[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 208 (Friday, October 26, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65448-65453]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26376]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Funding Availability Under Supportive Services for Veteran 
Families Program

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Notice of funding availability.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing the 
availability of funds for supportive services grants under the SSVF 
Program. This Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) contains 
information concerning the Supportive Services for Veteran Families 
(SSVF) Program, initial and renewal supportive services grant 
application processes, and amount of funding available. The Funding 
Opportunity Number is VA-SSVF-120112. The Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance Number is 62.033.
    Applications for initial and renewal supportive services grants 
under the SSVF Program must be received by the SSVF Program Office by 
4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on February 1, 2013. 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 Package: Copies of the application 
can be downloaded directly from the SSVF Program Web site at: 
www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp. Questions should be referred to the SSVF 
Program Office via phone at (877) 737-0111 (toll-free number) or via 
email at SSVF@va.gov. For detailed SSVF Program information and 
requirements, see 38 CFR Part 62.
    Submission of Application Package: Two completed, collated, hard 
copies of the application and two compact discs (CD) containing 
electronic versions of the entire application are required. Each 
application copy must (i) be fastened with a binder clip; and (ii) 
contain tabs listing the major sections of and exhibits to the 
application. Each CD must be labeled with the applicant's name and must 
contain an electronic copy of the entire application. A 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. Applicants must submit two hard copies and two 
CDs. Applications may not be sent by facsimile (FAX). Applications must 
be received in the SSVF Program Office by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the 
application deadline date. 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 38 CFR 
62.23(d)(2), an eligible entity may apply for a total of $2 million per 
year in funding per grant. See Section II.C. of this NOFA for maximum 
allowable grant amounts.
    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 site 
at: http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/SSVF.asp.

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: 

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    A. 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

[[Page 65449]]

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.
    B. Definitions: Sections 62.2 and 62.11(a) of title 38, CFR, 
contain definitions of terms used in the SSVF Program. In addition to 
the definitions included in those sections, this NOFA introduces two 
program areas: Emergency Housing Assistance and General Housing 
Stability Assistance.
    Emergency Housing Assistance means the provision of up to 30 days 
of temporary housing that does not require the participant to sign a 
lease or occupancy agreement. The cost cannot exceed the reasonable 
community standard for such housing. Emergency housing is limited to 
short-term commercial residences (private residences are not eligible 
for such funding) not already funded to provide on-demand emergency 
shelter (such as emergency congregate shelters). By authorizing the 
limited provision of SSVF funded emergency housing, grantees will be 
able to ensure that participants do not become homeless while they 
transition to permanent housing or otherwise be put at risk pending 
placement in permanent housing. Appropriate provision of emergency 
housing is limited to those cases in which no space is available at a 
community shelter that would be appropriate for placement of a family 
unit and where permanent housing has been identified and secured but 
the participant cannot immediately be placed in that housing. Only 
families with children under the age of 18 may receive such assistance; 
individuals are not eligible for SSVF funded emergency housing 
placement. In the event that longer term transitional housing or 
emergency housing is needed without such restrictions, VA offers 
community-based alternatives including, the Grant and Per Diem Program 
and the Health Care for Homeless Veterans contract residential care 
program, as well as a variety of VA based residential care programs.
    General Housing Stability Assistance means the provision of goods 
or payment of expenses not included in other sections but which are 
directly related to supporting a participant's housing stability. This 
is a new category that may offer a maximum of $1,500 in assistance per 
participant. Such assistance, when not available through existing 
mainstream and community resources, may include: (1) 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 (limited to $500 per SSVF Program under 38 CFR 
62.34); (2) Expenses associated with gaining or keeping employment such 
as obtaining uniforms, tools, certifications, and licenses; (3) 
Expenses associated with moving into permanent housing, such as 
obtaining basic kitchen utensils, bedding, and other supplies; and (4) 
Expenses necessary for securing appropriate permanent housing such as 
fees for applications, brokerage fees, or background checks.
    C. 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 required to establish relationships with local 
community resources. 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 
the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Homelessness 
Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, HUD's Emergency Solution Grant 
(ESG), 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 Supportive 
Housing (VASH) program, HUD Housing Choice Voucher programs, McKinney-
Vento funded supportive housing programs, Temporary Assistance for 
Needy Families, etc.) that can provide ongoing support as required.
    Assistance in obtaining or retaining permanent housing is a 
fundamental goal of the SSVF program. Grantees are expected to provide 
case management services in accordance with 38 CFR 62.31. Such case 
management should include tenant counseling; mediation with landlords; 
and outreach to landlords.
    D. Authority: Funding applied for under this NOFA is authorized by 
38 U.S.C. 2044, as recently amended by the Veterans Health Care 
Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011, Public Law 112-37. VA 
implements the SSVF program by regulation in 38 CFR part 62. Funds made 
available under this NOFA are subject to the requirements of the 
aforementioned regulations and other applicable laws and regulations.
    E. 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 38 CFR part 62 
and this NOFA. In accordance with the regulations and this NOFA, the 
following requirements apply to supportive services grants awarded 
under this NOFA:
    (1) Grantees may use a maximum of 10 percent of supportive services 
grant funds for administrative costs identified in Sec.  62.70.
    (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), 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). (Note: Grantees may request a waiver to 
decrease this minimum to 40 percent, discussed in section V.B.5.i.)
    (3) Grantees may use a maximum of 50 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, emergency housing assistance, transportation, rental 
assistance, utility-fee payment assistance, security deposits, utility 
deposits, moving costs, and general housing stability assistance (which 
includes emergency supplies) in accordance with Sec. Sec.  62.33 and 
62.34.
    F. Guidance for the Use of Supportive Services Grant Funds: It is 
VA policy to support a ``Housing First'' model in addressing and ending 
homelessness. Housing First establishes housing

