[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 86 (Wednesday, May 5, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 24514-24534]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-10372]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

38 CFR Part 62

RIN 2900-AN53


Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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[[Page 24515]]

SUMMARY: This proposed rule would establish regulations concerning the 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF Program) of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This proposed rule is necessary to 
implement the provisions of section 604 of the Veterans' Mental Health 
and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008. The purpose of the SSVF 
Program is to provide supportive services grants to private non-profit 
organizations and consumer cooperatives who would coordinate or provide 
supportive services to very low-income veteran families who are 
residing in permanent housing, are homeless and scheduled to become 
residents of permanent housing within a specified time period, or after 
exiting permanent housing, are seeking other housing that is responsive 
to such very low-income veteran family's needs and preferences. The new 
SSVF Program is within the continuum of VA's homeless services 
programs.

DATES: Comments on the proposed rule, including comments on the 
information collection provisions, must be received on or before June 
4, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted through http://www.Regulations.gov; by mail or hand delivery to the Director, 
Regulations Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 
Vermont Ave., NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 
273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response 
to ``RIN 2900-AN53.'' Copies of comments received will be available for 
public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, 
Room 1063B, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday (except holidays). Please call (202) 461-4902 (this is not a 
toll-free number) for an appointment. In addition, during the comment 
period, comments may be viewed online through the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) at http://www.Regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Vincent Kane, Supportive Services for 
Veteran Families Program Office (116), National Center on Homelessness 
Among Veterans, c/o Philadelphia VA Medical Center, 3900 Woodland 
Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (202) 273-7462 (this is not a toll-free 
number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 604 of the Veterans' Mental Health 
and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008, Public Law 110-387 (the Act), 
codified at 38 U.S.C. 2044, directed the Secretary of VA (Secretary) to 
provide financial assistance to eligible entities to provide supportive 
services to very low-income veteran families who are occupying 
permanent housing. This proposed rule would establish regulations 
concerning the SSVF Program and is necessary to implement section 604 
of the Act.
    For organization and clarity of implementation, the proposed rule 
sets forth a new 38 CFR part 62. The proposed rule would establish 
regulations authorizing VA to award supportive services grants to 
private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives, who would 
provide or coordinate the provision of supportive services to very low-
income veteran families who: (i) Are residing in permanent housing, 
(ii) are homeless and scheduled to become residents of permanent 
housing within a specified time period; or (iii) after exiting 
permanent housing, are seeking other housing that is responsive to such 
very low-income veteran family's needs and preferences.
    VA has several programs that offer care to eligible homeless 
veterans, such as the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program, 
the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program, the Residential Rehabilitation 
and Treatment Programs (RRTP), the Homeless Dental Program, and the 
Housing and Urban Development--VA Supported Housing (HUD-VASH Program). 
The SSVF Program is unique among the other VA programs because of the 
population it serves and the wide range of supportive services it 
provides to that population. For example, unlike other VA programs, the 
SSVF Program permits supportive services to be provided to veterans and 
their family members. (While the GPD program authorizes certain 
services for minor dependents of women veterans, it does not generally 
authorize the provision of supportive services to family members). 
Subject to SSVF Program limitations, these very low-income veteran 
families could be residing in permanent housing or be homeless. A broad 
range of supportive services assist participants to obtain housing 
stability, such as case management, assist participants to obtain any 
VA, Federal, State, local, or tribal benefits for which they may be 
eligible, and provide temporary financial assistance.
    The SSVF Program will benefit very low-income veteran families by 
helping them to achieve housing stability. In particular, the SSVF 
Program will aim to prevent very low-income veteran families from 
becoming homeless and assist those very low-income veteran families who 
are homeless with rapid re-housing. The SSVF Program will assist 
participants in obtaining the skills and resources necessary to 
maintain long-term housing stability.

Content of Proposed Rule

62.1 Purpose

    Proposed Sec.  62.1 sets forth the purpose of the SSVF Program. 
Consistent with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044), the proposed rule states that 
the purpose of the SSVF Program is to provide supportive services 
grants to eligible entities to facilitate the provision of supportive 
services to very low-income veteran families who are occupying 
permanent housing.

62.2 Definitions

    Proposed Sec.  62.2 contains definitions for key terms that would 
be used in part 62 and Notices of Fund Availability. Although the 
proposed rule lists definitions in alphabetical order, this notice 
discusses the definitions as follows:
    (a) Definitions that are critical for understanding the SSVF 
Program; (b) Definitions that are included to provide clarity; and (c) 
Definitions that are based upon existing VA regulations or statutes.
Definitions That Are Critical for Understanding the SSVF Program
    In accordance with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(f)(2)), proposed Sec.  
62.2 defines the term ``eligible entity'' as a private non-profit 
organization or consumer cooperative, which in turn are separately 
defined in proposed Sec.  62.2.
    The proposed definition of ``veteran family'' is consistent with 
the definition provided in the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(f)(7)). The proposed 
rule defines a veteran family as either a single veteran or a family in 
which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is 
a veteran.
    Under the proposed rule, to be eligible for supportive services, a 
veteran family must be considered a ``very low-income veteran family.'' 
Consistent with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(f)(6)), proposed Sec.  62.2 
defines a very low-income veteran family as a veteran family whose 
annual income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for an 
area or community. This is subject to adjustment by VA in the Notice of 
Fund Availability. A veteran family's annual income will be determined 
in accordance with the income criteria for programs under section 8 of 
the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f) as found in the 
Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation 24 CFR 5.609. VA 
has

[[Page 24516]]

determined that, unless stated otherwise in the Notice of Fund 
Availability, the income limits and area or community designations most 
recently published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
for programs under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 
will be used to determine the median income for an area or community.
    Under 38 U.S.C. 2044(f)(4), ``permanent housing'' is defined as 
``community-based housing without a designated length of stay.'' The 
term ``permanent housing'' is defined in proposed Sec.  62.2 consistent 
with the statute, but clarifying language is included in the proposed 
rule to explain that under our interpretation of the statute, permanent 
housing includes, but is not limited to, a house or apartment with a 
month-to-month or annual lease term, or home ownership. Permanent 
housing is not intended to include certain types of institutional 
housing that generally involve a designated length of stay, such as 
imprisonment or detainment pursuant to Federal or State law, which are 
not considered ``community-based housing'' under industry standards or 
common parlance.
    The proposed rule assigns a definition to the phrase ``occupying 
permanent housing,'' as set forth in proposed Sec.  62.11(a).
    ``Supportive services'' are defined in the proposed rule as 
outreach services, as specified under proposed Sec.  62.30; case 
management services, as specified under proposed Sec.  62.31; assisting 
participants to obtain VA benefits, as specified under proposed Sec.  
62.32; assisting participants in obtaining and coordinating other 
public benefits, as specified under proposed Sec.  62.33; and other 
services, as specified under proposed Sec.  62.34. This proposed 
definition is derived from the description of supportive services 
provided in the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)).
    The proposed rule defines the term ``participant'' as those single 
veterans and veteran families who qualify for and are receiving 
supportive services from a private non-profit organization or consumer 
cooperative awarded a supportive services grant.
    The proposed rule defines the term ``homeless'' by restating the 
definition from the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(f)(3)), which gives the term 
the same ``meaning given that term in section 103 of the McKinney-Vento 
Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11302).''
Definitions That Are Included To Provide Clarity
    The terms ``applicant,'' ``emergency supplies,'' ``grantee,'' 
``Notice of Fund Availability,'' ``subcontractor,'' ``supportive 
services grant,'' and ``supportive services grant agreement'' are 
included in the proposed rule to provide clarity. The proposed 
definitions are based on a plain language understanding of those terms.
Definitions That Are Based Upon Existing VA Regulations or Statutes
    The terms ``area or community,'' ``date of completion,'' 
``disallowed costs,'' ``State,'' ``suspension,'' ``third party in-kind 
contributions,'' ``VA,'' ``veteran,'' and ``withholding'' are defined 
by VA in the Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (38 CFR 
61.1); in VA's regulations regarding uniform requirements for grants 
and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and 
other non-profit organizations (38 CFR 49.2); or the definitions in 38 
U.S.C. 101. These existing definitions are used in the proposed rule 
because they are understood by VA and its grantees, which would 
simplify the implementation of this new program.
    Some of these existing definitions would be modified for use in the 
SSVF Program. For example, ``area or community'' is broadened in the 
proposed rule to include tribal reservations, because the Act (38 
U.S.C. 2044(a)(5)) requires the equitable distribution of supportive 
services grants across geographic regions, including rural communities 
and tribal lands. To specifically acknowledge the proposed rule's 
termination and closeout provisions, the term ``date of completion'' 
includes the date that a supportive services grant is terminated.

62.10 Supportive Services Grants--General

    Under proposed Sec.  62.10, at least 90 percent of supportive 
services grant funds would need to be used by grantees to provide and 
coordinate the provision of supportive services to very low-income 
veteran families occupying permanent housing; a maximum of 10 percent 
of supportive services grant funds could be used for administrative 
costs identified in proposed Sec.  62.70(e). In accordance with the 
intent of the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044) and VA's goals for the SSVF Program, 
VA proposes that the vast majority of supportive services grant funds 
(90 percent) be used to serve very low-income veteran families 
occupying permanent housing. VA expects that 10 percent would be a 
reasonable maximum for administrative costs associated with a 
supportive services grant, and any additional funds required by 
grantees for administration should be provided by non-VA funds. This 
percentage split (90/10) is based upon VA's past experience 
administering similar programs and VA's goals for the SSVF Program.

62.11 Participants--Occupying Permanent Housing

    Proposed Sec.  62.11 provides that a very low-income veteran family 
will be considered to be occupying permanent housing, and thereby 
eligible to receive supportive services from a grantee as a participant 
subject to proposed Sec.  62.35, if such family meets the conditions of 
any one of the three categories described in proposed Sec.  
62.11(a)(1)-(3).
    Consistent with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)), proposed Sec.  
62.11(a)(1) defines the first category of very low-income families 
occupying permanent housing as ``residing in permanent housing.''
    Consistent with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(2)), proposed Sec.  
62.11(a)(2) defines the second category of families occupying permanent 
housing as being homeless and scheduled to become a resident of 
permanent housing within 90 days pending the location or development of 
housing suitable for permanent housing. Development of permanent 
housing includes, but is not limited to, the construction, 
rehabilitation or modification of permanent housing.
    Consistent with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(3)), proposed Sec.  
62.11(a)(3) defines the third category of families occupying permanent 
housing as having exited permanent housing within the previous 90 days 
and seeking other housing that is responsive to the very low-income 
veteran family's needs and preferences.
    Proposed Sec.  62.11(b) authorizes a grantee to reclassify a 
participant's classification for occupying permanent housing if the 
participant's housing changes while receiving supportive services. The 
SSVF Program is designed to ensure that very low-income veteran 
families who are transitioning (including, but not limited to, 
transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing and transitioning 
between various classifications of housing) maintain eligibility to 
receive supportive services through the SSVF Program. For example, if a 
very low-income veteran family who is homeless consistent with proposed 
Sec.  62.11(a)(2) moves into permanent housing, such family would then 
be reclassified under proposed Sec.  62.11(a)(1). By reclassifying

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the participant under proposed Sec.  62.11(a)(1), the participant would 
remain eligible to receive supportive services from a grantee, and the 
limitations to which the participant was subject when classified under 
proposed Sec.  62.11(a)(2) would no longer apply. Permitting 
participants to be reclassified if their housing changes is consistent 
with the purpose of the Act and the SSVF Program's focus on promoting 
housing stability.

62.20 Applications for Supportive Services Grants

    Proposed Sec.  62.20(a) would require applicants to submit a 
complete supportive services grant application package and identify the 
items that would be included in such supportive services grant 
application package. The items listed are derived from the Act (38 
U.S.C. 2044(c)) and the application requirements prescribed for VA's 
Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (38 CFR 61.11) and are 
designed to ensure that VA can fully evaluate the ability of applicants 
to achieve the goals of the SSVF Program.
    Proposed Sec.  62.20(b) would authorize grantees to submit an 
application for renewal of a supportive services grant if the grantee's 
program will remain substantially the same. By allowing grantees to 
submit a supportive services grant renewal application, grantees would 
be able to efficiently seek additional supportive services grant funds 
for a subsequent period, subject to the availability of VA funds, 
without a lapse in the provision of supportive services to 
participants.
    Proposed Sec.  62.60(c) would allow VA to request other information 
or documentation related to a supportive services grant application in 
the event that particular information not set forth in the supportive 
services grant application is needed for VA to fully consider the 
applicant or grantee, as applicable.

62.21 Threshold Requirements Prior to Scoring Supportive Services Grant 
Applicants

    The Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(c)(3)) requires VA to establish criteria 
for the selection of eligible entities to be provided supportive 
services grants. Proposed Sec.  62.21 contains minimum threshold 
requirements that each applicant would be required to satisfy before VA 
would score the applicant. The threshold requirements are intended to 
be an administrative checklist with which applicants would confirm 
compliance prior to submitting a supportive services grant application. 
For example, if an applicant is not an eligible entity, if the 
application is not completed in all parts, or if the applicant is in 
default by failing to meet the requirements for any previous Federal 
assistance, VA would not process the application.
    The threshold requirements in proposed Sec.  62.21 are consistent 
with the threshold requirements in VA's Homeless Providers Grant and 
Per Diem Program (38 CFR 61.12). In administering that program, VA has 
found that screening applications to identify those that do not fulfill 
the threshold requirements enables VA to devote its resources to 
evaluating qualified supportive services grant applicants.

