordinated Entry implementation and process improvements in that System Change effort. 

Linda joined the TX BoS CoC in September as a Systems Change Specialist. She comes to the TX BoS CoC with a Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she studied systems thinking and conflict transformation. We are excited to have her, and ready to see what's next with Coordinated Entry in 2020!

The Systems Change Specialist position will open soon, so check our website for updates!
Coordinated Entry Written Standards Public Comment Period

The TX BoS CoC will be seeking public comment on proposed changes to Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care Coordinated Entry Written Standards. A public comment period allows for stakeholders to review proposed policy, procedure, and statutory compliance implementation and provide feedback based on experience and expertise. Any persons who live or work in the CoC's geographic area and have an interest in preventing and ending homelessness can submit a comment.

There will be 3 rounds of public comment.
  1. Monday, January 6, 2020 to Friday, January 17, 2020
  2. Monday, January 27, 2020 to Friday, February 7, 2020
  3. Monday, February 17, 2020 to Friday, February 28, 2020

We will be accepting comments through a Google Form, email, and webinars. More information, including links to the document under review, are forthcoming.
2019-2020 CoC Board Members

The new CoC Board members for 2019-20, and some returning members, attended orientations on October 23rd and November 21st to learn more about the CoC, get to know each other, and start planning their work for the year.
Pictured from October 23rd are: Kyle Moore (Secretary), Melissa Escamilla (Vice Chair), Marqus Butler, Andrea Omojola, Sophia Checa (Director of Continuum of Care Programs), Dani Shaw (Chair), Linda White, Mary Stahlke (CoC Manager), Marcela Cervantes, Antonio Williams, and Barry Wheeler. Attendees on November 21st were Daphne' Adams, Quiana Fisher, and John Meier. Learn more about board members at   https://www.thn.org/texas-balance-state-continuum-care/governance/ .
Congratulations to the Public Housing Authorities Awarded Mainstream Vouchers!

Ten Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in the TX BoS CoC were awarded 373 Mainstream Vouchers, valuing $2,478,333, by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Fun fact: two PHAs were awarded in both 2018 and 2019. A huge congratulations to the Brownsville Housing Authority, Central Texas Council of Governments, Denton Housing Authority, Housing Authority of Lubbock, Housing Authority of Odessa, Housing Authority of the City of Abilene, Housing Authority of the City of Laredo, Robstown Housing Authority, and San Angelo Housing Authority!

True to our data nerd selves, we did an analysis of the awards. We saw a 125% increase in the number of PHAs that were awarded, a 129% increase in the number of vouchers awarded, and a 125% increase in the dollar valuation of vouchers awarded.

If there is a 2020 Notification of Funding Availability for Mainstream Vouchers, we will share it on our newsletter. We send these opportunities to PHAs. (Sophia has no shame.) We encourage you to share this opportunity with your local PHAs when it presents itself again. Together we can end homelessness y'all!

Here is the award announcement:   
Important Dates


No CoC General Meeting in January

CoC RRH Peer Learning Webinar - January
Thursday 16 January 2020, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
CoC RRH projects will meet Monthly moving forward on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 10:00am to discuss best practices in RRH, review current policies and suggestions, and to discuss RRH struggles and strategies.
Register Here

Innovative Approaches to Housing for People with Opioid Use Disorder Webinar
Thursday, January 30, 2020 11:00 am
Topic: Housing is critical to health and well-being, which makes addressing the link between substance use disorders and housing instability all the more important as communities seek to address the opioid epidemic.  In a recent ASPE report, Abt identified several promising housing models that support recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD), including HomeSafe (FAMILYConnections NJ) and HousingNow (Pathways to Housing PA). Join Abt experts and representatives of these two programs during this free webinar to learn about challenges and solutions to providing housing for individuals with OUD, including how these models can be replicated in other communities. Speakers:Emily Rosenoff, Acting Director, Division of Long-Term Care Policy, ASPE
  • Meghan Henry, Housing Expert, Abt Associates
  • Sarah Steverman, Behavioral Health Expert, Abt Associates
  • Alexandra Riley, Director of Programs, FAMILYConnections NJ
  • Christine Simiriglia, President & CEO, Pathways to Housing PA
Register Here