[[Page 65450]]

stability as the primary intervention in working with homeless persons. 
The Housing First approach is based on the concept that a homeless 
individual or household's first and primary need is to obtain stable 
housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and 
should be addressed once housing is obtained. Housing is not contingent 
on compliance with services--instead, participants must comply with a 
standard lease agreement and are provided with the services and 
supports that are necessary to help them do so successfully.
    1. Consistent with the Housing First model supported by VA, 
grantees are expected to offer the following supportive services: 
Housing counseling; assisting participants in understanding leases; 
securing utilities; making moving arrangements; provide representative 
payee services concerning rent and utilities when needed; and mediation 
and outreach to property owners related to locating or retaining 
housing. Grantees may also assist participants by providing rental 
assistance, security or utility deposits, moving costs or emergency 
supplies; or using other Federal resources, such as the ESG, or 
supportive services grant funds subject to the limitations described in 
this NOFA and 38 CFR 62.34.
    2. VA recognizes that extremely low-income Veterans face greater 
barriers to permanent housing placement. In order to support grantees' 
efforts to serve this population, VA has proposed new program 
regulations that will expand temporary financial assistance that may be 
offered to these participants. Grantees must consider the proposed rule 
when developing their response to this NOFA.
    3. Grantees are encouraged to provide, or assist participants in 
obtaining, legal services relevant to issues that interfere with the 
participants' ability to obtain or retain permanent housing. Note: 
Legal services provided may be protected from release or review by the 
grantee or VA under attorney-client privilege. Support for legal 
services can include paying for court filing fees to assist a 
participant with issues that interfere with the participant's ability 
to obtain or retain permanent housing or supportive services, including 
issues that affect the participant's employability and financial 
security.
    4. Notwithstanding any other section in this part, grantees are not 
authorized to use SSVF funds to pay for the following: (i) Mortgage 
costs or costs needed by homeowners to assist with any fees, taxes, or 
other costs of refinancing; (ii) construction or the cost of housing 
rehabilitation; (iii) credit card bills or other consumer debt; (iv) 
medical or dental care and medicines; (v) mental health, substance use, 
or other therapeutic interventions designed to treat Axis I or II 
diagnostic conditions in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of 
Mental Disorders fourth edition text revision; and (vi) home care and 
home health aides typically used to provide care in support of daily 
living activities. This includes care that is focused on treatment for 
an injury or illness, rehabilitation, or other assistance generally 
required to assist those with handicaps or other physical limitations; 
(vii) pet care; (viii) entertainment activities; (ix) direct cash 
assistance to program participants; or (x) court-ordered judgments or 
fines.
    5. When serving participants who are residing in permanent housing, 
it is required that the defining question to ask is: ``Would this 
individual or family be homeless but for this assistance?'' The grantee 
must use a VA-approved screening tool with criteria that targets those 
most at-risk of homelessness. To qualify for SSVF services under 
Category 1 (homeless prevention), the participants must not have 
sufficient resources or support networks, e.g., family, friends, faith-
based or other social networks, immediately available to prevent them 
from becoming homeless. To further qualify for services under Category 
1, the grantee must document that the participant meets at least one of 
the following conditions:
    (a) Has moved because of economic reasons two or more times during 
the 60 days immediately preceding the application for homelessness 
prevention assistance;
    (b) Is living in the home of another because of economic hardship;
    (c) Has been notified in writing that their right to occupy their 
current housing or living situation will be terminated within 21 days 
after the date of application for assistance;
    (d) Lives in a hotel or motel and the cost of the hotel or motel 
stay is not paid by charitable organizations or by Federal, state, or 
local government programs for low-income individuals;
    (e) Is exiting a publicly funded institution, or system of care 
(such as a health-care facility, a mental health facility, or 
correctional institution) without a stable housing plan; or
    (f) Otherwise, lives in housing that has characteristics associated 
with instability and an increased risk of homelessness, as identified 
in the recipient's approved screening tool.
    6. Where ESG 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 NOFA and in 38 CFR 
62.33 and 62.34, to provide temporary financial assistance. Such 
assistance may, subject to the limitations in this NOFA and 38 CFR Part 
62, be paid directly to a third party on behalf of a participant for 
child care, transportation, family emergency housing assistance, rental 
assistance, utility-fee payment assistance, security or utility 
deposits, moving costs, and general housing stability assistance as 
necessary.