62.22 Scoring Criteria for Supportive Services Grant Applicants

    A limited amount of funds are available for VA to distribute 
through the SSVF Program. In accordance with the Act (38 U.S.C. 
2044(c)(3)) and because the number of applicants may exceed available 
funds or VA may have more funds than qualified applicants, VA has 
established scoring criteria for awarding supportive services grants. 
Utilization of the scoring criteria would allow VA to distribute 
supportive services grants consistent with Congressional intent and 
VA's goals for the SSVF Program.
    Proposed Sec.  62.22 describes the scoring criteria that VA 
proposes to use to score applicants fulfilling the threshold 
requirements. The scoring criteria are derived from VA's experience 
with programs such as the Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program 
(38 CFR 61.13) and the Loan Guarantee for Multifamily Transitional 
Housing Program (38 U.S.C. 2051 et seq.). The proposed categories are 
weighted according to their likelihood of impacting a grantee's 
successful development and operation of a supportive services grant 
program. For example, the background, qualifications, experience, and 
past performance category is assigned the highest point value because 
applicants, and any identified subcontractors, with both experience 
implementing similar programs and strong staff qualifications would be 
most likely to develop and operate effective programs designed to meet 
the needs of very low-income veteran families and expend supportive 
services grant funds in an effective and efficient manner. In contrast, 
the area or community linkages and relations category is assigned 10 
points. VA assigns point value to this category because VA recognizes 
the importance of an applicant's past working relationships, local 
presence, and knowledge, and would reward applicants that have 
established such relationships or have such knowledge. However, VA does 
not consider this category to be as effective an indicator of program 
success as the background, qualifications, experience, and past 
performance category. This is because, if necessary, area or community 
linkages can be developed over the course of normal operations after 
the applicant is awarded a supportive services grant.
    When scoring applicants, VA proposes to award points to applicants 
who exceed the 10 percent cost sharing requirement in proposed Sec.  
62.26, as described in proposed Sec.  62.22(d)(3). The Notice of Fund 
Availability would state the maximum percentage for which the full 
amount of points for this criterion would be awarded. For example, the 
Notice of Fund Availability could state that applicants matching a 
maximum 25 percent of the supportive services grant amount would 
receive the maximum amount of points for this criterion; therefore, 
applicants matching 25 percent of the supportive services grant amount 
would receive the same amount of points for this criterion as 
applicants matching 100 percent of the supportive services grant 
amount. VA wishes to reward those applicants demonstrating a match 
higher than 10 percent of the supportive services grant amount, but VA 
also recognizes that applicants would have varying amounts of resources 
available for cash or in-kind contributions.

62.23 Selecting Applicants To Receive Supportive Services Grants

    Proposed Sec.  62.23 describes the process VA proposes using to 
select applicants for supportive services grants. This process is 
similar to the selection process VA uses in the Homeless Providers 
Grant and Per Diem Program (38 CFR 61.14), but also includes a 
preference and an equitable distribution requirement set forth in the 
Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(a)(4) and 38 U.S.C. 2044(a)(5)).
    VA would first group applicants by funding priorities, if any such 
priorities are set forth in the Notice of Fund Availability. VA would 
then score applicants using the criteria in proposed Sec.  62.22 and 
rank applicants who receive at least the minimum amount of total points 
and points per category set forth in the Notice of Fund Availability, 
within their respective funding priority group, if any. Applicants 
would be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores, within their 
respective funding priority group, if any.
    Although VA would use the applicant's ranking as the primary basis

[[Page 24518]]

for selection, in accordance with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(a)(4) and 38 
U.S.C. 2044(a)(5)), VA would: (1) Give preference to applicants that 
provide or coordinate the provision of supportive services for very 
low-income veteran families transitioning from homelessness to 
permanent housing, and (2) ensure, to the extent practicable, that the 
supportive services grants are equitably distributed across geographic 
regions, including rural communities and tribal lands. The supportive 
services grant application would require applicants to identify the 
target populations and the area or community that the applicant 
proposes to serve. VA would use this information in the selection of 
grantees to ensure VA is complying with the Act's requirements for 
distribution of supportive services grants.
    Subject to the preference and equitable distribution requirement 
described in proposed Sec.  62.23(d), VA would fund the highest-ranked 
applicants for which funding is available, within the highest funding 
priority group, if any. Under proposed Sec.  62.40, VA would be able to 
choose to include funding priorities in the Notice of Fund Availability 
in order to meet the mandates of the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044) and VA goals 
for the SSVF Program. If funding priorities have been established, to 
the extent funding is available and subject to proposed Sec.  62.23(d), 
VA would select applicants in the next highest funding priority group 
based on their rank within that group.

62.24 Scoring Criteria for Grantees Applying for Renewal of Supportive 
Services Grants

    Proposed Sec.  62.24 describes the criteria VA would use to score 
grantees applying for renewal of a supportive services grant. Utilizing 
criteria specific to renewal applications would help VA more 
appropriately evaluate grantees who are already operating programs. 
Accordingly, as described in proposed Sec.  62.24, VA would award 
points to a grantee seeking renewal based upon the grantee's program's 
success, cost-effectiveness, and compliance with VA goals and 
requirements.

62.25 Selecting Grantees for Renewal of Supportive Services Grants

    Proposed Sec.  62.25 describes the process VA proposes using to 
select grantees applying for renewal of supportive services grants. 
This is a simplified version of the process used to initially award 
supportive services grants.
    In order to be considered for renewal, proposed Sec.  62.25(a) 
requires grantees to continue to meet the threshold requirements 
applicable to applicants in proposed Sec.  62.21. VA would score 
grantees using the criteria in proposed Sec.  62.24 and rank grantees 
who receive at least the minimum amount of total points and points per 
category set forth in the Notice of Fund Availability. In accordance 
with proposed Sec.  62.25(c), VA would fund the highest-ranked grantees 
for which funding is available. The amount of supportive services grant 
funds awarded to a grantee would be dependent upon the grantee's 
request, the availability of funds, and any requirements described in 
the Notice of Fund Availability.

62.26 Cost Sharing Requirement

    Proposed Sec.  62.26 requires grantees to match a minimum of 10 
percent of the amount of VA-provided supportive services grant funds 
with cash resources or third party in-kind contributions from non-VA 
sources. This requirement is intended to demonstrate the grantee's 
commitment to the SSVF Program and ensure continuity of program 
operations and assistance to participants. After reviewing comparable 
programs' cost sharing requirements and acknowledging that grantees 
will have varying amounts of resources, VA determined that 10 percent 
would be an appropriate cost sharing requirement.

62.30 Supportive Service: Outreach Services

    Proposed Sec.  62.30 prescribes outreach services, and it is the 
first of five sections describing the types of supportive services that 
grantees would provide through the SSVF Program. Outreach is critical 
to the success of the SSVF Program. Outreach would help ensure that 
supportive services are provided to very low-income veteran families 
occupying permanent housing who are difficult to locate or serve, such 
as those very low-income veteran families who live in rural areas, who 
are not already receiving VA benefits, or who reside in permanent 
housing but are at risk of losing such housing. Working with local 
facilities and agencies would help grantees assist participants in 
obtaining benefits of which the participants may not be aware. In 
addition, contact with local groups who serve veterans would help 
grantees identify additional participants.

62.31 Supportive Service: Case Management Services

    To effectively assist participants in achieving housing stability, 
grantees would need to provide case management services. Accordingly, 
proposed Sec.  62.31 includes a listing of tasks to ensure that 
applicants, grantees, and VA share the same understanding of ``case 
management services.'' The proposed description of case management 
services is based on the definitions of case management services 
provided in other Federal programs, such as the Housing and Urban 
Development-Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, the 
Department of Housing and Urban Development's Congregate Housing 
Services Program (24 CFR 700.105), and the Department of Health and 
Human Services' Medicare and Medicaid Services Program (42 CFR 
440.169).

62.32 Supportive Service: Assistance in Obtaining VA Benefits

    Grantees would provide an additional means for VA to notify 
eligible veteran families of available VA benefits. Consequently, and 
in accordance with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)(C)), proposed Sec.  
62.32 requires grantees to assist participants to obtain any benefits 
from VA for which the participants are eligible. In light of 38 U.S.C. 
ch. 59, as implemented in 38 CFR part 14, VA does not interpret the Act 
to allow grantees to represent veterans in benefit claims before VA. 
Nor does VA interpret the Act as requiring that grantees become 
recognized organizations pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 5902 or that their 
employees or members become accredited service organization 
representatives, claims agents, or attorneys. Rather, benefit claims 
assistance by grantees may include providing information about 
available benefits and helping veterans locate a recognized veterans 
service organization or accredited individual and other services short 
of actual representation before VA, unless an individual employee or 
agent of the grantee is appropriately accredited pursuant to 38 CFR 
14.629.

62.33 Supportive Service: Assistance in Obtaining and Coordinating 
Other Public Benefits

    VA would expect grantees to maximize the number of participants who 
will be served. Grantees may be able to directly provide many necessary 
supportive services; however, in some situations it would be more 
efficient for grantees to provide a referral for participants to obtain 
services provided by another Federal, State, or local agency or an 
eligible entity in the area or community served by the grantee. 
Accordingly, and in accordance with

[[Page 24519]]

the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)(D)), proposed Sec.  62.33 requires 
grantees to assist participants to obtain, and coordinate the provision 
of, other public benefits that are being provided by Federal, State, 
local, or tribal agencies, or any eligible entity in the area or 
community served by the grantee.
    Proposed Sec.  62.33 lists each of the examples of public benefits 
set forth in the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)(D)) and includes a 
definition for each listed public benefit. Most of the proposed 
definitions are derived from existing Federal programs. The proposed 
definitions are provided to ensure that applicants and grantees share 
the same understanding as VA of what constitutes each of the listed 
public benefits.
    The Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)) broadly defines supportive services 
as those ``provided by an eligible entity or subcontractor of an 
eligible entity that address the needs of very low-income veteran 
families occupying permanent housing, including'' services specified 
under the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)(A)-(D)). The use of ``including'' 
indicates that the list of services which follows is not intended to be 
exhaustive. Hence, proposed Sec.  62.33(d)(1)-(2) and proposed Sec.  
62.33(h)(2) permit direct payments from grantees for transportation and 
child care needs. VA has defined such payments as supportive services 
necessary to address the needs of very low-income veteran families 
occupying permanent housing. VA recognizes that the availability of 
adequate transportation and child care are important for obtaining and 
maintaining employment, and, therefore, housing stability. Accordingly, 
under proposed Sec.  62.33(d), grantees are authorized to provide 
temporary transportation services to participants if the grantee 
determines such assistance is necessary. Public transportation is 
generally less expensive than maintenance of private vehicles and may 
be more sustainable by both grantees and participants on a long-term 
basis. Consequently, the preferred method of providing transportation 
services under a supportive services grant would be the provision of 
tokens, vouchers, or other appropriate instruments to participants for 
use on public transportation. However, if an applicant determines that 
public transportation options are not sufficient within the area or 
community to be served, such as in a rural community, in the 
applicant's supportive services grant application, the applicant would 
be able to include costs related to the applicant's lease of vehicle(s) 
for the purpose of providing transportation services to participants.
    Proposed Sec.  62.33(h) authorizes grantees to make payments on 
behalf of a participant to a State-licensed facility providing child 
care services. Because the grantee's payment for child care services is 
intended to be temporary, prior to making child care payments on behalf 
of a participant, under the proposed rule, the grantee must help the 
participant develop a reasonable plan to address the participant's 
future ability to pay for child care services and assist the 
participant to implement such plan. If this plan cannot reasonably be 
developed, the proposed rule provides that supportive services grant 
funds should not be expended on behalf of a participant for child care 
services and other options should be considered by the grantee and the 
participant. In accordance with the purpose of the SSVF Program, 
grantees would be limited to providing payments for child care services 
with supportive services grant funds for a maximum of 2 months in a 
calendar year. The 2-month limitation is designed to prevent child care 
services from consuming a disproportionate amount of supportive 
services grant funds. Grantees should provide participants with 
information on other available programs if long-term child care 
assistance is needed.

