[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 22 (Tuesday, February 3, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5887-5894]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-02070]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Funding Availability Under Supportive Services for Veteran 
Families Program

AGENCY: Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Notice of Fund Availability (NOFA).

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SUMMARY: VA is announcing the availability of funds for supportive 
services grants under the SSVF Program. This NOFA contains information 
concerning the SSVF Program, initial

[[Page 5888]]

supportive services grant application processes, and the amount of 
funding available.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Supportive Services for Veteran Families 
Program.
    Announcement Type: Initial.
    Funding Opportunity Number: VA-SSVF-021015.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 64.033, VA 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.
    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 NOFA 
contains information concerning the SSVF Program, initial supportive 
services grant application processes, and the amount of funding 
available. Awards made for supportive services grants will fund 
operations beginning October 1, 2015.

DATES: Applications for supportive services grants under the SSVF 
Program must be received by the SSVF Program Office by 4:00 p.m. 
Eastern Time on March 17, 2015. 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.

ADDRESSES: 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 Section 62 of Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations 
(38 CFR 62).
    Submission of Application Package: Applicants are strongly 
encouraged to submit applications electronically following instructions 
found at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp. Alternatively applicants can 
mail in applications. If mailed, applicants must submit 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. 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 supportive services grant 
application is available on the SSVF Program Web site at: http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/SSVF.asp.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. 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 
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. Funding Priorities: VA will provide approximately $300 million 
for existing grantees seeking to renew their grants.
    C. Definitions: Part 62 of title 38, Code of Federal Regulations 
(38 CFR 62), contains definitions of terms used in the SSVF Program, 
eligibility criteria, and programmatic priorities. Respondents to this 
NOFA should base their proposals and applications on the requirements 
of part 62 as it exists today. In addition to the definitions and 
requirements included in those sections, this NOFA includes 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 but the 
participant cannot immediately be placed in that housing. 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 directly 
related to supporting a participant's housing stability. This is a 
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: (i) 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; (ii) expenses associated with gaining or keeping 
employment, such as obtaining uniforms, tools, certifications, and 
licenses; (iii) expenses associated with moving into permanent housing, 
such as obtaining basic kitchen utensils, bedding, and other supplies; 
and (iv)

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expenses necessary for securing appropriate permanent housing, such as 
fees for applications, brokerage fees, or background checks.
    D. 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. Therefore, agencies must work through coordinated 
partnerships built either through formal agreements or the informal 
working relationships commonly found amongst strong social service 
providers. As part of the application, under 38 CFR 62.22(e), all 
applicants are strongly encouraged to provide letters of support from 
their respective VA Network Homeless Coordinator (or their designee). 
In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to provide letters of 
support from the Continuums of Care (CoC) where they plan to deliver 
services that reflect the applicant's engagement in the CoC's efforts 
to coordinate services. CoCs may elect to provide VA with a rank order 
of their support in lieu of providing individual letters of support. A 
CoC is a community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to 
meet the 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 (CoC locations and 
contact information can be found at the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development's (HUD) Web site, http://www.hudhre.info/index.cfm?do=viewCocMaps). This coordination should describe the 
applicant's participation in the CoC's coordinated assessment efforts 
(coordinated assessment refers to a common process for accessing 
homeless assistance services including: prevention, diversion, 
emergency shelter, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, supportive 
services and even permanent supportive housing). In addition, any 
applicant proposing to serve an Indian Tribal area is strongly 
encouraged to provide a letter of support from the relevant Indian 
Tribal Government. 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 those not 
currently in permanent housing to stable housing. SSVF emphasizes the 
placement of homeless Veteran families who are described in regulation 
as (i) very low-income Veteran families who are homeless and scheduled 
to become residents of permanent housing within 90 days, 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 experienced in operating 
rapid re-housing programs (i.e., administering HUD's 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. As a crisis intervention program, 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 income supports, such as employment and 
mainstream Federal and community resources (e.g., HUD-VA Supportive 
Housing program, HUD Housing Choice Voucher programs, McKinney-Vento 
funded supportive housing programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy 
Families (TANF), and Social Security Income/Social Security Disability 
Insurance (SSI/SSDI) etc.) that can provide ongoing support as 
required.
    Assistance in obtaining or retaining permanent housing is a 
fundamental goal of the SSVF Program. Grantees must 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.
    E. Authority: Funding applied for under this NOFA is authorized by 
38 U.S. Code (U.S.C.) 2044. 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.