February 2020 General Meeting
Wednesday 12 February 2020, 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM
Topic: CoC Program
Register Here

CoC RRH Peer Learning Webinar - February
Thursday 20 February 2020, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
CoC RRH projects will meet Monthly moving forward on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 10:00am to discuss best practices in RRH, review current policies and suggestions, and to discuss RRH struggles and strategies.
Register Here

Performance Evaluation Committee Interest 

THN is seeking individuals interested in project performance and evaluation, analysis of project best practices, and system analysis interested in participating in the Performance Evaluation Committee. Committee members will meet monthly. Community funders, academics, members of local government, as well as individuals familiar with federal funding are encouraged to email  pec@thn.org  to start the interest process. 
2020 NOFA for Housing Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking

In September 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) entered into an interagency agreement to develop an initiative to address the housing needs of human trafficking victims. This agreement created an Interagency Working Group, which included the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Victims and Crime (OVC), HUD and other agencies, which met during 2018 to assist with the development of the initiative. Valuable information was also gathered from listening sessions with stakeholders and survivors. During the summer of 2019, HUD released the Specialized Housing and Services for Victims of Human Trafficking Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). However, HUD and OVC have since concluded that OVC is now well positioned to lead the administration of this DOJ housing program for trafficking victims. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, and we appreciate the time and work that communities have offered to better serve victims of human trafficking and people experiencing homelessness.
On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, OVC released the FY 2020 NOFA for Housing Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking (Grants.gov: Opportunity number OVC 2020-17755). HUD encourages communities to work with organizations serving human trafficking survivors to explore housing challenges for this population and consider applying for this program. HUD is committed to continuing its work with DOJ and HHS to address the needs of trafficking survivors.

Current Closing Date for Applications:Feb 03, 2020
HOME NOFA Released

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA or the Department) announces a NOFA of approximately $16,991,183 in HOME funds for single-family housing programs under the general set-aside utilizing a reservation system. These funds will be made available to HOME Reservation System Participants after a Reservation System Participation (RSP) Agreement has been ratified.

What is HOME?

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME Program or HOME) is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Authorized under the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act, the purpose of the program is to expand the supply of decent, safe, affordable housing and strengthen public-private housing partnerships between units of general local governments, public housing authorities, nonprofits, and for-profit entities.

Eligible Activities:

HOME Program funds support a variety of eligible activities including Homeowner Rehabilitation, Homebuyer Assistance, Contract for Deed, Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Single Family Development, and Multifamily Development. In addition, TDHCA has set aside funding for Disaster Relief and Persons with Disabilities, among other set-asides.

Eligible Applicants:

General Applicant Eligibility Requirements: Eligible Applicants are Units of General Local Government (“UGLG”), Nonprofit Organizations,
Public Housing Authorities (“PHAs”), and Councils of Government (“COGs”).

The Application Submission Procedures Manual (ASPM):  https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/home-division/docs/ASPM-RSP.pdf

Reservation System Deadline: June 16, 2020

Other HOME opportunities can be found here:  https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/nofa.htm
2020-2 Multifamily Direct Loan Special Purpose Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (the Department) announces the availability of a certain amount of National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), not to exceed $11,383,833, and the final amount will consist solely of unrequested funds under the Supportive Housing/ Soft Repayment set-aside of the 2019-1 Multifamily Direct Loan NOFA as of November 26, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. Austin Local Time. These funds are available under the 4% HTC and Bond Layered Set-Aside for the new construction or reconstruction of affordable multifamily rental housing for extremely low-income Texans. All NHTF available under this NOFA is currently available statewide. Applications under the 2020-2 NOFA will be accepted from December 3, 2019, to January 6, 2020, with all Applications having an Application Acceptance Date of January 6, 2020. Applications will be subject to the 2020 Qualified Allocation Plan (10 TAC Chapter 11), Multifamily Housing Revenue Bond Rules (10 TAC Chapter 12), and Multifamily Direct Loan Rule (10 TAC Chapter 13). Capitalized Terms in this NOFA are defined in 24 CFR Part 93, 10 TAC Chapters 1, 11, 12, or 13, or in Tex. Gov't Code Chapter 2306, as applicable.