62.34 Other Supportive Services

    The Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)) broadly defines supportive services 
as those ``provided by an eligible entity or subcontractor of an 
eligible entity that address the needs of very low-income veteran 
families occupying permanent housing, including'' services specified 
under the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(1)(A)-(D)). The use of ``including'' 
indicates that the list of services which follows is not intended to be 
exhaustive. Hence, proposed Sec.  62.34 defines the payment of 
temporary financial assistance in certain instances as a supportive 
service that VA has determined is necessary to address the needs of 
very low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing.
    To prevent imminent homelessness or assist currently homeless very 
low-income veteran families who are scheduled to become residents of 
permanent housing within 90 days pending the location or development of 
suitable permanent housing, it may be necessary in certain 
circumstances for the grantee to assist the participant in paying 
certain expenses. Accordingly, VA proposes classifying the following as 
a supportive service: Temporary financial assistance paid directly to a 
third party on behalf of a participant for rental payments, penalties, 
or fees; utility payments; security deposits; utility deposits; moving 
costs; and emergency supplies.
    For example, repeated failure to pay rent often leads to eviction, 
leaving a veteran family to contend with homelessness in addition to 
the initial lack of needed resources. A grantee's provision of 
temporary financial assistance for rent, as provided in proposed Sec.  
62.34, may be necessary to stabilize and maintain the participant's 
occupancy in permanent housing while the participant locates other 
resources that will help achieve housing stability on a long-term 
basis. Similarly for the reasons discussed in connection with proposed 
Sec.  62.33, it may be necessary for a grantee to provide temporary 
assistance for transportation services or child care to maintain a 
participant's occupancy in permanent housing.
    Grantees would be able to provide this type of temporary financial 
assistance if the grantee can reasonably determine that the payment by 
the grantee for the item requested would help the participant remain in 
permanent housing or obtain permanent housing as scheduled; if this 
determination cannot be reached, the grantee would assist the 
participant to obtain other types of available assistance.
    Similar to the child care payments discussed above, as a condition 
of the grantee's provision of temporary financial assistance for rental 
or utility fee payments, rental or utility deposits, and moving costs, 
the proposed rule requires the grantee to help the participant develop 
and implement a plan to address the participant's future housing 
stability. This requirement would limit the expenditure of supportive 
services grant funds to situations where the outcome would be housing 
stability for the participant.
    To the extent that proposed Sec.  62.34 authorizes the provision of 
temporary financial assistance on behalf of a participant, it is 
generally on a temporary or infrequent basis. The proposed rule 
includes time restrictions for the provision of temporary financial 
assistance because the SSVF Program is not a long-term financial 
assistance program; instead, if a participant needs long-term financial 
assistance, the grantee would have a duty to connect the participant 
with other programs providing such assistance. For example, rental 
assistance is limited to 4 months during a 3-year period, and moving 
costs may only be paid once in 3 years.
    Proposed Sec.  62.34 contains additional restrictions. For example, 
with respect to temporary rental payments described in proposed Sec.  
62.34(a), rent payments would need to meet a ``rent

[[Page 24520]]

reasonableness'' standard, which is similar to the standard used by the 
Department of Housing and Urban Development in certain programs. 
Similarly, rental assistance in the form of payment of penalties or 
fees would need to be reasonable and required to be paid by the 
participant under an existing lease or court order. Further, grantees 
cannot provide temporary financial assistance on behalf of a 
participant for the same period of time and for the same cost types 
that are being provided through another Federal, State or local 
program. A restriction on the provision of ``emergency supplies'' is 
provided in the proposed rule to ensure that grantees understand that 
such assistance is intended to assist in the case of a temporary 
emergency where supplies are necessary for the participant's life or 
safety, and is not intended to permit regular or ongoing aid.
    Under proposed Sec.  62.34(f), VA may identify additional services 
in future Notices of Fund Availability, and grantees may request VA's 
approval to provide a supportive service that is not listed in the 
proposed rule or future Notices of Fund Availability.

62.35 Limitations on and Continuations of the Provision of Supportive 
Services to Certain Participants

    Proposed Sec.  62.35 discusses the provision of supportive services 
to certain categories of participants (as described in proposed 
Sec. Sec.  62.11(a)(2) and 62.11(a)(3)) and would authorize the 
continuation of supportive services to a veteran's family member(s) in 
the event of absence or death of the veteran.
    The Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(2)) authorizes the provision of 
supportive services to a participant who is ``homeless and scheduled to 
become a resident of permanent housing within 90 days pending the 
location or development of housing suitable for permanent housing.'' VA 
recognizes that a participant scheduled to move into permanent housing 
may encounter unexpected delays, such as delays relating to 
construction, housing application processing, or other circumstances 
beyond the participant's control. The proposed rule would not require a 
grantee to stop providing supportive services to a participant in the 
event the participant does not become a resident of permanent housing 
within the original 90-day period. In such instances, proposed Sec.  
62.35(a) authorizes the grantee to continue providing supportive 
services to the participant beyond the original 90-day period under 
proposed Sec.  62.11(a)(2) so long as the participant continues to meet 
the conditions of proposed Sec.  62.11(a)(2) by being homeless and 
scheduled to become a resident of permanent housing within 90 days. 
This approach is consistent with the SSVF Program's goal of assisting 
participants to achieve housing stability and the Act's (38 U.S.C. 
2044(a)(4)) requirement for VA to preference entities serving very low-
income veteran families transitioning from homelessness to permanent 
housing.
    In accordance with the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(b)(3)), proposed Sec.  
62.35(b)(1) limits the provision of supportive services to participants 
classified under proposed Sec.  62.11(a)(3) until the earlier of (a) 
the participant's commencement of other housing services adequate to 
meet the participant's needs, or (b) 90 days from the date the 
participant exits permanent housing. In accordance with the Act (38 
U.S.C. 2044(b)(3)), proposed Sec.  62.35(b)(2) requires that all 
supportive services provided to participants classified under proposed 
Sec.  62.11(a)(3) be designed to support such families in their choice 
to transition into housing that is responsive to their individual needs 
and preferences.
    Since the SSVF Program serves both veterans and their families, 
consistent with the purposes of the Act, proposed Sec.  62.35(c) 
requires grantees to establish a reasonable grace period during which a 
veteran's family member(s) may continue to receive supportive services 
if the veteran becomes absent from the household or dies. This grace 
period would allow the veteran's family member(s) to continue receiving 
supportive services for a maximum of 1 year from the date of the 
absence or death of the veteran, subject to the requirements of 
proposed Sec.  62.35(a) and (b). Participants could be harmed by the 
sudden withdrawal of supportive services at a time when the participant 
may most need such supportive services. The grace period would allow 
the grantee discretion in establishing the duration of the grace period 
because the grantee would be most familiar with the participant's 
individualized needs.
    If a participant becomes ineligible to receive supportive services 
for any of the reasons described in proposed Sec.  62.35, proposed 
Sec.  62.35(d) requires the grantee to provide the participant with 
information on other available programs or resources.

62.36 General Operation Requirements

    To ensure that grantees are expending supportive services grant 
funds on eligible participants, proposed Sec.  62.36(a) requires 
grantees to certify the eligibility of each participant for supportive 
services and classify the participant under one of the categories set 
forth in proposed Sec.  62.11(a). This certification and classification 
must occur at least once every 3 months. In addition, grantees would be 
required to maintain the confidentiality of records kept on 
participants, as required by proposed Sec.  62.36(b). Pursuant to 
proposed Sec.  62.36(c), grantees would be required to notify 
participants of satisfaction surveys at certain times in order to 
assist VA to evaluate grantees' performance and participants' 
satisfaction with the supportive services they receive. To encourage 
grantees to leverage other financial resources to ensure continuity of 
program operations and assistance to participants, proposed Sec.  
62.36(d) requires grantees to regularly assess how supportive services 
grant funds can be used in conjunction with other available funds and 
services.

62.37 Fee Prohibition

    In accordance with the intent the Act, VA proposes that all very 
low-income veteran families be eligible to receive supportive services 
under the SSVF Program, regardless of whether such very low-income 
veteran family is able to pay for such services. Accordingly, proposed 
Sec.  62.37 prohibits grantees from charging a fee to very low-income 
veteran families for providing supportive services that are funded with 
amounts from a supportive services grant or cost-sharing funds. 
However, as described in proposed Sec. Sec.  62.33(h) and 62.34, 
grantees would be permitted to require a participant to share in the 
cost of any rental or utility fee payment, rental or utility deposits, 
moving costs, or child care costs which would be paid by the grantee on 
behalf of the participant.

62.40 Notice of Fund Availability

    Similar to the existing process in VA's Homeless Providers Grant 
and Per Diem Program (38 CFR 61.60), in order to notify the public when 
funds are available for supportive services grants, in accordance with 
proposed Sec.  62.40, VA would publish a Notice of Fund Availability in 
the Federal Register identifying such items as the location for 
obtaining supportive services grant application packages; the date, 
time, and place for submitting completed supportive services grant 
applications; the estimated amount and type of funding available, such 
as the amount of funds available for initial and renewal supportive 
services grants; the length of term for supportive services grant 
payments; and other information necessary for the supportive services 
grant application process as determined

[[Page 24521]]

by VA. The Notice of Fund Availability may require applicants to submit 
evidence of financial responsibility, such as financial statements and 
an Internal Revenue Service certification, and VA would use this 
information to confirm that applicants are financially responsible to 
receive funds under the SSVF Program.
    In addition, under the proposed rule, the Notice of Fund 
Availability may include a minimum number of total points and points 
per category that an applicant or grantee, as applicable, must receive 
in order for a supportive services grant to be funded in order to 
provide a minimal baseline which applicants or grantees, as applicable, 
must meet. Under the proposed rule, VA would be able to choose to 
include funding priorities in the Notice of Fund Availability in order 
to meet the mandates of the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044) and VA goals for the 
SSVF Program. For example, VA may decide to award a certain amount of 
available supportive services grant funds to applicants in certain 
areas or communities in order to fulfill the Act's requirement to 
equitably distribute supportive services grants across geographical 
regions (38 U.S.C. 2044(a)(5)). VA may limit the amount of supportive 
services grant funds for specific supportive services in the Notice of 
Fund Availability to ensure that grantees do not expend funds in a 
manner inconsistent with VA's goals for the SSVF Program. For example, 
the Notice of Fund Availability may prohibit a grantee from using more 
than 10 percent of the supportive services grant funds for temporary 
financial assistance; this requirement would ensure that the grantee 
has sufficient funds to provide the other required supportive services. 
Whether VA continues to fund any particular grantee from one year to 
the next will depend upon the priorities announced in the Notice of 
Fund Availability. For example, VA may decide to award a certain amount 
of available supportive services grant funds to renewal applicants.
    VA would also plan to notify interested parties of the availability 
of supportive services grant funds on the appropriate VA Web site.

62.50 Supportive Services Grant Agreements

    Upon selection, proposed Sec.  62.50 requires the applicant or 
grantee, as applicable, to execute a supportive services grant 
agreement with VA confirming compliance with all requirements of the 
proposed rule and other terms and conditions required by VA. The 
supportive services grant agreement would be enforceable against the 
grantee, which would provide VA with assurance that the grantee would 
use the supportive services grant funds in the manner described in the 
supportive services grant application and in accordance with the 
requirements of the proposed rule.

62.51 Payments Under the Supportive Services Grant

    The Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(a)(3)(B)) authorizes VA to establish 
intervals of payment for the administration of supportive services 
grants and establish a maximum amount to be awarded, in accordance with 
the supportive services being provided and their duration. Proposed 
Sec.  62.51 notifies grantees that information regarding the timeframe 
and manner of payment of supportive services grants would be described 
in the Notice of Fund Availability. Including these requirements in the 
Notices of Fund Availability allows VA flexibility to determine the 
appropriate time and manner of payment of supportive services grants 
during each funding cycle.

62.60 Program or Budget Changes and Corrective Action Plans

    Proposed Sec.  62.60(a), which is derived from VA's Homeless 
Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (38 CFR 61.62), would require 
grantees to receive prior approval from VA in the form of an amendment 
to the supportive services grant agreement before any significant 
change to the grantee's program is implemented. Examples of significant 
changes would include: A change in the grantee or any subcontractors 
identified in the supportive services grant agreement, a change in the 
area or community served by the grantee, additions or deletions of 
supportive services provided by the grantee, a change in the category 
of participants to be served, and a change in budget line items that 
are more than 10 percent of the total supportive services grant award. 
The grantee would be obligated to implement the agreed upon program 
until such time, if any, that VA consents to a significant change.
    The Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(a)(7)) permits VA to require grantees to 
submit a report that describes the projects carried out using 
supportive services grant funds. Proposed Sec.  62.60(b) provides that 
if, on a quarterly basis, actual supportive services grant expenditures 
vary from the amount disbursed to a grantee for that same quarter or 
actual supportive services vary from the grantee's program description 
provided in the supportive services grant agreement, VA may require the 
grantee to submit a corrective action plan to demonstrate how the 
grantee would adjust to meet the requirements of the supportive 
services grant agreement in accordance with proposed Sec.  62.60(b). 
The corrective action plan would explain how a grantee would adjust its 
behavior in order to comply with the requirements of the supportive 
services grant agreement, and the correction may involve an amendment 
as described under proposed Sec.  62.60(a).
    The requirements in proposed Sec.  62.60 would help VA maintain 
control over the quality of the supportive services provided by 
grantees and ensure that supportive services grant funds are not 
misused.

62.61 Procedural Error

    Similar to the existing process in VA's Homeless Providers Grant 
and Per Diem Program (38 CFR 61.63), proposed Sec.  62.61 would 
authorize VA to select an applicant for available funding, based on the 
applicant's previously submitted application, if that applicant is not 
selected because of VA's procedural error. This is intended to ease the 
administrative burden on applicants and, under the proposed rule, may 
be used in situations where there is no material change in the 
application that would have resulted in the applicant's selection.

62.62 Religious Organizations

    Proposed Sec.  62.62, which describes that religious or faith-based 
organizations are eligible for supportive services grants and contains 
certain conditions on the use of supportive services grant funds as it 
relates to religious activities, is similar to the language used in the 
regulations for VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (38 
CFR 61.64). This language is included in the proposed rule because VA 
expects that religious or faith-based organizations may apply for 
supportive services grants.

