[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 231 (Thursday, December 1, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74849-74852]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-30778]



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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Fund Availability Under the Supportive Services for Veteran 
Families Program

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing the 
availability of funds for supportive services grants under the 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program. This Notice 
contains information concerning the SSVF Program, initial and renewal 
supportive services grant application processes, and amount of funding 
available.

DATES: Applications for initial and renewal supportive services grants 
under the SSVF Program must be received by the SSVF Program Office by 4 
p.m. Eastern Time on February 15, 2012. In the interest of fairness to 
all competing applicants, this deadline is firm as to date and hour, 
and VA will treat as ineligible for consideration any application that 
is received after the deadline. Applicants should take this practice 
into account and make early submission of their materials to avoid any 
risk of loss of eligibility brought about by unanticipated delays, 
computer service outages, or other delivery-related problems.
    For a Copy of the Application Packages: Download directly from the 
SSVF Program web page at: http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/SSVF.asp. 
Questions should be referred to the SSVF Program Office via phone at 
(877) 737-0111 (this is a toll-free number) or via email at 
SSVF@va.gov. For detailed SSVF Program information and requirements, 
see the Final Rule published in the Federal Register (75 FR 68975) on 
November 10, 2010 (Final Rule), which is codified in 38 CFR Part 62.
    Submission of Applications: Five completed, collated, hard copies 
of the application and two compact discs (CDs) containing electronic 
versions of the entire application are required. Each application copy 
must be (i) fastened with a binder clip; (ii) contain tabs listing the 
major sections of and exhibits to the application; and, (iii) placed in 
a separate manila folder labeled with the applicant's name. Each CD 
must be labeled with the applicant's name and must contain an 
electronic copy of the entire application. The Excel budget template 
must be attached in Excel format on the CD, but all other application 
materials may be attached in a PDF or other format. The application 
copies and CDs must be submitted to the following address: Supportive 
Services for Veteran Families Program Office, National Center on 
Homelessness Among Veterans, 4100 Chester Avenue, Suite 201, 
Philadelphia, PA 19104. This requirement for submission of five hard 
copies and two CDs also applies to applicants who submit via 
Grants.gov. Applications may not be sent by facsimile (FAX). 
Applications must be received in the SSVF Program Office by the 
application deadline. Applications must arrive as a complete package. 
Materials arriving separately will not be included in the application 
package for consideration and may result in the application being 
rejected. To encourage the equitable distribution of supportive 
services grants across geographic regions, in accordance with Sec.  
62.23(d)(2) of the Final Rule, an eligible entity may apply for a total 
of $1 million per year in grant funding per state. See Section E of 
this Notice for maximum allowable grant amounts.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Kuhn, Supportive Services for 
Veteran Families Program Office, National Center on Homelessness Among 
Veterans, 4100 Chester Avenue, Suite 201, Philadelphia, PA 19104; 
((877) 737-0111 (this is a toll-free number); SSVF@va.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This Notice announces the availability of 
funds for supportive services grants under the SSVF Program and 
pertains to proposals for initial and renewal supportive services grant 
programs. Please refer to the Final Rule, published in the Federal 
Register (75 FR 68975) on November 10, 2010, which is codified in 38 
CFR Part 62, for detailed SSVF Program information and requirements.
     Purpose: The SSVF Program's purpose is to provide 
supportive services grants to private non-profit organizations and 
consumer cooperatives who will coordinate or provide 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 within a specified time period, are seeking 
other housing that is responsive to such very low-income veteran 
family's needs and preferences.
     Definitions: Sections 62.2 and 62.11(a) of the Final Rule 
contain definitions of terms used in the SSVF Program. Definitions of 
key terms are also provided below for reference; however, the Final 
Rule should be consulted for all definitions.
    Consumer cooperative has the meaning given such term in section 202 
of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 1701q).
    Eligible entity means a: (1) Private non-profit organization, or 
(2) consumer cooperative.
