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HUD Posts Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus for ESG, CoC, and HOWPA Programs

HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) on August 11 posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the use of supplemental CARES Act funds in three programs: Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Continuum of Care (CoC), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS.

The ESG FAQ includes six questions/answers specific to ESG. Q3 and Q4 state that ESG Street Outreach and Emergency Shelter funds, respectively, may be used to provide essential services and supplies to reduce the spread of infectious disease. Examples include equipping staff with masks, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and other personal protective equipment. Funds may be used to pay for train or bus tokens, taxi or rideshare for assisted people to travel to and from medical care. Funds may also purchase washers, dryers, and portable handwashing stations.

The CoC FAQ has 14 questions specific to CoC, eight of which reinforce or clarify a Memorandum from March 31 (see Memo, 4/6). Q1 and Q2 refer to the March 31 waiver allowing assistance to be greater than the Fair Market Rent (FMR) in a metropolitan area. For a lease executed above the FMR, the over-FMR assistance may be provided for the term of the lease and any subsequent automatic lease extension executed before September 30, 2020. The over-lease waiver provision of the memorandum does not, however, apply to rental assistance. Five questions apply to disability documentation for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). Q13 states that CoC program recipients and subrecipients may purchase cell phones and wireless service plans for people in their programs, as long at the recipient or subrecipient owns the phone and service contract, loaning them to the person while stay-at-home or social distance orders are in effect. The goal is to help people obtain and retain housing, engage with case managers, and participate in mental health services or outpatient services.

The HOPWA FAQ includes 20 questions specific to HOPWA, five reinforcing or clarifying a Memorandum from March 31 (see Memo, 4/6). Other questions address a range of issues, such as Q5, which indicates that grantees may postpone annual housing inspections due to safety concerns. In Q6, HUD encourages grantees and project sponsors to conduct remote home visits, income verifications, case management, and other activities via telephone, video-conference calls, and email. Q18 allows grantees and sponsors to assist people by placing them in motels/hotels for more than the usual 60 days over a six-month period if there are coronavirus-related health and safety concerns.

The ESG FAQs are at: https://bit.ly/2FmUDJP

The CoC FAQs are at: https://bit.ly/30V9t2t

The HOPWA FAQs are at:  https://bit.ly/3fVI8RQ

More information about ESG and CoC is on page 4-82 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates Guide.

More information about HOPWA is on page 4-79 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates Guide.