62.63 Visits To Monitor Operations and Compliance

    Proposed Sec.  62.63 provides VA with the right, at all reasonable 
times, to make visits to all grantee locations where a grantee is using 
supportive services grant funds in order to review grantee 
accomplishments and management control systems and to provide such 
technical assistance as may be required. VA may also conduct 
inspections of all program locations and records of a grantee at such 
times as are deemed necessary to determine compliance with the 
provisions of this part. In the event that a grantee delivers services 
in a participant's home, or at a

[[Page 24522]]

location away from the grantee's place of business, VA may accompany 
the grantee. If the grantee's visit is to the participant's home, VA 
will only accompany the grantee with the consent of the participant. 
These provisions are critical for VA oversight over supportive services 
grants.

62.70 Financial Management and Administrative Costs

    Proposed Sec.  62.70 requires grantees to comply with applicable 
Office of Management and Budget requirements and VA's standards for 
financial management for grants and agreements with institutions of 
higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations (38 CFR 
49.21). This provision is included in the proposed rule to ensure 
grantees are aware of additional requirements with which they must 
comply.
    Proposed Sec.  62.70(e) requires that costs for administration by a 
grantee do not exceed 10 percent of the total amount of a supportive 
services grant, which, as explained above in the discussion regarding 
proposed Sec.  62.10, VA has determined to be reasonable and consistent 
with the purpose of the SSVF Program. This requirement would ensure 
that the vast majority of supportive services grant funds (90 percent) 
are used to provide supportive services to participants, which is the 
purpose of the SSVF Program.

62.71 Grantee Reporting Requirements

    The Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(a)(7)) permits VA to require grantees to 
submit a report that describes projects carried out using supportive 
services grant funds. To obtain the information VA deems necessary to 
analyze and monitor a grantee's performance, proposed Sec.  62.71 
contains reporting requirements for grantees to provide information (in 
such form as may be prescribed by VA) as VA determines necessary to 
carry out the SSVF Program. Under the proposed rule, grantees must 
report, on a quarterly basis, any instances when actual supportive 
services grant expenditures vary from the amount disbursed to a grantee 
for that same quarter or actual supportive services grant activities 
vary from the grantee's program description provided in the supportive 
services grant agreement; this information may lead VA to require a 
corrective action plan, as described under proposed Sec.  62.60(b).
    Proposed Sec.  62.71(f) requires grantees to provide VA with 
consent to post information from reports on the Internet and use such 
information in other ways deemed appropriate by VA. Under the proposed 
rule, grantees are required to clearly mark information that is 
confidential to individual participants. VA may post portions of the 
reports on the Internet so that the public has a greater understanding 
of the SSVF Program. In addition, VA may use the information for 
promotional or evaluation purposes.

62.72 Recordkeeping

    Proposed Sec.  62.72 requires grantees to keep records, and 
maintain such records for at least a 3 year period, to document 
compliance with the SSVF Program requirements. Under the proposed rule, 
grantees would need to produce these records at VA's request. This 
would assist VA in providing oversight over grantees. In addition, this 
proposed rule would help VA comply with the Act, which requires VA to 
study the effectiveness of the program. Public Law 110-387, section 
604(c).

62.73 Technical Assistance

    Under the Act (38 U.S.C. 2044(d)), proposed Sec.  62.73 explains 
that VA would provide technical assistance, as necessary, to eligible 
entities to meet the requirements of the proposed rule. The technical 
assistance may consist of activities related to the planning, 
development, and provision of supportive services to very low-income 
veteran families occupying permanent housing.
    In addition to other forms of technical assistance that would be 
provided, VA will develop a program guide to be used by applicants, 
grantees, VA staff members, and other interested third parties to 
assist with understanding and implementing the SSVF Program.

62.80 Withholding, Suspension, Deobligation, Termination, and Recovery 
of Funds By VA

    In accordance with proposed Sec.  62.80, VA may recover from 
grantees any funds that are not used in accordance with the SSVF 
Program requirements. In addition, the proposed rule provides that if a 
grantee fails to comply with these requirements, upon 7 days notice to 
the grantee, VA may withhold further payment, suspend the supportive 
services grant, or prohibit the grantee from incurring additional 
obligations of supportive services grant funds. Proposed Sec.  
62.80(c)(1)-(3) provides that VA may terminate a supportive services 
grant in whole or in part only if the grantee: (1) Materially fails to 
comply with the terms and conditions of a supportive services grant 
award or the proposed rule; (2) consents to a termination; or (3) sends 
written notification setting forth the reasons for termination, the 
effective date, and in the case of partial termination, the portion to 
be terminated. In the event VA determines a grantee's requested partial 
termination would not accomplish the purposes of the supportive 
services grant, the proposed rule would permit VA to terminate the 
supportive services grant under proposed Sec.  62.80(c)(1) or Sec.  
62.80(c)(2).
    The proposed rule provides that VA may deobligate all or a portion 
of the amounts approved for use by a grantee if, in accordance with 
proposed Sec.  62.80(d), (1) the activity for which funding was 
approved is not provided in accordance with the approved application 
and the SSVF Program requirements, (2) such amounts have not been 
expended within 1 year from the date the supportive services grant 
agreement was signed, or (3) other circumstances set forth in the 
supportive services grant agreement authorize or require such 
deobligation. Under the proposed rule, VA may advertise in a Notice of 
Fund Availability the availability of funds that have been deobligated 
or may award deobligated funds to applicants who have previously 
submitted applications in response to the most recently published 
Notice of Fund Availability.
    The requirements in proposed Sec.  62.80 would help VA ensure that 
grant funds are used appropriately. Similar requirements are used in 
VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (38 CFR 61.67) and 
VA's regulations regarding uniform requirements for grants and 
agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other 
non-profit organizations (38 CFR 49.61 and 38 CFR 49.62), and VA has 
found that they are adequate to safeguard, and maximize optimal use of, 
grant funds.

62.81 Supportive Services Grant Closeout Procedures

    Proposed Sec.  62.81 contains closeout procedures for a supportive 
services grant which are similar to the procedures established in VA's 
regulations regarding uniform requirements for grants and agreements 
with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit 
organizations (38 CFR 49.71). No later than 90 days after the date of 
completion of a supportive services grant, the proposed rule provides 
that the grantee must refund to VA any unobligated balance of 
supportive services grant funds the grantee is not authorized to retain 
and submit all financial, performance and other reports as required by 
VA to closeout the supportive services grant. VA would retain the right 
to recover appropriate

[[Page 24523]]

amounts from grantees if final audits are completed after the date of 
completion.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule includes provisions constituting collections of 
information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521) 
that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 
Accordingly, under section 3507(d) of the Act, VA has submitted a copy 
of this rulemaking to OMB for review. OMB assigns control numbers to 
collections of information it approves. Except for emergency approvals 
under 44 U.S.C. 3507(j), VA may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is 
not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it 
displays a currently valid OMB control number. The proposed rule at 
proposed Sec. Sec.  62.20, 62.36(c), 62.60, and 62.71 contains 
collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 
3501-3521). Accordingly, under section 3507(d) of the Act, VA has 
submitted a copy of this rulemaking action to OMB for its review of the 
collections of information. VA has requested OMB to approve the 
collection of information on an emergency basis by June 4, 2010. This 
date is consistent with the shortened comment period for comments on 
the proposed rule and will help avoid a delay in implementation of the 
SSVF Program. The increased services and funding provided by the SSVF 
Program are critical to both achieve VA's goal of eliminating veteran 
homelessness and meet the Congressional mandates for this program. In 
addition, because the SSVF program would also support VA's homelessness 
prevention efforts, a delay in funding disbursement may even lead to an 
increase in homelessness among very low-income veteran families. 
Therefore, the need to take action is particularly great for those 
veterans and their families who would benefit from the increased 
supportive services funded by the SSVF Program. If OMB does not approve 
the collections of information as requested, VA will immediately remove 
the provisions containing a collection of information or take such 
other action as is directed by OMB.
    Comments on the collections of information contained in this 
proposed rule should be submitted to the Office of Management and 
Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, 
with copies sent by mail or hand delivery to: The Director, Office of 
Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans 
Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave, NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; fax to 
(202) 273-9026; or through http://www.Regulations.gov. Comments should 
indicate that they are submitted in response to ``RIN 2900-AN53.''
    Because VA has requested OMB to approve the collections of 
information on an emergency basis, a comment to OMB is best assured of 
having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of 
publication.
    VA considers comments by the public on proposed collections of 
information in--
     Evaluating whether the proposed collections of information 
are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of VA, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
     Evaluating the accuracy of VA's estimate of the burden of 
the proposed collections of information, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
     Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Minimizing the burden of the collections of information on 
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting 
electronic submission of responses.
    The proposed amendments to title 38, CFR chapter I contain 
collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act for which 
we are requesting approval by OMB. These collections of information are 
described immediately following this paragraph, under their respective 
titles.
    Title: Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.
    Summary of collection of information: The proposed rule at proposed 
Sec.  62.20 contains application provisions for supportive services 
grants. The proposed rule at proposed Sec.  62.36(c) contains a 
reference to participant satisfaction surveys. The proposed rule at 
proposed Sec.  62.60 contains provisions for program or budget changes 
and submission of corrective action plans. The proposed rule at 
proposed Sec.  62.71 contains requirements for compliance reports.
    Application Provisions for SSVF Program
    Description of the need for information and proposed use of 
information: This information is needed to award supportive services 
grants to eligible entities.
    Description of likely respondents: Non-profit private organizations 
and consumer cooperatives requesting a supportive service grant.
    Estimated number of respondents per year: 100.
    Estimated frequency of responses per year: 1.
    Estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden: 3,500 
hours.
    Estimated annual burden per collection: 35 hours.

    Supportive Services Grant Renewal Applications for SSVF Program
    Description of the need for information and proposed use of 
information: This information is needed to renew supportive services 
grants previously awarded.
    Description of likely respondents: Entities who have received 
supportive services grants.
    Estimated number of respondents per year: 30.
    Estimated frequency of responses per year: 1.
    Estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden: 300 
hours.
    Estimated annual burden per collection: 10 hours.

    Participant Satisfaction Surveys
    Description of the need for information and proposed use of 
information: This information is needed for VA to evaluate grantees' 
performance and participants' satisfaction with the supportive services 
they receive.
    Description of likely respondents: Very low-income veteran families 
occupying permanent housing that are receiving supportive services from 
a grantee.
    Estimated number of respondents per year: 11,250.
    Estimated frequency of responses per year: 2.
    Estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden: 5,625 
hours.
    Estimated annual burden per collection: 15 minutes.

    Program or Budget Changes and Corrective Action Plans
    Description of the need for information and proposed use of 
information: This information is needed in order for a grantee to 
inform VA of significant changes that will alter a supportive services 
grant program approved by VA. In addition, VA may require grantees to 
initiate, develop and submit to VA for approval corrective action plans 
if, on a quarterly basis, actual supportive services grant expenditures 
vary from the amount disbursed to a grantee for that same quarter or 
actual supportive services grant activities vary from the grantee's 
program description provided in the supportive services grant 
agreement.

[[Page 24524]]

    Description of likely respondents: entities receiving supportive 
services grants who desire to change their approved supportive services 
grant program.
    Estimated number of respondents per year: 10.
    Estimated frequency of responses per year: 1.
    Estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden: 20 
hours.
    Estimated annual burden per collection: 2 hours.

    Compliance reports for SSVF Program
    Description of the need for information and proposed use of 
information: This information is needed to determine compliance with 
the requirements for a supportive services grant.
    Description of likely respondents: entities receiving supportive 
services grants.
    Estimated number of respondents per year: 30.
    Estimated frequency of responses per year: 4.
    Estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden: 270 
hours.
    Estimated annual burden per collection: 2.25 hours.

Comment Period

    Although under the rulemaking guidelines in Executive Order 12866, 
VA ordinarily provides a 60-day comment period, the Secretary has 
determined that there is good cause to limit the public comment period 
on this proposed rule to 30 days. This proposed rule is necessary to 
implement section 604 of Public Law 110-387, the Veterans' Mental 
Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008, which authorizes VA to 
award grants to eligible entities to provide and coordinate the 
supportive services described in 38 U.S.C. 2044(b) for very low-income 
veteran families occupying permanent housing. These increased services 
and funding are critical to both achieve VA's goal of eliminating 
veteran homelessness and meet the Congressional mandates for this 
program. In addition, because the SSVF program would also support VA's 
homelessness prevention efforts, a delay in funding disbursement may 
even lead to an increase in homelessness among very low-income veteran 
families. Therefore, the need to take action is particularly great for 
those veterans and their families who would benefit from the increased 
supportive services funded by the SSVF Program. Accordingly, the 
Secretary has provided a 30-day comment period for this proposed rule.

Executive Order 12866

    Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and 
benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is 
necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits 
(including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, 
and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The Executive 
Order classifies a ``significant regulatory action,'' requiring review 
by OMB unless OMB waives such a review, as any regulatory action that 
is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on 
the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect in a material 
way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or 
tribal governments or communities; (2) create a serious inconsistency 
or otherwise interfere with an action planned or taken by another 
agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, 
grants, user fees or loan programs or the rights and obligations of 
recipients thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy issues arising 
out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles 
set forth in the Executive Order.
    The economic, interagency, economic, legal, and policy implications 
of this proposed rule have been examined and it has been determined to 
be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 because 
it may result in a rule that raises novel legal or policy issues 
arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the 
principles set forth in the Executive Order.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this proposed rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 
U.S.C. 601 et seq. This proposed rule would only impact those entities 
that choose to participate in the SSVF Program. Small entity applicants 
will not be affected to a greater extent than large entity applicants. 
Small entities must elect to participate, and it is considered a 
benefit to those who choose to apply. To the extent this proposed rule 
would have any impact on small entities, it would not have an impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
605(b), this proposed rule is exempt from the initial and final 
regulatory flexibility analysis requirement of sections 603 and 604.

Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that 
agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before 
issuing any rule that may result in an expenditure by State, local, or 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 
million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This 
proposed rule would have no such effect on State, local, or tribal 
governments, or on the private sector.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program

    There is no Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program number 
and title for the program in this proposal.

Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this 
document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document 
to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as 
an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. John R. 
Gingrich, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this 
document on January 26, 2010, for publication.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 62

    Administrative practice and procedure, Day care, Disability 
benefits, Government contracts, Grant programs-health, Grant programs-
social services, Grant programs-transportation, Grant programs-
veterans, Grants-housing and community development, Health care, 
Homeless, Housing, Housing assistance payments, Indians-lands, 
Individuals with disabilities, Low and moderate income housing, 
Manpower training program, Medicare, Medicaid, Public assistance 
programs, Public housing, Relocation assistance, Rent subsidies, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, Social security, 
Supplemental security income (SSI), Travel and transportation expenses, 
Unemployment compensation, Veterans.

    Dated: April 29, 2010.
Robert C. McFetridge,
Director, Regulation Policy and Management, Office of the General 
Counsel.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, VA proposes to amend 38 CFR 
chapter I to add a new part 62 to read as follows:

PART 62--SUPPORTIVE SERVICES FOR VETERAN FAMILIES PROGRAM

Sec.

[[Page 24525]]

62.1 Purpose.
62.2 Definitions.
62.10 Supportive services grants--general.
62.11 Participants--occupying permanent housing.
62.20 Applications for supportive services grants.
62.21 Threshold requirements prior to scoring supportive services 
grant applicants.
62.22 Scoring criteria for supportive services grant applicants.
62.23 Selecting applicants to receive supportive services grants.
62.24 Scoring criteria for grantees applying for renewal of 
supportive services grants.
62.25 Selecting grantees for renewal of supportive services grants.
62.26 Cost sharing requirement.
62.30 Supportive service: outreach services.
62.31 Supportive service: case management services.
62.32 Supportive service: assistance in obtaining VA benefits.
62.33 Supportive service: assistance in obtaining and coordinating 
other public benefits.
62.34 Other supportive services.
62.35 Limitations on and continuations of the provision of 
supportive services to certain participants.
62.36 General operation requirements.
62.37 Fee prohibition.
62.40 Notice of Fund Availability.
62.50 Supportive services grant agreements.
62.51 Payments under the supportive services grant.
62.60 Program or budget changes and corrective action plans.
62.61 Procedural error.
62.62 Religious organizations.
62.63 Visits to monitor operations and compliance.
62.70 Financial management and administrative costs.
62.71 Grantee reporting requirements.
62.72 Recordkeeping.
62.73 Technical assistance.
62.80 Withholding, suspension, deobligation, termination, and 
recovery of funds by VA.
62.81 Supportive services grant closeout procedures.

    Authority:  38 U.S.C. 501, 2044, and as noted in specific 
sections


Sec.  62.1  Purpose.

    This part implements the Supportive Services for Veteran Families 
Program, which provides supportive services grants to eligible entities 
to facilitate the provision of supportive services to very low-income 
veteran families who are occupying permanent housing.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.2  Definitions.

    For purposes of this part and any Notice of Fund Availability 
issued under this part:
    Applicant means an eligible entity that submits an application for 
a supportive services grant announced in a Notice of Fund Availability.
    Area or community means a political subdivision or contiguous 
political subdivisions (such as a precinct, ward, borough, city, 
county, State, Congressional district or tribal reservation) with an 
identifiable population of very low-income veteran families.
    Consumer cooperative has the meaning given such term in section 202 
of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 1701q).
    Date of completion means the earliest of the following dates:
    (1) The date on which all required work is completed;
    (2) The date specified in the supportive services grant agreement, 
or any supplement or amendment thereto; or
    (3) The effective date of a supportive services grant termination 
under Sec.  62.80(c).
    Disallowed costs means costs charged by a grantee that VA 
determines to be unallowable based on applicable Federal cost 
principles, or based on this part or the supportive services grant 
agreement.
    Eligible entity means a:
    (1) Private non-profit organization, or
    (2) Consumer cooperative.
    Emergency supplies means items necessary for a participant's life 
or safety that are provided to the participant by a grantee on a 
temporary basis in order to address the participant's emergency 
situation.
    Grantee means an eligible entity that is awarded a supportive 
services grant under this part.
    Homeless has the meaning given that term in section 103 of the 
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11302).
    Notice of Fund Availability means a Notice of Fund Availability 
published in the Federal Register in accordance with Sec.  62.40.
    Occupying permanent housing means meeting any of the conditions set 
forth in Sec.  62.11(a).
    Participant means a very low-income veteran family occupying 
permanent housing who is receiving supportive services from a grantee.
    Permanent housing means community-based housing without a 
designated length of stay. Examples of permanent housing include, but 
are not limited to, a house or apartment with a month-to-month or 
annual lease term or home ownership.
    Private non-profit organization means any of the following:
    (1) An incorporated private institution or foundation that:
    (i) Has no part of the net earnings that inure to the benefit of 
any member, founder, contributor, or individual;
    (ii) Has a governing board that is responsible for the operation of 
the supportive services provided under this part; and
    (iii) Is approved by VA as to financial responsibility.
    (2) A for-profit limited partnership, the sole general partner of 
which is an organization meeting the requirements of paragraphs (1)(i), 
(ii) and (iii) of this definition.
    (3) A corporation wholly owned and controlled by an organization 
meeting the requirements of paragraphs (1)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this 
definition.
    (4) A tribally designated housing entity (as defined in section 4 
of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 
1996 (25 U.S.C. 4103)).
    State means any of the several States of the United States, the 
District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or 
possession of the United States, or any agency or instrumentality of a 
State exclusive of local governments. The term does not include any 
public and Indian housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 
1937.
    Subcontractor means any third party contractor, of any tier, 
working directly for an eligible entity.
    Supportive services means any of the following provided to address 
the needs of a participant:
    (1) Outreach services as specified under Sec.  62.30.
    (2) Case management services as specified under Sec.  62.31.
    (3) Assisting participants in obtaining VA benefits as specified 
under Sec.  62.32.
    (4) Assisting participants in obtaining and coordinating other 
public benefits as specified under Sec.  62.33.
    (5) Other services as specified under Sec.  62.34.
    Supportive services grant means a grant awarded under this part.
    Supportive services grant agreement means the agreement executed 
between VA and a grantee as specified under Sec.  62.50.
    Suspension means an action by VA that temporarily withdraws VA 
funding under a supportive services grant, pending corrective action by 
the grantee or pending a decision to terminate the supportive services 
grant by VA. Suspension of a supportive services grant is a separate 
action from suspension under VA regulations implementing Executive 
Orders 12549 and 12689, ``Debarment and Suspension.''
    Third party in-kind contributions means the value of non-cash 
contributions provided by non-Federal third parties. Third party in-
kind

[[Page 24526]]

contributions may be in the form of real property, equipment, supplies, 
and other expendable property, and the value of goods and services 
directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grantee's 
program.
    VA means the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    Very low-income veteran family means a veteran family whose annual 
income, as determined in accordance with 24 CFR 5.609, does not exceed 
50 percent of the median income for an area or community, as will be 
adjusted by VA based on family size and as may be adjusted and 
announced by VA in the Notice of Fund Availability based on residency 
within an area with unusually high or low construction costs, fair 
market rents (as determined under section 8 of the United States 
Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f)), or family incomes. Unless VA 
announces otherwise in the Notice of Fund Availability, the median 
income for an area or community will be determined using the income 
limits most recently published by the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development for programs under section 8 of the United States Housing 
Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f).
    Veteran means a person who served in the active military, naval, or 
air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under 
conditions other than dishonorable.
    Veteran family means a veteran who is a single person or a family 
in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, 
is a veteran.
    Withholding means that payment of a supportive services grant will 
not be paid until such time as VA determines that the grantee provides 
sufficiently adequate documentation and/or actions to correct a 
deficiency for the supportive services grant. Costs for supportive 
services provided by grantees under the supportive services grant from 
the date of the withholding letter would be reimbursed only if the 
grantee is able to submit the documentation or actions that the 
deficiency has been corrected to the satisfaction of VA.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.10  Supportive services grants--general.

    (a) VA provides supportive services grants to eligible entities as 
described in this part.
    (b) Grantees must use at least 90 percent of supportive services 
grant funds to provide and coordinate the provision of supportive 
services to very low-income veteran families who are occupying 
permanent housing.
    (c) Grantees may use up to 10 percent of supportive services grant 
funds for administrative costs identified in Sec.  62.70.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.11  Participants--occupying permanent housing.

    (a) Occupying permanent housing. A very low-income veteran family 
will be considered to be occupying permanent housing if the very low-
income veteran family:
    (1) Is residing in permanent housing;
    (2) Is homeless and scheduled to become a resident of permanent 
housing within 90 days pending the location or development of housing 
suitable for permanent housing; or
    (3) Has exited permanent housing within the previous 90 days to 
seek other housing that is responsive to the very low-income veteran 
family's needs and preferences.
    Cross Reference: For limitations on and continuations of the 
provision of supportive services to participants classified under 
paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section, see Sec.  62.35.
    (b) Changes to a participant's classification for occupying 
permanent housing. If a participant's classification for occupying 
permanent housing changes while the participant is receiving supportive 
services from a grantee, the participant may be reclassified under the 
categories set forth in paragraph (a) of this section.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.20  Applications for supportive services grants.

    (a) To apply for a supportive services grant, an applicant must 
submit to VA a complete supportive services grant application package, 
as described in the Notice of Fund Availability. A complete supportive 
services grant application package includes the following:
    (1) A description of the supportive services to be provided by the 
applicant and the identified need for such supportive services among 
very low-income veteran families;
    (2) A description of the characteristics of very low-income veteran 
families occupying permanent housing who will be provided supportive 
services by the applicant;
    (3) An estimate with supporting documentation of the number of very 
low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing who will be 
provided supportive services by the applicant and a description of the 
area or community where such very low-income veteran families are 
located;
    (4) Documentation evidencing the experience of the applicant and 
any identified subcontractors in providing supportive services to very 
low-income veteran families and very low-income families;
    (5) Documentation relating to the applicant's ability to coordinate 
with any identified subcontractors;
    (6) Documentation of the managerial capacity of the applicant to:
    (i) Coordinate the provision of supportive services with the 
provision of permanent housing by the applicant or by other 
organizations;
    (ii) Assess continuously the needs of participants for supportive 
services;
    (iii) Coordinate the provision of supportive services with services 
provided by VA;
    (iv) Customize supportive services to the needs of participants;
    (v) Continuously seek new sources of assistance to ensure the long-
term provision of supportive services to very low-income veteran 
families occupying permanent housing;
    (vi) Comply with and implement the requirements of this part 
throughout the term of the supportive services grant; and
    (7) Any additional information as deemed appropriate by VA.
    (b) Grantees may submit an application for renewal of a supportive 
services grant if the grantee's program will remain substantially the 
same. To apply for renewal of a supportive services grant, a grantee 
must submit to VA a complete supportive services grant renewal 
application package, as described in the Notice of Fund Availability.
    (c) VA may request in writing that an applicant or grantee, as 
applicable, submit other information or documentation relevant to the 
supportive services grant application.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.21  Threshold requirements prior to scoring supportive 
services grant applicants.

    VA will only score applicants that meet the following threshold 
requirements:
    (a) The application is filed within the time period established in 
the Notice of Fund Availability, and any additional information or 
documentation requested by VA under Sec.  62.20(c) is provided within 
the time frame established by VA;
    (b) The application is completed in all parts;
    (c) The applicant is an eligible entity;
    (d) The activities for which the supportive services grant is 
requested are eligible for funding under this part;
    (e) The applicant's proposed participants are eligible to receive 
supportive services under this part;

[[Page 24527]]

    (f) The applicant agrees to comply with the requirements of this 
part;
    (g) The applicant does not have an outstanding obligation to the 
Federal government that is in arrears and does not have an overdue or 
unsatisfactory response to an audit;
    (h) The applicant is not in default by failing to meet the 
requirements for any previous Federal assistance; and
    (i) The applicant provides evidence that the minimum cost sharing 
requirement is satisfied.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.22  Scoring criteria for supportive services grant applicants.