    F. 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 38 CFR 62.70.
    2. Grantees must use a minimum of 60 percent of the temporary 
financial assistance portion of their supportive services grant funds 
to serve very low-income Veteran families who qualify under 38 CFR 
62.11. (Note: Grantees may request a waiver to decrease this minimum, 
as discussed in section V.B.3.a.)
    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 38 CFR 62.33 and 38 CFR 
62.34.
    G. 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 stability as the 
primary intervention in working with homeless persons. The Housing 
First approach is based on research that shows 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 as housing is obtained. Research supports this 
approach as an effective means to end homelessness. Housing is not 
contingent on compliance with mandated therapies or 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.
    Grantees must develop plans that will ensure that Veteran 
participants have the level of income and economic stability needed to 
remain in permanent housing after the conclusion of the SSVF 
intervention. Both employment and benefits assistance from VA and non-
VA sources represent a significant underutilized source of income 
stability for homeless Veterans. The complexity of program rules and 
the stigma some associate with entitlement programs contributes to 
their lack of use. To this effect, grantees are encouraged to consider 
strategies that can lead to prompt and successful access to employment 
and benefits that are essential to retaining housing.
    1. Consistent with the Housing First model supported by VA, 
grantees are expected to offer the following

[[Page 5890]]

supportive services: housing counseling; assisting participants in 
understanding leases; securing utilities; making moving arrangements; 
providing 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 
HUD's ESG, or supportive services grant funds subject to the 
limitations described in this NOFA and 38 CFR 62.34.
    2. As SSVF is a short-term crisis intervention, grantees must 
develop plans that will produce sufficient income to sustain Veteran 
participants in permanent housing after the conclusion of the SSVF 
intervention. Grantees must ensure the availability of employment and 
vocational services either through the direct provision of these 
services or their availability through formal or informal service 
agreements. Agreements with Homeless Veteran Reintegration Programs 
funded by the U.S. Department of Labor are strongly encouraged. For 
participants unable to work due to disability, income must be 
established through available benefits programs.
    3. Per 38 CFR 62.33, grantees must assist participants in obtaining 
public benefits. Grantees must screen all participants for eligibility 
for a broad range of entitlements such as TANF, Social Security, the 
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Low Income Home 
Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Earned Income Tax Credit 
(EITC), and local General Assistance programs. Grantees are expected to 
access the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program either though 
community linkages or by training staff to deliver SOAR services. In 
addition, where available grantees should access information technology 
tools to support case managers in their efforts to link participants to 
benefits.
    4. 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: 
Information regarding legal services provided may be protected from 
being released to 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. Grantees (in addition to employees and members of 
grantees) may represent participants before VA with respect to a claim 
for VA benefits, but only if they are recognized for that purpose 
pursuant to 38 U.S.C. Chapter 59. Further, the individual providing 
such representation must be accredited pursuant to 38 U.S.C. Chapter 
59.
    5. Access to mental health and addiction services are required by 
SSVF; however, grantees cannot fund these services directly through the 
SSVF grant. Therefore, applicants must demonstrate, through either 
formal or informal agreements, their ability to promote rapid access 
and engagement to mental health and addiction services for the Veteran 
and family members.
    6. VA recognizes that extremely low-income Veterans, with incomes 
below 30 percent of the area median income, face greater barriers to 
permanent housing placement. Grantees should consider how they can 
support these participants.
    7. 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 diagnostic 
conditions as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of 
Mental Disorders (Note: Although SSVF grant funds cannot be used to pay 
for the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders, grantees 
are required to offer such services through formal coordinated 
relationships with VA and other community providers); (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.
    8. 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, a 
participant who is served under Category 1 (homeless prevention) 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.
    9. The TANF program may also be used to address the housing-related 
needs of families who are homeless or precariously housed and, along 
with providing ongoing basic assistance, provide an array of non-
recurrent, short-term benefits and services. Such benefits and services 
may include short-term rental or mortgage assistance (to prevent 
eviction or help a homeless family secure housing), security and 
utility payments, moving assistance, motel and hotel vouchers, and case 
management services. For additional information on TANF and 
homelessness, please visit the following link to an Information 
Memorandum issued by the United States Department of Health and Human 
Services Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family 
Assistance, on February 20, 2013, titled, ``Use of TANF Funds to Serve 
Homeless Families and Families at Risk of Experiencing Homelessness'': 
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/resource/tanf-acf-im-2013-01.
    10. Where other funds from community resources are not readily 
available, grantees may choose to utilize

