HAND UP HOUSING

Policies and Procedures

Purpose

Selma Community Outreach Ministries Hand Up Housing program will assist eligible homeless and disabled individuals and families obtain and maintain stable housing. HAND UP HOUSING offers case management, housing support, and housing assistance. The HAND UP HOUSING Program will provide case management services to previously homeless individuals to increase income through disability benefits, employment counseling, and social service programs while providing rapid re housing assistance through a scattered-site Rapid Rehousing Program. Housing services will primarily be provided through the rapid rehousing model of assistance, though linkages to permanent supportive housing services shall be made when appropriate and available. 

Target Population

HAND UP HOUSING program will provide services to individuals and families who meet the federaly defined definition of homeless which will be outlined later in this document. The chronically homeless will receive priority with reguard to placement/acceptance into the HAND UP HOUSING program. All individuals will be entered to the program through the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care (FMCOC) and Coordinated Entry System (CES).

Eligibility

HAND UP HOUSING is focused on providing rapid rehousing and housing based supportive services to members of the Fresno County rural community (Selma, Kingsburg, Parlier, Reedley, Sanger, Fowler, Del Rey,and Orange Cove) who are experiencing literal homelessness. In order to qualify for the HAND UP HOUSING program a participant must:

  • meet the federal definition of literal homeless;
  • have a homeless episode that originated from Selma, Kingsburg, Parlier, Reedley, Sanger, Fowler, Del Rey, and/or Orange Cove;
  • meet the income requirement of no more than 50% AMI
  • be entered into the Coordinated Entry System;
  • and be matched to HAND UP HOUSING, through the CES.

Selma Community Outreach Ministries shall review all HAND UP HOUSING referrals received in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition, and if approved, provide services tailored to the needs of each individual participant. All individuals matched to HAND UP HOUSING will then be interviewed and explained the nature of the program, and what services/supports will be available to them to assist in obtaining permanent housing. Clients that are referred but are not approved for HAND UP HOUSING services shall be linked to outside resources, as available.

 

Participant must meet the definition of homelessness as defined by HUD.

 

  1. Individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:
  2. Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation;
  3. Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide rapid re living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state and local government programs); or
  4. Is exiting an institution where (s)he has resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution
  5. Any individual or family who: Is fleeing, or is attempting to flee, domestic violence; has no other residence; and lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing

Step One: Verifying Homelessness under HUD guidelines:

  • Upon receiving referral, the Housing Case Manager will complete the Homeless Certification Form to ensure eligibility prior to participant’s enrollment into the HAND UP HOUSING program.
    • If participant’s homelessness cannot be verified, participant will be linked to outside resources as available.

Step Two: Verifying that Partipant came from an approved rural city:

  • Upon receiving referral, the Housing Case Manager will confirm that the Participant originated from Selma, Kingsburg, Parlier, Reedley, Sanger, Fowler, Del Rey and/or Orange Cove, through any documentation available.

Step Three: Verifying Income Limit:

  • Upon receiving referral, the Housing Case Manager will complete a new Verification of Income to determine eligibility and ensure income is not over 50% AMI.
Intake to Service Procedure

Selma Community Outreach Ministries Hand Up Housing program will ensure the transition from intake to service is as efficient as possible for Participant in need of assistance in order to avoid further destabilization of their household situation.

 

Once the eligibility process has been completed and documented, and the household has been assigned a Case Manager, an intake must be completed.  The purpose of this phase is to ensure RRH services are only directed to those who are eligible and those who have the greatest need, following our coordinated entry system prioritization procedure, outlined in the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care Policies and Procedures guide.