II. Award Information

    A. Overview: This NOFA 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.
    B. Funding Priorities: The funding priorities for this NOFA 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 concept must be generally consistent with the program concept 
of the grantee's current grant award. Renewal applications can request 
a grant amount that is no more than 200 percent of the grantee's 
current grant award (subject to the allocation limitations described in 
Section E of this NOFA). Requests for funding increases must be based 
both on commensurate increases in the number of participants served and 
expanding access to HUD's Continuums of Care currently not served by an 
SSVF program. (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. Grantees cannot submit 
more than one application serving the same geographic area.) 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 $140 million of the up to $300 
million available may be awarded depending on funding 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.
    C. Allocation of Funds: If funding for Priority 1 projects is 
exhausted, funding may be awarded depending on availability for initial 
and renewal

[[Page 65451]]

supportive services grants, to be funded under this NOFA for a 1- to 3-
year period. The following requirements apply to supportive services 
grants awarded under this NOFA:
    (1) Each grant cannot exceed $2 million per year.
    (2) The total number of supportive services grants awarded to a 
grantee cannot exceed five grants nationwide per year.
    (3) Applicants should fill out separate applications for each 
supportive services funding request.
    D. Supportive Services Grant Award Period: Most supportive services 
grants awarded under this NOFA will be for a 1-year period. Selected 
grants renewed under Funding Priority 1 may be eligible for a 2- or 3-
year award (see I.1 and N.6).