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supportive services grants, to the extent 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 renewal of existing supportive services grant programs. 
New applications for SSVF grant awards will not be funded through this 
NOFA. Up to $300 million will be available through this NOFA.
    B. Funding: To be eligible for renewal of a supportive services 
grant, the grantee's program concept must be substantially the same 
with the program concept of the grantee's current grant award. Renewal 
applications can request funding that is equal to or less than their 
current award. If sufficient funding is available, VA may provide an 
increase of up to 2 percent from the previous year's award. Any 
percentage increase, if provided, will be awarded uniformly to all 
grant recipients regardless of their grant award.
    C. Allocation of Funds: Funding will be awarded under this NOFA to 
existing grantees for a 1 to 3-year period beginning October 1, 2015. 
The following requirements apply to supportive services grants awarded 
under this NOFA:
    1. In response to this NOFA, applicants can only submit renewal 
applications for existing awards.
    2. Each grant request cannot exceed the current award, unless 
proposing to expand services into an adjacent county(ies) or CoC 
currently unserved by any SSVF grantee. All requests to expand services 
must propose services in conformance with the existing grant. 
Additional funds can be requested to support such expansion, but 
requests are limited to 20 percent of the existing award.
    3. Those applicants seeking to expand service areas, as described 
in II.C.2, must include a narrative description of this expansion. This 
narrative description is not to exceed one page. The narrative must 
include the name of the county(ies) and CoC to be served, demonstrate 
the need for such expansion, and the projected cost per household. 
Requests to expand services into areas adjacent to existing grant 
service areas will be considered independently to the existing grant 
renewal request, so that the renewal may be funded without the 
inclusion of the proposed expansion.
    4. Applicants may request an amount less than their current award 
(this will not be considered a substantial change to the program 
concept).
    5. If grantee failed to use all of awarded funds in the previous 
fiscal year (2014), VA may elect to limit renewal award to the amount 
of funds used in the previous fiscal year.
    6. Applicants should fill out separate applications for each 
supportive services renewal funding request.
    D. Supportive Services Grant Award Period: Grant awards are 
generally made for a 1-year period, although selected grants may be 
eligible for a 3-year award (see VI.C.6). All grants are eligible to be 
renewed subject to available appropriations.

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) or 
501(c)(19) tax exempt status is required) or a consumer cooperative as 
defined in 38 U.S.C. 2044(f). 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. 4103)) are 
eligible.
    B. Cost Sharing or Matching: None.

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 SSVF 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: Applicants are strongly 
encouraged to submit applications electronically following instructions 
found at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp. Alternatively applicants can 
mail in applications. If mailed, applicants must submit 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.
    C. Submission Dates and Times: Applications for supportive services 
grants under the SSVF Program must be received by the SSVF Program 
Office by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 17, 2015. Awards made for 
supportive services grants will fund operations beginning October 1, 
2015. 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.
    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 and subject to available 
appropriations for initial supportive services grants to be funded 
under this NOFA. Applicants should fill out separate applications for 
each supportive services funding request. Funding will be awarded under 
this NOFA to existing grantees for a 1 to 3-year period beginning 
October 1, 2015.
    F. Other Submission Requirements:
    1. Applicants may apply only as renewal applicants using the 
application designed for renewal grants.
    2. If applicants are proposing to expand services into counties or 
CoCs adjacent to their current services area, they must submit a 
separate budget for the expanded service area in addition to the budget 
for the renewal of the existing grant service area.
    3. At the discretion of VA, multiple grant proposals submitted by 
the same lead agency may be combined into a single grant award if the 
proposals provide services to contiguous areas.

[[Page 5892]]

