DHCD EA Toolox & Shelter Diversion Funds Have Been Suspended~

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Department of Housing & Community Development

March 1, 2010

TO:                  All DHCD Family Emergency Shelter Providers

FROM:            Robert Pulster, Associate Director

RE:                 Housing Stabilization Flexible Funds Announcement

I am writing to update you on the status of the Housing Stabilization Flexible Funds Program.  As you know, DHCD has prioritized moving families out of shelter and into housing as quickly as possible.  To that end, we were excited to allocate resources for this purpose through the new Housing Stabilization initiative announced on July 27, 2009.

I am proud that since August 1st and through the end of February, we have moved 1,144 families into housing at a total cost of $10.4 million through the Housing Stabilization Flexible Funds Initiative.  In addition, we have assisted another 757 families with toolbox relocation assistance at a cost of $1.06 million.  In sum, 1,901 families have exited shelter as a result of this new initiative.

The Division of Housing Stabilization works closely with our fiscal partners to respond to the urgent need for housing while meeting our budgetary constraints.  I understand that we have asked all providers to take advantage of Flexible Fund resources and have continued to do so right up to the point when we now need to take action to address our critical financial position.  Therefore, it is with regret that I need to inform you that as of March 2, DHCD is suspending the Housing Stabilization Flexible Funds program including both the Toolbox and Shelter Diversion programs.

As you are well aware, Massachusetts received $45 million from the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), a federal economic stimulus initiative that is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.   These funds are targeted to both rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention.  Funds can be accessed through HPRP contractors of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as the twenty entitlement communities across the state.   We expect that a large number of our families can access these housing resources to exit shelter in the coming months.  HPRP funds can also be utilized to develop shelter diversion responses and to assist families with relocation expenses.   We recognize that not all areas of the state are covered by HPRP so a limited number of areas without access to HPRP will continue to receive access to Flexible Funds.   I would ask these providers to work closely with their contract manager.

As we expect all of our providers will work urgently to access HPRP funds for their families, DHCD will continue to engage our municipal partners to facilitate collaborations that provide access to HPRP resources.  In fact, the ICHH Regional Networks have fostered these partnerships and continue to build relationships to meet the housing needs of both families and individuals that are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness.

While DHCD hopes to continue its Housing Stabilization initiative in FY11, I want to emphasize that this fiscal development also presents a timely opportunity to fully and appropriately utilize HPRP funds.  Moreover, as directed by the federal government, it is imperative that we assist the Commonwealth to expeditiously expend ARRA dollars.

I want to assure you that working to effectively utilize HPRP funds will be our shared goal over the next several months.  We must continue the momentum that we have achieved in placing families into housing.

To get information about HPRP resources, One Family has developed an online interactive HPRP map at www.onefamilyinc.org/hprp/.  We have also included a chart with basic information about HPRP resources; One Family’s online version has more specifics by agency with contact information.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a Flexible Funds case, please contact Barbara Duffy at 617 573 1374.  I want to thank you for all you are doing to support families and for your work with DHCD as we implement a new vision to prevent and end homelessness in Massachusetts.

Truly yours,

Robert Pulster

Associate Director

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