III. Eligibility Information

    A. Eligible Applicants: In order to be eligible, an applicant must 
qualify as a private non-profit organization (Section 501 (c) (3) tax 
exempt status is required) or a consumer cooperative as has the meaning 
given such term in Section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 
1701q). In addition, tribally designated housing entities (as defined 
in Section 4 of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-
Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4104)) are eligible.
    B. Cost Sharing or Matching: This section is not applicable to the 
SSVF program.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    A. Address To Request Application Package: Download directly from 
the SSVF Program Web site at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp or send a 
written request for an application to Supportive Services for Veteran 
Families Program Office, National Center on Homelessness Among 
Veterans, 4100 Chester Avenue, Suite 201, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Any 
questions regarding this process should be referred to the SSVF Program 
Office via phone at (877) 737-0111 (toll-free number) or via email at 
SSVF@va.gov. For detailed SSVF Program information and requirements, 
see 38 CFR part 62.
    B. Content and Form of Application: Two 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 (i) be fastened with a binder clip; and (ii) 
contain tabs listing the major sections of and exhibits to the 
application. Each CD must be labeled with the applicant's name and must 
contain an electronic copy of the entire application. A 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.
    C. Submission Dates and Times: Applications for initial and renewal 
supportive services grants under the SSVF Program must be received by 
the SSVF Program Office by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on February 1, 2013. 
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. 
Additionally, 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. It should also be noted 
that in order to encourage the equitable distribution of supportive 
services grants across geographic regions, in accordance with 38 CFR 
62.23(d)(2), an eligible entity may apply for a total of $2 million per 
year in funding per grant.
    D. Intergovernmental Review: This section is not applicable to the 
SSVF Program.
    E. Funding Restrictions: Approximately $300 million may be awarded 
depending on funding availability for initial and renewal supportive 
services grants to be funded under this NOFA for a 1- to 3-year period. 
The following requirements apply to supportive services grants awarded 
under this NOFA:
    (1) Each grant cannot exceed $2 million per year.
    (2) The total number of supportive services grants awarded to a 
grantee cannot exceed 5 grants nationwide per year.
    (3) Applicants should fill out separate applications for each 
supportive services funding request.
    F. Other Submission Requirements:
    (1) The funding priorities for this NOFA are as follows:
    (a) 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 concept must be generally consistent with the program concept 
of the grantee's current grant award. Renewal applications can request 
a grant amount that is no more than 200 percent of the grantee's 
current grant award (subject to the allocation limitations described in 
Section E of this NOFA). Requests for funding increases must be based 
on commensurate increases in the number of participants served. (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. Grantees cannot submit more than one application 
serving the same geographic area). 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 $140 
million may be available under Funding Priority 1 depending on the 
availability of funds. Should not enough applications be funded under 
Funding Priority 1, funds not expended in this priority will fall to 
Funding Priority 2.
    (b) Funding Priority 2. Funding Priority 2 is for eligible entities 
applying for initial supportive services grants.
    (2) 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 38 CFR part 62 
and this NOFA. 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. 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. Applicants must submit two 
hard copies and two CDs. Applications may not be sent by facsimile 
(FAX).

V. Application Review Information

A. Criteria

    1. 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;

[[Page 65452]]

    (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;
    (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; and
    (h) The applicant is not in default by failing to meet the 
requirements for any previous Federal assistance.
    2. 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.
    (b) VA will award up to 25 points based on the applicant's program 
concept and supportive services plan.
    (c) VA will award up to 15 points based on the applicant's quality 
assurance and evaluation plan.
    (d) VA will award up to 15 points based on the applicant's 
financial capability and plan.
    (e) VA will award up to 10 points based on the applicant's area or 
community linkages and relations.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    (b) VA will award up to 30 points based on the cost-effectiveness 
of the grantee's program.
    (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.
    5. 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. Detailed information 
regarding application criteria can be found in 38 CFR 62.21-62.25.

B. Review and Selection Process

    VA will review all initial and renewal supportive services grant 
applications in response to this NOFA according to the following steps:
    1. Score all applications that meet the threshold requirements 
described in 38 CFR 62.21.
    2. Group applications within the applicable funding priorities set 
forth in Section II.B. of this NOFA.
    3. Rank those applications in Funding Priority 1 (renewal 
supportive services grants) who score at least 80 cumulative points and 
receive at least one point under each of the categories identified in 
Sec.  62.24, paragraphs (a), (b), and (c). 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 70 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). 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), 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. Consistent with 
this preference, applicants are required to serve no less than 60 
percent of their participants and spend no less than 60 percent of all 
budgeted temporary financial assistance on homeless participants 
defined in Sec.  62.11(a)(2) and (a)(3). Waivers to this 60 percent 
requirement may be requested when grantees can demonstrate significant 
local progress towards eliminating homelessness in the target service 
area. Waiver requests must include data from authoritative sources such 
as HUD's Veteran's Supplemental Chapter to the Annual Homeless 
Assessment Report, annual Point-In-Time Counts and evidence of 
decreased demand for emergency shelter and transitional housing. 
Waivers can reduce this 60 percent minimum funding requirement to a 40 
percent minimum, with the balance available for participants at 
imminent risk of homelessness as defined in Sec.  62.11(a)(1).
    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 B.5 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 B.5 above, VA will select applications in the next highest 
funding priority group based on their rank within that group.