On December 5, 2019, a new SSVF NOFA has been published in the Federal Register. This NOFA provides funding opportunities to renew existing grants. This NOFA is competitive and applicants are urged to closely review the NOFA and the associated training available below. The principal goal of this NOFA is to provide support to those applicants who demonstrate the greatest capacity to end homelessness through the adoption of evidence-based practices likely to lead to reductions in homelessness as defined by USICH's Federal Criteria and Benchmarks or, alternatively, Community Solutions Functional Zero. Scoring criteria are described in 38 CFR 62.21, 62.23, and 62.24. Awards are for services to begin October 1, 2020.

Applicants for the SSVF NOFA include: 
  • Under Priority 1, VA will provide funding to those grantees with 3-year CARF, 4-year COA accreditations, or 3-year JC accreditations. Proof of accreditation must be submitted with the application no later than the application due date. Grantees previously awarded a 3-year grant that is not scheduled to end by October 1, 2020, cannot apply under this NOFA but are required to submit a letter of intent (LOI) by the NOFA deadline indicating their intention of continuing SSVF services in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. All grantees submitting a LOI must include a letter of support from the CoC (see Section II.C.8.) and a proposed budget for FY 2021.
  • Priority 2 includes existing grantees with annual awards, seeking to renew their grants not included in Priority 1.
  • Both Priority 1 and 2 applicants must apply using the renewal application. To be eligible for renewal of a supportive services grant, the Priority 1 and 2 applicants' program concept must be substantially the same as the program concept of the grantees' current grant award. Renewal applications can request funding that is equal to or less than their current annualized award 
  • Priority 3 includes existing grantees previously awarded 2-year grants stemming from the SSVF NOFA published on December 19, 2018.

Applications are due no later than January 31, 2020 at 4pm EST.

Please contact  SSVF@va.gov if you have questions.
Across the TX BoS CoC...
These articles were gathered from Google Alerts and emails sent directly to us. If you have articles about your community's efforts to prevent and end homelessness that you want highlighted in our next newsletter, please email the articles to   txboscoc@thn.org.
Staff Recommendations

The following are resources TX BoS CoC Lead Agency staff have found that we believe would be beneficial to your local efforts to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time:
  • Sophia recommends - Ear Hustle is a podcast out of San Quentin State Prison (California) that shares the daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration. This episode of Ear Hustle illustrates by discharge planning from the criminal justice system is so important. https://www.earhustlesq.com/episodes/2019/7/3/kissing-the-concrete

  • Mary recommends - The National Alliance to End Homelessness's January 11th newsletter includes links to easy-to-understand information about Housing First:

"Housing First is a proven, effective strategy to transition people experiencing homelessness into housing. The following resources can help your organization and supporters get the facts on Housing First:

Anyone who works or lives in the CoC's geographic area, and all housing and homeless services projects in the CoC's geographic area, are considered to be members of the CoC. The CoC has an open invitation process, so members may join at any time.

THN invites members to participate in the CoC's activities. Learn more on the email list , the website , and social media . CoC General Meeting minutes and recordings are posted on THN's website, in the TX BoS CoC "Get Involved" page at  https://www.thn.org/texas-balance-state-continuum-care/get-involved/ . Presentations by and conversations between CoC members and staff on relevant topics keep members informed and up-to-date.

Share this email with anyone you think may be interested!
CoC General Meeting Schedule

Stay informed about CoC happenings by participating in the monthly webinars. Each meeting will feature a topic that is important to preventing and ending homelessness. See the Get Involved page for dates, topics, and registration links.
CoC Program Funding

If you are a representative of an agency that is interested in applying for United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) Program funding, please contact txboscoc@thn.org .
Your CoC Team

Get your questions answered and some face to face time with all of the CoC staff on the second Wednesday of every other month during the CoC General Meetings.
The TX BoS CoC is a focus area of the Texas Homeless Network.