    VA will use the following criteria to score applicants who are 
applying for a supportive services grant:
    (a) VA will award up to 35 points based on the background, 
qualifications, experience, and past performance, of the applicant, and 
any subcontractors identified by the applicant in the supportive 
services grant application, as demonstrated by the following:
    (1) Background and organizational history.
    (i) Applicant's, and any identified subcontractors', background and 
organizational history are relevant to the program.
    (ii) Applicant, and any identified subcontractors, maintain 
organizational structures with clear lines of reporting and defined 
responsibilities.
    (iii) Applicant, and any identified subcontractors, have a history 
of complying with agreements and not defaulting on financial 
obligations.
    (2) Staff qualifications.
    (i) Applicant's staff, and any identified subcontractors' staff, 
have experience working with very low-income families.
    (ii) Applicant's staff, and any identified subcontractors' staff, 
have experience administering programs similar to the Supportive 
Services for Veteran Families Program.
    (3) Organizational qualifications and past performance.
    (i) Applicant, and any identified subcontractors, have 
organizational experience providing supportive services to very low-
income families.
    (ii) Applicant, and any identified subcontractors, have 
organizational experience coordinating services for very low-income 
families among multiple organizations, Federal, State, local and tribal 
governmental entities.
    (iii) Applicant, and any identified subcontractors, have 
organizational experience administering a program similar in type and 
scale to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program to very 
low-income families.
    (4) Experience working with veterans.
    (i) Applicant's staff, and any identified subcontractors' staff, 
have experience working with veterans.
    (ii) Applicant, and any identified subcontractors, have 
organizational experience providing supportive services to veterans.
    (iii) Applicant, and any identified subcontractors, have 
organizational experience coordinating services for veterans among 
multiple organizations, Federal, State, local and tribal governmental 
entities.
    (b) VA will award up to 25 points based on the applicant's program 
concept and supportive services plan, as demonstrated by the following:
    (1) Need for program.
    (i) Applicant has shown a need amongst very low-income veteran 
families occupying permanent housing in the area or community where the 
program will be based.
    (ii) Applicant understands the unique needs for supportive services 
of very low-income veteran families.
    (2) Outreach and screening plan.
    (i) Applicant has a feasible outreach and referral plan to identify 
and assist very low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing 
that may be eligible for supportive services.
    (ii) Applicant has a plan to process and receive participant 
referrals.
    (iii) Applicant has a plan to assess and accommodate the needs of 
incoming participants.
    (3) Program concept.
    (i) Applicant's program concept, size, scope, and staffing plan are 
feasible.
    (ii) Applicant's program is designed to meet the needs of very low-
income veteran families occupying permanent housing.
    (4) Program implementation timeline.
    (i) Applicant's program will be implemented in a timely manner and 
supportive services will be delivered to participants as quickly as 
possible and within a specified timeline.
    (ii) Applicant has a hiring plan in place to meet the applicant's 
program timeline or has existing staff to meet such timeline.
    (5) Collaboration and communication with VA. Applicant has a plan 
to coordinate outreach and services with local VA facilities.
    (6) Ability to meet VA's requirements, goals and objectives for the 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program. Applicant is 
committed to ensuring that its program meets VA's requirements, goals 
and objectives for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program 
as identified in this part and the Notice of Fund Availability.
    (7) Capacity to undertake program. Applicant has sufficient 
capacity, including staff resources, to undertake the program.
    (c) VA will award up to 15 points based on the applicant's quality 
assurance and evaluation plan, as demonstrated by the following:
    (1) Program evaluation.
    (i) Applicant has created clear, realistic, and measurable goals 
against which the applicant's program performance can be evaluated.
    (ii) Applicant plans to continually assess the program.
    (2) Monitoring.
    (i) Applicant has adequate controls in place to regularly monitor 
the program, including any subcontractors, for compliance with all 
applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines.
    (ii) Applicant has adequate financial and operational controls in 
place to ensure the proper use of supportive services grant funds.
    (iii) Applicant has a plan for ensuring that the applicant's staff 
and any subcontractors are appropriately trained and stays informed of 
industry trends and the requirements of this part.
    (3) Remediation. Applicant has a plan to establish a system to 
remediate non-compliant aspects of the program if and when they are 
identified.
    (4) Management and reporting. Applicant's program management team 
has the capability and a system in place to provide to VA timely and 
accurate reports at the frequency set by VA.
    (d) VA will award up to 15 points based on the applicant's 
financial capability and plan, as demonstrated by the following:
    (1) Organizational finances. Applicant, and any identified 
subcontractors, are financially stable.
    (2) Financial feasibility of program.
    (i) Applicant has a realistic plan for obtaining all funding 
required to operate the program for the time period of the supportive 
services grant.
    (ii) Applicant's program is cost-effective and can be effectively 
implemented on-budget.
    (3) Cost sharing requirement. Applicant has exceeded the minimum 
cost sharing requirement up to a certain percentage as set forth in the 
Notice of Fund Availability.
    (e) VA will award up to 10 points based on the applicant's area or 
community linkages and relations, as demonstrated by the following:
    (1) Area or community linkages. Applicant has a plan for developing 
or has existing linkages with Federal (including VA), State, local, and 
tribal government agencies, and private entities for the purposes of 
providing additional services to participants.
    (2) Past working relationships. Applicant (or applicant's staff), 
and any

[[Page 24528]]

identified subcontractors (or subcontractors' staff), have fostered 
successful working relationships and linkages with public and private 
organizations providing services to veterans or very low-income 
families in need of services similar to the supportive services.
    (3) Local presence and knowledge.
    (i) Applicant has a presence in the area or community to be served 
by the applicant.
    (ii) Applicant understands the dynamics of the area or community to 
be served by the applicant.
    (4) Integration of linkages and program concept. Applicant's 
linkages to the area or community to be served by the applicant enhance 
the effectiveness of the applicant's program.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.23  Selecting applicants to receive supportive services 
grants.

    VA will use the following process to select applicants to receive 
supportive services grants:
    (a) VA will score all applicants that meet the threshold 
requirements set forth in Sec.  62.21 using the scoring criteria set 
forth in Sec.  62.22.
    (b) VA will group applicants within the applicable funding 
priorities if funding priorities are set forth in the Notice of Fund 
Availability.
    (c) VA will rank those applicants who receive at least the minimum 
amount of total points and points per category set forth in the Notice 
of Fund Availability, within their respective funding priority group, 
if any. The applicants will be ranked in order from highest to lowest 
scores, within their respective funding priority group, if any.
    (d) VA will use the applicant's ranking as the primary basis for 
selection for funding. However, VA will also use the following 
considerations to select applicants for funding:
    (1) VA will give preference to applicants that provide or 
coordinate the provision of supportive services for very low-income 
veteran families transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing; 
and
    (2) To the extent practicable, VA will ensure that supportive 
services grants are equitably distributed across geographic regions, 
including rural communities and tribal lands.
    (e) Subject to paragraph (d) of this section, VA will fund the 
highest-ranked applicants for which funding is available, within the 
highest funding priority group, if any. If funding priorities have been 
established, to the extent funding is available and subject to 
paragraph (d) of this section, VA will select applicants in the next 
highest funding priority group based on their rank within that group.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.24  Scoring criteria for grantees applying for renewal of 
supportive services grants.

    VA will use the following criteria to score grantees applying for 
renewal of a supportive services grant:
    (a) VA will award up to 55 points based on the success of the 
grantee's program, as demonstrated by the following:
    (i) Participants made progress in achieving housing stability.
    (ii) Participants were satisfied with the supportive services 
provided by the grantee.
    (iii) The grantee implemented the program and delivered supportive 
services to participants in a timely manner.
    (b) VA will award up to 30 points based on the cost-effectiveness 
of the grantee's program, as demonstrated by the following:
    (i) The cost per participant household was reasonable.
    (ii) The grantee's program was effectively implemented on-budget.
    (c) VA will award up to 15 points based on the extent to which the 
grantee's program complies with Supportive Services for Veteran 
Families Program goals and requirements, as demonstrated by the 
following:
    (i) The grantee's program was administered in accordance with VA's 
goals for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.
    (ii) The grantee's program was administered in accordance with all 
applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines.
    (iii) The grantee's program was administered in accordance with the 
grantee's supportive services grant agreement.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.25  Selecting grantees for renewal of supportive services 
grants.

    VA will use the following process to select grantees applying for 
renewal of supportive services grants:
    (a) So long as the grantee continues to meet the threshold 
requirements set forth in Sec.  62.21, VA will score the grantee using 
the scoring criteria set forth in Sec.  62.24.
    (b) VA will rank those grantees who receive at least the minimum 
amount of total points and points per category set forth in the Notice 
of Fund Availability. The grantees will be ranked in order from highest 
to lowest scores.
    (c) VA will use the grantee's ranking as the basis for selection 
for funding. VA will fund the highest-ranked grantees for which funding 
is available.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.26  Cost sharing requirement.

    (a) The grantee must match the amount of VA-provided supportive 
services grant funds with a minimum of 10 percent of funds from non-VA 
sources. The matching funds can be in the form of either or both of the 
following:
    (1) Cash resources provided by one or more of the following: the 
grantee; the Federal government (but excluding any funds provided by 
VA); State, local and tribal governments; or private resources.
    (2) Third party in-kind contributions.
    (b) Contributions will be accepted as part of the grantee's cost 
sharing when such contributions meet the conditions of Sec.  49.23 of 
this chapter.
    (c) The grantee must ensure that any funds used to satisfy the cost 
sharing requirement of this section are eligible to be used under the 
rules governing such funds. (Use of Federal funds as a match requires 
that the agency whose funds would be so used has specific statutory 
authority allowing its funding to be used for cost sharing or 
matching.)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.30  Supportive service: outreach services.

    (a) Grantees must provide outreach services and use their best 
efforts to ensure that hard-to-reach very low-income veteran families 
occupying permanent housing are found, engaged, and provided supportive 
services.
    (b) Outreach services must include active liaison with local VA 
facilities, State, local, tribal (if any), and private agencies and 
organizations providing supportive services to very low-income veteran 
families in the area or community to be served by the grantee.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.31  Supportive service: case management services.

    Grantees must provide case management services that include, at a 
minimum:
    (a) Performing a careful assessment of participant functions and 
developing and monitoring case plans in coordination with a formal 
assessment of supportive services needed, including necessary follow-up 
activities, to ensure that the participant's needs are adequately 
addressed;
    (b) Establishing linkages with appropriate agencies and service 
providers in the area or community to help participants obtain needed 
supportive services;

[[Page 24529]]

    (c) Providing referrals to participants and related activities 
(such as scheduling appointments for participants) to help participants 
obtain needed supportive services, such as medical, social, and 
educational assistance or other supportive services to address 
participants' identified needs and goals;
    (d) Deciding how resources are allocated to participants on the 
basis of need; and
    (e) Educating participants on issues, including, but not limited 
to, supportive services availability and participant rights.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.32  Supportive service: assistance in obtaining VA benefits.

    (a) Grantees must assist participants in obtaining any benefits 
from VA for which the participants are eligible. Such benefits include, 
but are not limited to:
    (1) Vocational and rehabilitation counseling;
    (2) Employment and training service;
    (3) Educational assistance; and
    (4) Health care services.
    (b) Grantees are not permitted to represent participants before VA 
with respect to a claim for VA benefits unless they are recognized for 
that purpose pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 5902. Employees and members of 
grantees are not permitted to provide such representation unless the 
individual providing representation is accredited pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 
chapter 59.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.33  Supportive service: assistance in obtaining and 
coordinating other public benefits.

    Grantees must assist participants to obtain, and coordinate the 
provision of, other public benefits that are being provided by Federal, 
State, local, or tribal agencies, or any eligible entity in the area or 
community served by the grantee. Such public benefits may include, but 
are not limited to:
    (a) Health care services, which include:
    (1) Health insurance; and
    (2) Referral to a governmental or eligible entity that provides any 
of the following services:
    (i) Hospital care, nursing home care, out-patient care, mental 
health care, preventive care, habilitative and rehabilitative care, 
case management, respite care, and home care;
    (ii) The training of any very low-income veteran family member in 
the care of any very low-income veteran family member; and
    (iii) The provision of pharmaceuticals, supplies, equipment, 
devices, appliances, and assistive technology.
    (b) Daily living services, which may consist of the referral of a 
participant, as appropriate, to an entity that provides services 
relating to the functions or tasks for self-care usually performed in 
the normal course of a day, including, but not limited to, eating, 
bathing, grooming, dressing, and home management activities.
    (c) Personal financial planning services, which include, at a 
minimum, providing recommendations regarding day-to-day finances and 
achieving long-term budgeting and financial goals.
    (d) Transportation services.
    (1) The grantee may provide temporary transportation services to 
participants if the grantee determines such assistance is necessary; 
however, the preferred method of provision of transportation services 
is the provision of tokens, vouchers, or other appropriate instruments 
so that participants may use available public transportation options.
    (2) If public transportation options are not sufficient within an 
area or community, costs related to the lease of vehicle(s) may be 
included in a supportive services grant application if the applicant or 
grantee, as applicable, agrees that:
    (i) The vehicle(s) will be safe, accessible, and equipped to meet 
the needs of the participants;
    (ii) The vehicle(s) will be maintained in accordance with the 
manufacturer's recommendations; and
    (iii) All transportation personnel (employees and subcontractors) 
will be trained in managing any special needs of participants and 
handling emergency situations.
    (e) Income support services, which may consist of providing 
assistance in obtaining other Federal, State, tribal and local 
assistance, in the form of, but not limited to, mental health benefits, 
employment counseling, medical assistance, veterans' benefits, and 
income support assistance.
    (f) Fiduciary and representative payee services, which may consist 
of acting on behalf of a participant by receiving the participant's 
paychecks, benefits or other income, and using those funds for the 
current and foreseeable needs of the participant and saving any 
remaining funds for the participant's future use in an interest bearing 
account or saving bonds.
    (g) Legal services to assist a participant with issues that 
interfere with the participant's ability to obtain or retain permanent 
housing or supportive services.
    (h) Child care, which includes the:
    (1) Referral of a participant, as appropriate, to a State-licensed 
facility that provides child care with sufficient hours of operation 
and serves appropriate ages, as needed by the participant; and
    (2) Payment by a grantee on behalf of a participant for child care 
at a State-licensed facility.
    (i) Payments for child care services must be paid by the grantee 
directly to a State-licensed facility and cannot exceed a maximum of 2 
months in a calendar year.
    (ii) Grantees may require participants to share in the cost of 
child care as a condition of receiving payments for child care 
services.
    (iii) Payments for child care services cannot be provided on behalf 
of participants for the same period of time and for the same cost types 
that are being provided through another Federal, State or local subsidy 
program.
    (iv) As a condition of providing payments for child care services, 
the grantee must help the participant develop a reasonable plan to 
address the participant's future ability to pay for child care services 
and assist the participant to implement such plan.
    (i) Housing counseling, which includes the provision of counseling 
relating to the stabilization of a participant's residence in permanent 
housing. At a minimum, housing counseling includes providing referrals 
to appropriate local, tribal, State, and Federal resources, and 
providing counseling, education and outreach directly to participants 
on the following topics, as appropriate:
    (1) Housing search assistance, including the location of vacant 
units, the scheduling of appointments, viewing apartments, reviewing 
tenant leases, and negotiating with landlords on behalf of a 
participant;
    (2) Rental and rent subsidy programs;
    (3) Federal, State, tribal, or local assistance;
    (4) Fair housing;
    (5) Landlord tenant laws;
    (6) Lease terms;
    (7) Rent delinquency;
    (8) Resolution or prevention of mortgage delinquency, including, 
but not limited to, default and foreclosure, loss mitigation, 
budgeting, and credit; and
    (9) Home maintenance and financial management.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.34  Other supportive services.