    4. Additional supportive services grant application requirements 
are specified in the initial application package. Submission of an 
incorrect or incomplete application package will result in the 
application being rejected during threshold review. The application 
packages must 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. 
Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications 
electronically. If mailed, applications and CDs must be submitted to 
the following address: SSVF 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 NOFA, and any additional information or documentation requested by 
VA under 38 CFR 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;
    (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 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.
    3. VA will use the following process to select applicants to 
receive supportive services grants: VA will score all applicants that 
meet the threshold requirements set forth in 38 CFR 62.21 using the 
scoring criteria set forth in 38 CFR 62.22.
    B. Review and Selection Process: VA will review all 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. Rank those applications who score at least 75 cumulative points 
and receive at least one point under each of the categories identified 
for renewal applicants in 38 CFR 62.24. The applications will be ranked 
in order from highest to lowest scores in accordance with 38 CFR 62.25.
    3. Utilize the ranked scores of applications as the primary basis 
for selection. However, in accordance with 38 CFR 62.23(d), VA will 
also utilize the following considerations to select applicants for 
funding:
    (a) Give preference to 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 spend no less than 60 
percent of all budgeted temporary financial assistance on participants 
occupying permanent housing as defined in 38 CFR 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 Annual Homeless 
Assessment Report, annual Point-In-Time Counts and evidence of 
decreased demand for emergency shelter and transitional housing. 
Waivers for the 60 percent requirement may also be requested for 
services provided to rural Indian tribal areas and other rural areas 
where shelter capacity is insufficient to meet local need.
    (b) To the extent practicable, ensure that supportive services 
grants are equitably distributed across geographic regions, including 
rural communities and tribal lands. This equitable distribution 
criteria will be used to ensure that SSVF resources are provided to 
those communities with the highest need as identified by authoritative 
sources such as HUD's Annual Homeless Assessment Report, annual Point-
In-Time Counts and VA Homeless Registry data.
    4. Subject to the considerations noted in paragraph B.3 above, VA 
will fund the highest-ranked applications for which funding is 
available.

VI. Award Administration Information

    A. Award Notices: Although subject to change, the SSVF Program 
Office expects to announce grant recipients for all applicants in the 
fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015 with grants beginning October 1, 
2015. Prior to executing a funding agreement, VA will contact the 
applicants and make known the amount of proposed funding and verify 
that the applicant would still like the funding. Once VA verifies that 
the applicant is still seeking funding, VA will execute an agreement 
and make payments to the grant recipient in accordance with 38 CFR part 
62 and other applicable provisions of this NOFA.
    B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: It is VA 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 research that shows 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 as 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. Research 
supports this approach as an effective means to end homelessness.
    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; providing 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, using 
other Federal resources, such as the ESG, or supportive services grant 
funds to the extent described in this NOFA and 38 CFR 62.34.

[[Page 5893]]

    As SSVF grants cannot be used to fund treatment for mental health 
or substance use disorders, applicants must provide evidence that they 
can provide access to such services to all program participants through 
formal and informal agreements with community providers.
    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. VA shall complete annual monitoring evaluations of each grantee. 
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. All grantees are 
subject to audits conducted by the VA Financial Services Center.
    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. In all cases there should be a 
minimum of 30 days between administration of the two surveys. In cases 
when a brief SSVF intervention results in the first survey being 
administered within 30 days of exit, only one survey shall be provided.
    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 Veteran families when 
compared to extremely low-income Veteran families with incomes below 30 
percent of the area median income.
    6. Organizations receiving renewal awards and that have had ongoing 
SSVF program operation for at least 1 year (as measured by the start of 
initial SSVF services until March 17, 2015) may be eligible for a 3-
year award. 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) and who, in 
addition, receive 3-year accreditation from the Commission on 
Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities in Employment and Community 
Services (CARF), a 3-year accreditation from the Joint Commission in 
Rapid Re-Housing and Prevention, or a 4-year accreditation from the 
Council on Accreditation's (COA) accreditation in Case Management 
services are eligible for a 3-year grant renewal pending funding 
availability (NOTE: Multi-year awards are contingent on funding 
availability). If awarded a multiple year renewal, grantees may be 
eligible for funding increases as defined in NOFAs that correspond to 
years 2 and 3 of their renewal funding.

VII. Agency Contact

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Kuhn, Supportive SSVF 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 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 goals and objectives for the SSVF Program. VA 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 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 
CoC, or a county not currently served by a SSVF grantee.
    5. Veteran families located in a community, as defined by HUD's 
CoC, where current level of SSVF services is not sufficient to meet 
demand of Category 2 and 3 (currently homeless) Veteran families.
    6. Veteran families located in a rural area.
    7. 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 
annualized 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 annualized 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 annualized 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 annualized grant award period, the grantee's cumulative 
requests for supportive services grant funds may not

[[Page 5894]]

exceed 100 percent of the total supportive services grant award.

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. Jose D. 
Riojas, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this 
document on January 28, 2015, for publication.

    Dated: January 29, 2015.
Michael P. Shores,
Chief Impact Analyst, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office 
of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2015-02070 Filed 2-2-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P