    Homeless has the meaning given that term in section 103 of the 
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11302).
    Occupying permanent housing means meeting any of the conditions set 
forth in Sec.  62.11(a) of the Final Rule. Note: In accordance with 
Sec.  62.11(a) of the Final Rule, 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. For limitations on and 
continuations of the provision of supportive services to participants 
classified under categories (2) and (3), see Sec.  62.35 of the Final 
Rule.
    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)).

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    Supportive services means any of the following provided to address 
the needs of a participant:
    (1) Outreach services as specified under Sec.  62.30 of the Final 
Rule;
    (2) Case management services as specified under Sec.  62.31 of the 
Final Rule;
    (3) Assisting participants in obtaining VA benefits as specified 
under Sec.  62.32 of the Final Rule;
    (4) Assisting participants in obtaining and coordinating other 
public benefits as specified under Sec.  62.33 of the Final Rule; and
    (5) Other services as specified under Sec.  62.34 of the Final 
Rule.
    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. 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 (HUD) for programs under section 8 of the United States 
Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f) (http://www.huduser.org).
    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.
     Approach: Grantees will be expected to leverage supportive 
services grant funds to enhance the housing stability of very low-
income veteran families who are occupying permanent housing. In doing 
so, grantees are encouraged to establish relationships with the local 
community's Continuum of Care. (HUD defines a Continuum of Care as, ``a 
community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the 
specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable 
housing and maximize self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end 
homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.'') The aim of the 
provision of supportive services is to assist very low-income veteran 
families residing in permanent housing to remain stably housed and to 
rapidly transition to stable housing (i) very low-income veteran 
families who are homeless and scheduled to become residents of 
permanent housing within 90 days, including those leaving VA's Homeless 
Providers Grant and Per Diem projects and (ii) very low-income veteran 
families who have exited permanent housing within the previous 90 days 
to seek other housing that is responsive to their needs and 
preferences. Accordingly, VA encourages eligible entities skilled in 
facilitating housing stability and currently operating rapid re-housing 
programs (i.e., administering HUD's Homelessness Prevention and Rapid 
Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funds or other comparable Federal or 
community resources) to apply for supportive services grants. The SSVF 
Program is not intended to provide long-term support for participants, 
nor will it be able to address all of the financial and supportive 
services needs of participants that affect housing stability. Rather, 
when participants require long-term support, grantees should focus on 
connecting such participants to mainstream Federal and community 
resources (e.g., HUD-VA Supported Housing (VASH) program, HUD Housing 
Choice Voucher programs, McKinney-Vento funded supportive housing 
programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), etc.) that 
can provide ongoing support as required.
     Authority: Funding applied for under this Notice is 
authorized by 38 U.S.C. 2044 as amended by the Veterans' Health Care 
Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011, Public Law 112-37, Sec.  
12. The SSVF Program is implemented by the Final Rule codified at 38 
CFR part 62. The regulations can be found in 38 CFR 62.1 through 62.81. 
Funds made available under this Notice are subject to the requirements 
of the aforementioned regulations and other applicable laws and 
regulations.
     Allocation: Approximately $100 million is available for 
initial and renewal supportive services grants to be funded under this 
Notice for a 1-year period. The following requirements apply to 
supportive services grants awarded under this Notice:
    1. Each grant cannot exceed $1 million per year.
    2. The total amount of supportive services grant funds awarded to a 
grantee (via one or multiple awards) cannot exceed $1 million per state 
per year.
    3. The total amount of supportive services grant funds awarded to a 
grantee (via multiple awards) cannot exceed $3 million nationwide per 
year.
     Supportive Services Grant Award Period: All supportive 
services grants awarded under this Notice will be for a 1-year period.
     Requirements for the Use of Supportive Services Grant 
Funds: The grantee's request for funding must be consistent with the 
limitations and uses of supportive services grant funds set forth in 
the Final Rule and this Notice. In accordance with the Final Rule and 
this Notice, the following requirements apply to supportive services 
grants awarded under this Notice:
    1. Grantees may use a maximum of 10 percent of supportive services 
grant funds for administrative costs identified in Sec.  62.70 of the 
Final Rule.