    Grantees may provide the following services which are necessary for 
maintaining independent living in permanent housing and housing 
stability:
    (a) Rental assistance. Payment of rent, penalties or fees to help 
the participant

[[Page 24530]]

remain in permanent housing or obtain permanent housing.
    (1) A participant may receive rental assistance for a maximum of 4 
months during a 3-year period, such period beginning on the date that 
the grantee first pays rent on behalf of the participant; however, a 
participant cannot receive rental assistance for more than 2 months in 
any calendar year. The rental assistance may be for rental payments 
that are currently due or are in arrears, and for the payment of 
penalties or fees incurred by a participant and required to be paid by 
the participant under an existing lease or court order. In all 
instances, rental assistance may only be provided if the payment of 
such rental assistance will directly allow the participant to remain in 
permanent housing or obtain permanent housing.
    (2) Rental assistance must be paid by the grantee directly to the 
third party to whom rent is owed.
    (3) As a condition of providing rental assistance, the grantee must 
help the participant develop a reasonable plan to address the 
participant's future ability to pay rent and assist the participant to 
implement such plan.
    (4) The rental assistance paid by a grantee must be in compliance 
with the following ``rent reasonableness'' standard. ``Rent 
reasonableness'' means the total rent charged for a unit must be 
reasonable in relation to the rents being charged during the same time 
period for comparable units in the private unassisted market and must 
not be in excess of rents being charged by the property owner during 
the same time period for comparable non-luxury unassisted units. To 
make this determination, the grantee should consider: (i) The location, 
quality, size, type, and age of the unit; and (ii) any amenities, 
housing services, maintenance, and utilities to be provided by the 
property owner. Comparable rents can be checked by using a market 
study, by reviewing comparable units advertised for rent, or using a 
note from the property owner verifying the comparability of charged 
rents to other units owned by the property owner. Prior to providing 
rental assistance in the form of payment of penalties or fees incurred 
by a participant, the grantee must determine that such penalties or 
fees are reasonable.
    (5) With respect to shared housing arrangements, the rent charged 
for a participant must be in relation to the size of the private space 
for that participant in comparison to other private space in the shared 
unit, excluding common space. A participant may be assigned a pro rata 
portion based on the ratio derived by dividing the number of bedrooms 
in their private space by the number of bedrooms in the unit. 
Participation in shared housing arrangements must be voluntary.
    (6) Rental assistance payments cannot be provided on behalf of 
participants for the same period of time and for the same cost types 
that are being provided through another Federal, State, or local 
housing subsidy program.
    (7) Grantees may require participants to share in the cost of rent 
as a condition of receiving rental assistance.
    (b) Utility-fee payment assistance. Payment of utility fees to help 
the participant to remain in permanent housing or obtain permanent 
housing.
    (1) A participant may receive payments for utilities for a maximum 
of 4 months during a 3-year period, such period beginning on the date 
that the grantee first pays utility fees on behalf of the participant; 
provided, however, that a participant cannot receive payments for 
utilities for more than 2 months in any calendar year. The payment for 
utilities may be for utility payments that are currently due or are in 
arrears, provided that the payment of such utilities will allow the 
participant to remain in permanent housing or obtain permanent housing.
    (2) Payments for utilities must be paid by the grantee directly to 
a utility company. Payments for utilities only will be available if a 
participant, a legal representative of the participant, or a member of 
his/her household, has an account in his/her name with a utility 
company or proof of responsibility to make utility payments, such as 
cancelled checks or receipts in his/her name from a utility company.
    (3) As a condition of providing payments for utilities, the grantee 
must help the participant develop a reasonable plan to address the 
participant's future ability to pay utility payments and assist the 
participant to implement such plan.
    (4) Payments for utilities cannot be provided on behalf of 
participants for the same period of time and for the same cost types 
that are being provided through another Federal, State, or local 
program.
    (5) Grantees may require participants to share in the cost of 
utility payments as a condition of receiving payments for utilities.
    (c) Deposits. Payment of security deposits or utility deposits to 
help the participant remain in permanent housing or obtain permanent 
housing.
    (1) A participant may receive assistance with the payment of a 
security deposit a maximum of one time in every 3-year period, such 
period beginning on the date the grantee pays a security deposit on 
behalf of a participant.
    (2) A participant may receive assistance with the payment of a 
utility deposit a maximum of one time in every 3-year period, such 
period beginning on the date the grantee pays a utility deposit on 
behalf of a participant.
    (3) Any security deposit or utility deposit must be paid by the 
grantee directly to the third party to whom the security deposit or 
utility deposit is owed. The payment of such deposit must allow the 
participant to remain in the participant's existing permanent housing 
or help the participant to obtain and remain in permanent housing 
selected by the participant.
    (4) As a condition of providing a security deposit payment or a 
utility deposit payment, the grantee must help the participant develop 
a reasonable plan to address the participant's future housing stability 
and assist the participant to implement such plan.
    (5) Security deposits and utility deposits covering the same period 
of time in which assistance is being provided through another housing 
subsidy program are eligible, as long as they cover separate cost 
types.
    (6) Grantees may require participants to share in the cost of the 
security deposit or utility deposit as a condition of receiving 
assistance with such deposit.
    (d) Moving costs. Payment of moving costs to help the participant 
to obtain permanent housing.
    (1) A participant may receive assistance with moving costs a 
maximum of one time in every 3-year period, such period beginning on 
the date the grantee pays moving costs on behalf of a participant.
    (2) Moving costs assistance must be paid by the grantee directly to 
a third party. Moving costs assistance includes reasonable moving 
costs, such as truck rental, hiring a moving company, or short-term 
storage fees for a maximum of 3 months or until the participant is in 
permanent housing, whichever is shorter.
    (3) As a condition of providing moving costs assistance, the 
grantee must help the participant develop a reasonable plan to address 
the participant's future housing stability and assist the participant 
to implement such plan.
    (4) Moving costs assistance payments cannot be provided on behalf 
of participants for the same period of time and for the same cost types 
that are being provided through another Federal, State, or local 
program.

[[Page 24531]]

    (5) Grantees may require participants to share in the cost of 
moving as a condition of receiving assistance with moving costs.
    (e) Purchase of emergency supplies for a participant.
    (1) A grantee may purchase emergency supplies for a participant on 
a temporary basis.
    (2) The costs of the emergency supplies must be paid by the grantee 
directly to a third party.
    (f) Other. Other services as set forth in the Notice of Fund 
Availability or as approved by VA that are consistent with the 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program. Applicants may 
propose additional services in their supportive services grant 
application, and grantees may propose additional services by submitting 
a written request to modify the supportive services grant in accordance 
with Sec.  62.60.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.35  Limitations on and continuations of the provision of 
supportive services to certain participants.

    (a) Continuation of the provision of supportive services to a 
participant classified under Sec.  62.11(a)(2). If a participant 
classified under Sec.  62.11(a)(2) does not become a resident of 
permanent housing within the originally scheduled 90-day period, the 
grantee may continue to provide supportive services to a participant 
classified under Sec.  62.11(a)(2) for such time that the participant 
continues to meet the requirements of Sec.  62.11(a)(2).
    (b) Limitations on the provision of supportive services to 
participants classified under Sec.  62.11(a)(3).
    (1) A grantee may provide supportive services to a participant 
classified under Sec.  62.11(a)(3) until the earlier of the following 
dates:
    (i) The participant commences receipt of other housing services 
adequate to meet the participant's needs; or
    (ii) Ninety days from the date the participant exits permanent 
housing.
    (2) Supportive services provided to participants classified under 
Sec.  62.11(a)(3) must be designed to support the participants in their 
choice to transition into housing that is responsive to their 
individual needs and preferences.
    (c) Continuation of supportive services to veteran family 
member(s). If a veteran becomes absent from a household or dies while 
other members of the veteran family are receiving supportive services, 
then such supportive services must continue for a grace period 
following the absence or death of the veteran. The grantee must 
establish a reasonable grace period for continued participation by the 
veteran's family member(s), but that period may not exceed 1 year from 
the date of absence or death of the veteran, subject to the 
requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section. The grantee 
must notify the veteran's family member(s) of the duration of the grace 
period.
    (d) Referral for other assistance. If a participant becomes 
ineligible to receive supportive services under this section, the 
grantee must provide the participant with information on other 
available programs or resources.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.36  General operation requirements.

    (a) Eligibility documentation. Grantees must verify and document 
each participant's eligibility for supportive services and classify the 
participant under one of the categories set forth in Sec.  62.11(a). 
Grantees must certify the eligibility and classification of each 
participant at least once every 3 months.
    (b) Confidentiality. Grantees must maintain the confidentiality of 
records kept on participants. Grantees that provide family violence 
prevention or treatment services must establish and implement 
procedures to ensure the confidentiality of:
    (1) Records pertaining to any individual provided services, and
    (2) The address or location where the services are provided.
    (c) Notifications to participants.
    (1) Prior to initially providing supportive services to a 
participant, the grantee must notify each participant that the 
supportive services are being paid for, in whole or in part, by VA.
    (2) The grantee must provide each participant with a satisfaction 
survey which can be submitted by the participant directly to VA, within 
45 to 60 days of the participant's entry into the grantee's program and 
again within 30 days of such participant's pending exit from the 
grantee's program.
    (d) Assessment of funds. Grantees must regularly assess how 
supportive services grant funds can be used in conjunction with other 
available funds and services to assist participants.
    (e) Administration of supportive services grants. Grantees must 
ensure that supportive services grants are administered in accordance 
with the requirements of this part, the supportive services grant 
agreement, and other applicable laws and regulations. Grantees are 
responsible for ensuring that any subcontractors carry out activities 
in compliance with this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.37  Fee prohibition.

    Grantees must not charge a fee to very low-income veteran families 
for providing supportive services that are funded with amounts from a 
supportive services grant or cost-sharing funds under Sec.  62.26.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.40  Notice of Fund Availability.

    When funds are available for supportive services grants, VA will 
publish a Notice of Fund Availability in the Federal Register. The 
notice will identify:
    (a) The location for obtaining supportive services grant 
applications;
    (b) The date, time, and place for submitting completed supportive 
services grant applications;
    (c) The estimated amount and type of supportive services grant 
funding available;
    (d) Any priorities for or exclusions from funding to meet the 
statutory mandates of 38 U.S.C. 2044 and VA goals for the Supportive 
Services for Veteran Families Program;
    (e) The length of term for the supportive services grant award;
    (f) The minimum number of total points and points per category that 
an applicant or grantee, as applicable, must receive in order for a 
supportive services grant to be funded;
    (g) Any maximum uses of supportive services grant funds for 
specific supportive services;
    (h) The timeframes and manner for payments under the supportive 
services grant; and
    (i) Other information necessary for the supportive services grant 
application process as determined by VA.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.50  Supportive services grant agreements.

    (a) After an applicant is selected for a supportive services grant 
in accordance with Sec.  62.23, VA will draft a supportive services 
grant agreement to be executed by VA and the applicant. Upon execution 
of the supportive services grant agreement, VA will obligate supportive 
services grant funds to cover the amount of the approved supportive 
services grant, subject to the availability of funding. The supportive 
services grant agreement will provide that the grantee agrees, and will 
ensure that each subcontractor agrees, to:
    (1) Operate the program in accordance with the provisions of this 
part and the applicant's supportive services grant application;
    (2) Comply with such other terms and conditions, including 
recordkeeping

[[Page 24532]]

and reports for program monitoring and evaluation purposes, as VA may 
establish for purposes of carrying out the Supportive Services for 
Veteran Families Program, in an effective and efficient manner; and
    (3) Provide such additional information as deemed appropriate by 
VA.
    (b) After a grantee is selected for renewal of a supportive 
services grant in accordance with Sec.  62.25, VA will draft a 
supportive services grant agreement to be executed by VA and the 
grantee. Upon execution of the supportive services grant agreement, VA 
will obligate supportive services grant funds to cover the amount of 
the approved supportive services grant, subject to the availability of 
funding. The supportive services grant agreement will contain the same 
provisions described in paragraph (a) of this section.
    (c) No funds provided under this part may be used to replace 
Federal, State, tribal, or local funds previously used, or designated 
for use, to assist very low-income veteran families.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.51  Payments under the supportive services grant.

