Sneak Preview: Guidance Details Funding Priorities for Non-Congregate Sheltering

Jerry Ashworth
July 16, 2020 at 08:46:11 ET
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(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Development Handbook.) Three federal agencies — the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — recently issued joint guidance establishing how state, tribal and local governments should request assistance under three award programs when providing non-congregate sheltering (NCS) for homeless individuals infected with or at high-risk of exposure to COVID-19.

While typical emergency shelters in response to disasters can include schools, churches or community centers, under the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, FEMA realizes that state, tribal and local governments must provide NCS, which can include the use of motels or dormitories to allow for isolation or quarantining of individuals to prevent the spread of infection. The agencies’ guidance, entitled “Federal Funding Priority Order for Non-Congregate Shelter During COVID-19,” aims to provide information to recipients “on how to utilize different federal resources for the highest and best use for the operation of NCS” for homeless individuals.

The guidance specifically focuses on three federal programs — FEMA Category B Public Assistance for COVID-19 emergency declarations; HUD Emergency Solutions Grant – Coronavirus (ESG-CV); and HUD Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV). General services related to NCS such as the provision of food, security and other basic needs are eligible for reimbursement though Category B public assistance. Other specific services such as case management and housing navigation assistance may be supported through CDBG-CV or ESG-CV funds. Food, security and other basic needs may be funded under CDBG-CV or ESG-CV once FEMA NCS assistance ends. The guidance further notes that other federal grant programs may be used to fund these activities to assist the homeless, and encourages state, tribal and local governments to determine whether those programs would apply.

Governments requesting funds for NCS to serve homeless individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, who are exhibiting symptoms, who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who have a high risk of poor outcomes should work with their FEMA region for approval of FEMA public assistance, the guidance notes. Tribal governments are eligible to apply for FEMA public assistance awards directly or as part of a state request, and should use Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG-CARES) or Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG-CARES) resources in place of CDBG-CV and ESG-CV.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time here.)

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