    2. Grantees must use a minimum of 60 percent of supportive services 
grant funds to serve very low-income veteran families who either (i) 
are homeless and scheduled to become residents of permanent housing 
within 90 days pending the location or development of housing suitable 
for permanent housing, as described in Sec.  62.11(a)(2) of the Final 
Rule, or (ii) have exited permanent housing within the previous 90 days 
to seek other housing that is responsive to their needs and 
preferences, as described in Sec.  62.11(a)(3) of the Final Rule.
    3. Grantees may utilize a maximum of 30 percent of supportive 
services grant funds to provide the supportive service of temporary 
financial assistance paid directly to a third party on behalf of a 
participant for child care, transportation, rental assistance, utility-
fee payment assistance, security deposits, utility deposits, moving 
costs, and emergency supplies in accordance with Sec. Sec.  62.33 and 
62.34 of the Final Rule.
     Guidance for the Use of Supportive Services Grant Funds: 
Grantees are encouraged to consider the following guidance for the use 
of supportive services grant funds:
    1. When serving participants who (i) are homeless and scheduled to 
become residents of permanent housing or (ii) have exited permanent 
housing in order to seek other housing that is responsive to their 
needs and preferences, in addition to the required supportive services 
pursuant to Sec. Sec.  62.30-62.33 of the Final Rule, grantees may 
focus on providing the following supportive services: housing 
counseling; assisting participants in understanding leases; securing 
utilities; making moving arrangements; representative payee services 
concerning rent and utilities; and mediation and outreach to property 
owners related to locating or retaining housing as per Sec.  62.34 of 
the Final Rule. Grantees may also assist participants by providing 
rental assistance, security or utility deposits, moving costs or 
emergency supplies, using other Federal resources, such as the HPRP 
Program, or supportive services grant funds subject to the limitations 
described in this Notice and Sec.  62.34 of the Final Rule.

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    2. When serving participants who are residing in permanent housing, 
it is helpful to remember that the defining question to ask is: ``Would 
this individual or family be homeless but for this assistance?'' To aid 
grantees in targeting SSVF Program funds toward very low-income veteran 
families most at risk of becoming homeless, a number of potential 
``risk factors'' are listed below that could indicate a higher risk of 
becoming homeless. This list contains examples of some commonly 
identified risk factors for homelessness from scholarly research and 
practical experience drawn from existing homelessness prevention 
programs. One way a grantee could use these factors would be to require 
that a participant demonstrate some combination of the risk factors to 
qualify for assistance. Grantees should note that this list is optional 
and not exhaustive. Grantees may consider other risk factors or other 
ways to target persons at risk of homelessness based on past experience 
and available resources. A formalized screening tool should be 
developed to assess a very low-income veteran family's risk of 
homelessness and to prioritize the provision of supportive services to 
those very low-income veteran families most in need. The risk factors 
for homelessness for consideration by grantees in developing their 
programs are as follows:
    a. Eviction within 2 weeks from a private dwelling (including 
housing provided by family or friends);
    b. Discharge within 2 weeks from an institution in which the person 
has been a resident for more than 180 days (including prisons, mental 
health institutions, hospitals);
    c. Residency in housing that has been condemned by housing 
officials and is no longer meant for human habitation;
    d. Sudden and significant loss of income;
    e. Sudden and significant increase in utility costs;
    f. Mental health and substance use issues;
    g. Physical disabilities and other chronic health issues, including 
HIV/AIDS;
    h. Severe housing cost burden (greater than 50 percent of income 
for housing costs);
    i. Homeless in last 12 months;
    j. Young head of household (under 25 with children or pregnant);
    k. Current or past involvement with child welfare, including foster 
care;
    l. Pending foreclosure of rental housing;
    m. Extremely low income (less than 30 percent of area median 
income);
    n. High overcrowding (the number of persons in household exceeds 
health and/or safety standards for the housing unit size);
    o. Past institutional care (prison, treatment facility, hospital);
    p. Recent traumatic life event, such as death of a spouse or 
primary care provider, or recent health crisis that prevented the 
household from meeting its financial responsibilities;
    q. Credit problems that preclude obtaining of housing; or
    r. Significant amount of medical debt.