    Grantees are to be paid in accordance with the timeframes and 
manner set forth in the Notice of Fund Availability.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.60  Program or budget changes and corrective action plans.

    (a) A grantee must submit to VA a written request to modify a 
supportive services grant for any proposed significant change that will 
alter the supportive services grant program. If VA approves such 
change, VA will issue a written amendment to the supportive services 
grant agreement. A grantee must receive VA's approval prior to 
implementing a significant change. Significant changes include, but are 
not limited to, a change in the grantee or any subcontractors 
identified in the supportive services grant agreement; a change in the 
area or community served by the grantee; additions or deletions of 
supportive services provided by the grantee; a change in category of 
participants to be served; and a change in budget line items that are 
more than 10 percent of the total supportive services grant award.
    (1) VA's approval of changes is contingent upon the grantee's 
amended application retaining a high enough rank to have been 
competitively selected for funding in the year that the application was 
granted.
    (2) Each supportive services grant modification request must 
contain a description of the revised proposed use of supportive 
services grant funds.
    (b) VA may require that the grantee initiate, develop and submit to 
VA for approval a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) if, on a quarterly 
basis, actual supportive services grant expenditures vary from the 
amount disbursed to a grantee for that same quarter, or actual 
supportive services grant activities vary from the grantee's program 
description provided in the supportive services grant agreement.
    (1) The CAP must identify the expenditure or activity source that 
has caused the deviation, describe the reason(s) for the variance, 
provide specific proposed corrective action(s), and provide a timetable 
for accomplishment of the corrective action.
    (2) After receipt of the CAP, VA will send a letter to the grantee 
indicating that the CAP is approved or disapproved. If disapproved, VA 
will make beneficial suggestions to improve the proposed CAP and 
request resubmission, or take other actions in accordance with this 
part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.61  Procedural error.

    If an applicant would have been selected but for a procedural error 
committed by VA, VA may select that applicant for funding when 
sufficient funds become available if there is no material change in the 
information that would have resulted in the applicant's selection. A 
new application will not be required for this purpose.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.62  Religious organizations.

    (a) Organizations that are religious or faith-based are eligible, 
on the same basis as any other organization, to participate in the 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program under this part. In 
the selection of applicants, the Federal government will not 
discriminate for or against an organization on the basis of the 
organization's religious character or affiliation.
    (b)(1) No organization may use direct financial assistance from VA 
under this part to pay for any of the following:
    (i) Inherently religious activities, such as religious worship, 
instruction, or proselytization; or
    (ii) Equipment or supplies to be used for any of those activities.
    (2) For purposes of this section, ``indirect financial assistance'' 
means Federal assistance in which a service provider receives program 
funds through a voucher, certificate, agreement, or other form of 
disbursement, as a result of the independent and private choices of 
individual beneficiaries. ``Direct financial assistance'' means Federal 
aid in the form of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement where 
the independent choices of individual beneficiaries do not determine 
which organizations receive program funds.
    (c) Organizations that engage in inherently religious activities, 
such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization, must offer 
those services separately in time or location from any programs or 
services funded with direct financial assistance from VA under this 
part, and participation in any of the organization's inherently 
religious activities must be voluntary for the beneficiaries of a 
program or service funded by direct financial assistance from VA under 
this part.
    (d) A religious organization that participates in the Supportive 
Services for Veteran Families Program under this part will retain its 
independence from Federal, State, or local governments and may continue 
to carry out its mission, including the definition, practice, and 
expression of its religious beliefs, provided that it does not use 
direct financial assistance from VA under this part to support any 
inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious 
instruction, or proselytization. Among other things, faith-based 
organizations may use space in their facilities to provide VA-funded 
services under this part, without removing religious art, icons, 
scripture, or other religious symbols. In addition, a VA-funded 
religious organization retains its authority over its internal 
government, and it may retain religious terms in its organization's 
name, select its board members and otherwise govern itself on a 
religious basis, and include religious reference in its organization's 
mission statement and other governing documents.
    (e) An organization that participates in a VA program under this 
part must not, in providing direct program assistance, discriminate 
against a program beneficiary or a prospective program beneficiary 
regarding supportive services, financial assistance, or technical 
assistance, on the basis of religion or religious belief.
    (f) If a State or local government voluntarily contributes its own 
funds to supplement federally funded activities, the State or local 
government has the option to segregate the Federal funds or commingle 
them. However, if the funds are commingled, this provision applies to 
all of the commingled funds.

[[Page 24533]]

    (g) To the extent otherwise permitted by Federal law, the 
restrictions on inherently religious activities set forth in this 
section do not apply where VA funds are provided to religious 
organizations through indirect assistance as a result of a genuine and 
independent private choice of a beneficiary, provided the religious 
organizations otherwise satisfy the requirements of this part. A 
religious organization may receive such funds as the result of a 
beneficiary's genuine and independent choice if, for example, a 
beneficiary redeems a voucher, coupon, or certificate, allowing the 
beneficiary to direct where funds are to be paid, or a similar funding 
mechanism provided to that beneficiary and designed to give that 
beneficiary a choice among providers.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.63  Visits to monitor operations and compliance.

    (a) VA has the right, at all reasonable times, to make visits to 
all grantee locations where a grantee is using supportive services 
grant funds in order to review grantee accomplishments and management 
control systems and to provide such technical assistance as may be 
required. VA may conduct inspections of all program locations and 
records of a grantee at such times as are deemed necessary to determine 
compliance with the provisions of this part. In the event that a 
grantee delivers services in a participant's home, or at a location 
away from the grantee's place of business, VA may accompany the 
grantee. If the grantee's visit is to the participant's home, VA will 
only accompany the grantee with the consent of the participant. If any 
visit is made by VA on the premises of the grantee or a subcontractor 
under the supportive services grant, the grantee must provide, and must 
require its subcontractors to provide, all reasonable facilities and 
assistance for the safety and convenience of the VA representatives in 
the performance of their duties. All visits and evaluations will be 
performed in such a manner as will not unduly delay services.
    (b) The authority to inspect carries with it no authority over the 
management or control of any applicant or grantee under this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.70  Financial management and administrative costs.

    (a) All grantees must comply with applicable requirements of the 
Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501-7507) and revised 
OMB Circular A-133, ``Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-
Profit Organizations,'' codified by VA at 38 CFR part 41.
    (b) All grantees must use an adequate financial management system 
that follows generally accepted accounting principles and provides 
adequate fiscal control and accounting records, including cost 
accounting records that are supported by documentation. Such cost 
accounting must be reflected in the grantee's fiscal cycle financial 
statements to the extent that the actual costs can be determined for 
the program for which assistance is provided. Grantees must meet the 
applicable requirements of the appropriate OMB Circular for Cost-
Principles.
    (c) Grantees' financial management systems must comply with the 
requirements of Sec.  49.21 of this part.
    (d) Payment up to the amount specified in the supportive services 
grant must be made only for allowable, allocable, and reasonable costs 
in conducting the work under the supportive services grant. The 
determination of allowable costs must be made in accordance with the 
applicable Federal Cost Principles set forth in OMB Circular A-122, 
Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations, codified at 2 CFR part 
235.
    (e) Costs for administration by a grantee must not exceed 10 
percent of the total amount of the supportive services grant. 
Administrative costs will consist of all direct and indirect costs 
associated with the management of the program. These costs will include 
the administrative costs, both direct and indirect, of subcontractors. 
For the purposes of the supportive services grant, all indirect costs 
are considered administrative costs, and, therefore, will not exceed 10 
percent of the total supportive services grant.
    (f) If indirect charges are claimed in the applicant's proposed 
budget, the applicant must provide on a separate sheet the following 
information:
    (1) Name and address of the cognizant government audit agency (the 
agency that is providing the most Federal funds);
    (2) Name, address, and phone number of the government auditor;
    (3) Documentation from the cognizant agency indicating:
    (i) Indirect cost rate and the base against which the rate should 
be applied;
    (ii) Effective period (dates) for the rate; and
    (iii) Date that the last rate was computed and negotiated.
    (g) If no government audit agency computed and authorized the rate 
claimed, applicant must provide a brief explanation of computation, who 
computed it, and the date. If the applicant is awarded a supportive 
services grant, the proposed indirect rate must be submitted to a 
Federal audit agency within 90 days of award for approval.
    (h) Grantees are subject to the Uniform Administrative Requirements 
for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, 
Hospitals and other Non-Profit Organizations, codified at 38 CFR part 
49.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.71  Grantee reporting requirements.

    (a) VA may require grantees to provide, in such form as may be 
prescribed, such reports or answers in writing to specific questions, 
surveys, or questionnaires as VA determines necessary to carry out the 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.
    (b) If, on a quarterly basis, actual supportive services grant 
expenditures vary from the amount disbursed to a grantee for that same 
quarter or actual supportive services grant activities vary from the 
grantee's program description provided in the supportive services grant 
agreement, grantees must report the deviation to VA.
    (c) At least once per year, or at the frequency set by VA, each 
grantee must submit to VA a report containing information relating to 
operational effectiveness, fiscal responsibility, supportive services 
grant agreement compliance, and legal and regulatory compliance, 
including a description of the use of supportive services grant funds, 
the number of participants assisted, the types of supportive services 
provided, and any other information that VA may request.
    (d) Grantees must relate financial data to performance data and 
develop unit cost information whenever practical.
    (e) All pages of the reports must cite the assigned supportive 
services grant number and be submitted in a timely manner.
    (f) Grantees must provide VA with consent to post information from 
reports on the Internet and use such information in other ways deemed 
appropriate by VA. Grantees shall clearly mark information that is 
confidential to individual participants.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.72  Recordkeeping.

    Grantees must ensure that records are maintained for at least a 3 
year period to document compliance with this part. Grantees must 
produce such records at VA's request.

[[Page 24534]]


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.73  Technical assistance.

    VA will provide technical assistance, as necessary, to eligible 
entities to meet the requirements of this part. Such technical 
assistance will be provided either directly by VA or through grants or 
contracts with appropriate public or non-profit private entities.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044, 2064)

Sec.  62.80  Withholding, suspension, deobligation, termination, and 
recovery of funds by VA.

    (a) Recovery of funds. VA will recover from the grantee any 
supportive services grant funds that are not used in accordance with 
the requirements of this part. VA will issue to the grantee a notice of 
intent to recover supportive services grant funds. The grantee will 
then have 30 days to submit documentation demonstrating why the 
supportive services grant funds should not be recovered. After review 
of all submitted documentation, VA will determine whether action will 
be taken to recover the supportive services grant funds.
    (b) VA actions when grantee fails to comply. When a grantee fails 
to comply with the terms, conditions, or standards of the supportive 
services grant, VA may, on 7-days notice to the grantee, withhold 
further payment, suspend the supportive services grant, or prohibit the 
grantee from incurring additional obligations of supportive services 
grant funds, pending corrective action by the grantee or a decision to 
terminate in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. VA will 
allow all necessary and proper costs that the grantee could not 
reasonably avoid during a period of suspension if such costs meet the 
provisions of the applicable Federal Cost Principles.
    (c) Termination. Supportive services grants may be terminated in 
whole or in part only if paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), or (c)(3) of this 
section apply.
    (1) By VA, if a grantee materially fails to comply with the terms 
and conditions of a supportive services grant award and this part.
    (2) By VA with the consent of the grantee, in which case VA and the 
grantee will agree upon the termination conditions, including the 
effective date and, in the case of partial termination, the portion to 
be terminated.
    (3) By the grantee upon sending to VA written notification setting 
forth the reasons for such termination, the effective date, and, in the 
case of partial termination, the portion to be terminated. However, if 
VA determines in the case of partial termination that the reduced or 
modified portion of the supportive services grant will not accomplish 
the purposes for which the supportive services grant was made, VA may 
terminate the supportive services grant in its entirety under either 
paragraphs (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this section.
    (d) Deobligation of funds. (1) VA may deobligate all or a portion 
of the amounts approved for use by a grantee if:
    (i) The activity for which funding was approved is not provided in 
accordance with the approved application and the requirements of this 
part;
    (ii) Such amounts have not been expended within a 1-year period 
from the date of the signing of the supportive services grant 
agreement;
    (iii) Other circumstances set forth in the supportive services 
grant agreement authorize or require deobligation.
    (2) At its discretion, VA may re-advertise in a Notice of Fund 
Availability the availability of funds that have been deobligated under 
this section or award deobligated funds to applicants who previously 
submitted applications in response to the most recently published 
Notice of Fund Availability.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)

Sec.  62.81  Supportive services grant closeout procedures.

    Supportive services grants will be closed out in accordance with 
the following procedures upon the date of completion:
    (a) No later than 90 days after the date of completion, the grantee 
must refund to VA any unobligated (unencumbered) balance of supportive 
services grant funds that are not authorized by VA to be retained by 
the grantee.
    (b) No later than 90 days after the date of completion, the grantee 
must submit all financial, performance and other reports required by VA 
to closeout the supportive services grant. VA may authorize extensions 
when requested by the grantee.
    (c) If a final audit has not been completed prior to the date of 
completion, VA retains the right to recover an appropriate amount after 
considering the recommendations on disallowed costs once the final 
audit has been completed.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 2044)


[FR Doc. 2010-10372 Filed 5-4-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P