VI. Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices

    Although subject to change, the SSVF Program Office expects to 
announce grant recipients by mid-summer 2013. The initial announcement 
will be made via the SSVF Web site at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp. 
Following the initial announcement, the Program Office will email and 
mail via United Postal Service (UPS), a notification letter to the 
grant recipients. The notification letter is not an authorization to 
begin performance, but will provide guidance as to the next steps the 
recipient must follow. Applicants that are not selected to receive a 
support services grant will be mailed a declination letter via UPS 
within 2 weeks of the initial announcement.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    It is VA's policy to support a ``Housing First'' model in 
addressing and ending homelessness. Housing First establishes housing 
stability as the primary intervention in working with homeless persons. 
The Housing First approach is based on the concept that a homeless 
individual or household's first and primary need is to obtain stable 
housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and 
should be addressed once housing is obtained. Housing is not contingent 
on compliance with services--instead, participants must comply with a 
standard lease agreement and are provided with the services and 
supports that are necessary to help them do so successfully.
    Consistent with the Housing First model supported by VA, grantees 
are expected to offer the following supportive services: Housing 
counseling; assisting participants in understanding leases; securing 
utilities; making moving arrangements; provide representative payee 
services concerning rent and utilities when needed; and mediation and 
outreach to property owners related to locating or retaining housing. 
Grantees may also

[[Page 65453]]

assist participants by providing rental assistance, security or utility 
deposits, moving costs or emergency supplies, using other Federal 
resources, such as the ESG, or supportive services grant funds subject 
to the limitations described in this NOFA and 38 CFR 62.34.

C. Reporting

    VA places great emphasis on the responsibility and accountability 
of grantees. As described in 38 CFR 62.63 and 62.71, 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.
    5. Grantees will be assessed based on their ability to meet 
critical performance measures. In addition to meeting program 
requirements defined by the regulations and NOFA, grantees will be 
assessed on their ability to place participants into housing and the 
housing retention rates of participants served. Higher placement for 
homeless participants and higher housing retention rates for at-risk 
participants are expected for very-low income Veterans' families when 
compared to extremely low-income Veteran families.
    6. Organizations receiving awards through Funding Priority 1 and 
have had ongoing SSVF program operation for at least 1 year (as 
measured by the start of initial SSVF services until February 1, 2013, 
may be eligible for 2- or 3-year awards. Grantees meeting outcome goals 
defined by VA and in substantial compliance with their grant agreements 
(defined by meeting targets and having no outstanding corrective action 
plans) are eligible for 2-year renewals. Grantees meeting the 
requirements for a 2-year renewal and receive 3-year accreditation from 
the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities in 
Employment and Community Services are eligible for a 3-year grant 
renewal. If awarded a multiple year renewal, grantees may be eligible 
for funding increases as defined in NOFA's that correspond to years 2 
and 3 of their renewal funding.

VII. Agency Contact

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.

VIII. Other Information

    A. VA's Goals and Objectives for Funds Awarded Under this NOFA: In 
accordance with 38 CFR 62.22(b)(6), 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 NOFA, 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 community, as defined by HUD's 
Continuums of Care, not currently served by a SSVF grantee.
    5. Veteran families located in a rural area.
    6. Veteran families located on Indian Tribal Property.
    B. Payments of Supportive Services Grant Funds: Grantees will 
receive payments electronically through the U.S. Department of Health 
and Human Services Payment Management System. 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.

    Dated: October 9, 2012.
John R. Gingrich,
Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2012-26376 Filed 10-25-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P