    In addition to the required supportive services, supportive 
services provided to this category of very low-income veteran families 
should focus on the following: housing stabilization, linking 
participants to community resources and mainstream benefits, and 
helping participants develop a plan for preventing future housing 
instability.
    3. Where HPRP funds or other funds from community resources are not 
readily available, grantees may choose to utilize supportive services 
grants, subject to the limitations described in this Notice and in 
Sec. Sec.  62.33 and 62.34 of the Final Rule, to provide temporary 
financial assistance. Such assistance may, subject to the limitations 
in this Notice and the Final Rule, be paid directly to a third party on 
behalf of a participant for child care, transportation, rental 
assistance, utility-fee payment assistance, security or utility 
deposits, moving costs and emergency supplies as necessary.
     Funding Priorities: The funding priorities for this Notice 
are as follows:
    1. Funding Priority 1. Funding Priority 1 is for existing SSVF 
Program grantees seeking to renew their supportive services grants. To 
be eligible for renewal of a supportive services grant, the grantee's 
program must continue to meet the threshold requirements under Sec.  
62.21 and remain substantially the same as the program proposed in its 
initial application. To be considered ``substantially the same,'' a 
renewal application must request a grant amount that is no more or less 
than 10 percent of the grantee's current grant award (subject to the 
allocation limitations described in Section E of this Notice) and may 
include only minor changes in key personnel, target populations, 
geographic areas or communities served, and supportive services 
offered. (Note: if an existing grantee would like to substantially 
modify an existing program, the grantee may submit an initial 
application and apply under Funding Priority 2.) An existing grantee 
applying for funding for a program that is substantially the same as 
their existing program may only apply under Funding Priority 1. 
Approximately $60 million is available under Funding Priority 1. Should 
not enough applications be funded under Funding Priority 1, funds not 
expended in this priority will fall to Funding Priority 2.
    2. Funding Priority 2. Funding Priority 2 is for eligible entities 
applying for initial supportive services grants.
     Supportive Services Grant Application Selection 
Methodology: VA will review all initial and renewal supportive services 
grant applications in response to this Notice according to the 
following steps:
    1. Score all applications that meet the threshold requirements 
described in Sec.  62.21 of the Final Rule.
    2. Group applications within the applicable funding priorities set 
forth in Section I of this Notice.
    3. Rank those applications in Funding Priority 1 (renewal 
supportive services grants) who score at least 85 cumulative points and 
receive at least one point under each of the categories identified in 
Sec.  62.24, paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of the Final Rule. The 
applications will be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores.
    4. Rank those applications in Funding Priority 2 (initial 
supportive services grants) who score at least 60 cumulative points and 
receive at least one point under each of the categories identified in 
Sec.  62.22, paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e) of the Final Rule. 
The applications will be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores.
    5. Utilize the ranked scores of applications as the primary basis 
for selection. However, in accordance with Sec.  62.23(d) of the Final 
Rule, VA will utilize the following considerations to select applicants 
for funding:
    i. Preference applications that provide or coordinate the provision 
of supportive services for very low-income veteran families 
transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing; and
    ii. To the extent practicable, ensure that supportive services 
grants are equitably distributed across geographic regions, including 
rural communities and tribal lands.
    6. Subject to the considerations noted in paragraph J.4. above, VA 
will fund the highest-ranked applications for which funding is 
available, within the highest funding priority group. To the extent 
funding is available and subject to the considerations noted in 
paragraph J.4 above, VA will select applications in the next highest 
funding priority group based on their rank within that group.
     VA's Goals and Objectives for Funds Awarded Under this 
Notice: In

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accordance with Sec.  62.22(b)(6) of the Final Rule, VA will evaluate 
an applicant's ability to meet VA's goals and objectives for the SSVF 
Program. VA's goals and objectives include the provision of supportive 
services designed to enhance the housing stability and independent 
living skills of very low-income veteran families occupying permanent 
housing across geographic regions. For purposes of this Notice, VA's 
goals and objectives also include the provision of supportive services 
designed to rapidly re-house or prevent homelessness among people in 
the following target populations who also meet all requirements for 
being part of a very low-income veteran family occupying permanent 
housing:
    1. Veteran families earning less than 30 percent of area median 
income as most recently published by HUD for programs under section 8 
of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f) (http://www.huduser.org).
    2. Veterans with at least one dependent family member.
    3. Veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation 
Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn.
    4. Veteran families located in a rural area.
    5. Veteran families located on Indian Tribal Property.
     Application Requirements: Additional supportive services 
grant application requirements are specified in the initial and renewal 
application packages. Submission of an incorrect or incomplete 
application package will result in the application being rejected 
during threshold review. The application packages contain all required 
forms and certifications. Selections will be made based on criteria 
described in the Final Rule and this Notice. Applicants and grantees 
will be notified of any additional information needed to confirm or 
clarify information provided in the application and the deadline by 
which to submit such information.
     Payments of Supportive Services Grant Funds: Grantees will 
receive payments electronically through the U.S. Department of Health 
and Human Services Payment Management System (HHS PMS). Grantees will 
have the ability to request payments as frequently as they choose 
subject to the following limitations:
    1. During the first quarter of the grantee's supportive services 
grant award period, the grantee's cumulative requests for supportive 
services grant funds may not exceed 35 percent of the total supportive 
services grant award without written approval by VA.
    2. By the end of the second quarter of the grantee's supportive 
services grant award period, the grantee's cumulative requests for 
supportive services grant funds may not exceed 60 percent of the total 
supportive services grant award without written approval by VA.
    3. By the end of the third quarter of the grantee's supportive 
services grant award period, the grantee's cumulative requests for 
supportive services grant funds may not exceed 80 percent of the total 
supportive services grant award without written approval by VA.
    4. By the end of the fourth quarter of the grantee's supportive 
services grant award period, the grantee's cumulative requests for 
supportive services grant funds may not exceed 100 percent of the total 
supportive services grant award.
     Monitoring: VA places great emphasis on the responsibility 
and accountability of grantees. As described in Sec. Sec.  62.23 and 
62.71 of the Final Rule, VA has procedures in place to monitor 
supportive services provided to participants and outcomes associated 
with the supportive services provided under the SSVF Program. 
Applicants should be aware of the following:
    1. Upon execution of a supportive services grant agreement with VA, 
grantees will have a VA regional coordinator assigned by the SSVF 
Program Office who will provide oversight and monitor supportive 
services provided to participants.
    2. Grantees will be required to enter data into a Homeless 
Management Information System (HMIS) Web-based software application. 
This data will consist of information on the participants served and 
types of supportive services provided by grantees. Grantees must treat 
the data for activities funded by the SSVF Program separate from that 
of activities funded by other programs. Grantees will be required to 
work with their HMIS Administrators to export client-level data for 
activities funded by the SSVF Program to VA on at least a monthly 
basis.
    3. Monitoring will also include the submittal of quarterly and 
annual financial and performance reports by the grantee. The grantee 
will be expected to demonstrate adherence to the grantee's proposed 
program concept, as described in the grantee's application.
    4. Grantees will be required to 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.
    O. Technical Assistance: Information regarding how to obtain 
technical assistance with the preparation of an initial or renewal 
supportive services grant application is available on the SSVF Program 
web page at: http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/SSVF.asp.

    Dated: November 21, 2011.
John R. Gingrich,
Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2011-30778 Filed 11-30-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P