 

Selma Community Outreach Ministries, in transitioning a program client from eligibility to intake, will at time of intake:

 

  • Collect and document relevant documentation (Homeless status, Disability Verification, Income and Assets Verification, etc.), and client data (via the county-specific HMIS Intake Forms)
  • Provide clients with a primary staff point of contact

 

Selma Community Outreach Ministries, in transitioning a participant from intake to service, will at time of service:

 

  • Provide the information and documentation to the participant’s primary staff point of contact/participant case manager
  • Compose a client file and review the client’s information to ensure eligibility, and determine if any follow up is needed prior to submitting the client’s file to the Program Manager for eligibility certification.
  • If Prescreening was completed, the Case Manager must review the screening forms to ensure that the Participant housing is accurately documented.
  • Provide ineligible Participant with appropriate referrals and filed in the Screened Not Enrolled binder
  • Work with the participant to develop a progressive Housing Stability Plan based upon the Housing First Model and designed to meet the unique needs of the client.
  • Provide to the Program Manager the client’s information and documentation for review in order to determine program eligibility
    1. If follow up is needed, the Program Manager will specify what must be corrected in order to certify the client as eligible.
    2. Participant who may reasonably be presumed eligible will not be certified at this time, but may begin to receive services.
Housing First Philosophy

Selma Community Outreach Ministries Programs commit to applying the Housing First Model to all program operations, and is based upon the belief that housing is a basic human right, and will seek to ensure that housing and program services are made available to all program-eligible Participant without preconditions of treatment related to conditions often associated with homelessness such as substance abuse, mental illness, and others.

Selma Community Outreach Ministries Programs acknowledge that immediate housing stabilization is the program’s priority, and will subsequently apply harm reduction techniques and wrap-around case management services to eligible Participants.

  • Upon intake the participant household will be assessed for any barriers to housing.
  • Participant housing will be stabilized or developed regardless of these barriers and any barriers identified will be handled secondary to their housing needs.
  • The Housing Stability Plan will be used to record any barriers and goals will be established.
  • ROI Signed uploaded into CES, HMIS.
  • Case Manager will work with the participant household in order to remove barriers and stabilize their housing.
  • Idenfification /Receipt ( Out of State Okay) ( Can’t be Expired)
  • Social Security Card Reciept
  • Birth Ciertificates/ receipt (not more that 60 days old. )
  • Proof of Income (within 120 days)
  • Homeless Verification (no more thatn 60 days old) if chronic than a supporting letter must be attached.
  • Disability Verification (Within a year) if the Client has SSI/SSDI as income then the disability verictian does not need to be signed by a doctor.

Match Client

  • Upload all documents into HMIS and “Enter Data As” Coordinated Entery
  • Submit Match for into HMIS, send referral to Matcher.
  • Matcher will follow up with and email.

Match Confirmation

  • Print Match Confirmation Form and review options with client.
  • Clietns accepts project , Email form back to Matcher and Community               cordintor, cc the selected houing provider on the email.
  • Update the Community Coordintor once your clients has been housed.
Housing Case Management and Housing Financial Assistance

Upon entry to HAND UP HOUSING, participants will be assigned to a housing case manager who will help them complete the move in process in a scattered-site basis in the approved rural cities. The housing case manager shall work with each participant to create a Housing First Individualized Service Plan (ISP), which will serve as the basis for developing short- and long-term goals for housing stability. Case management will include housing services/support for individuals and their households to ensure their successful transition to permanent housing. Housing services shall be available to participants for the entire length of enrollment with HAND UP HOUSING including a brief transition period after the participant transitions into permanent housing.

 

 

Services:

 

Housing Search and Placement

  • Assessment of housing barriers, needs and preferences
  • Development of an action plan for locating housing
  • Housing search and outreach to and negotiation with owner
  • Assistance with submitting rental applications and understanding leases (collection of Owner’s W-9 form and Lease)
  • Assessment of housing rent reasonableness under Fair Market Rent values
  • Assistance with obtaining utilities and making moving arrangements
  • Tenant counseling

 

Mediation – Mediation between the program participant and the owner or person(s) with whom the program participant is living, to prevent the program participant from losing permanent housing in which they currently reside.

  • Time and/or services associated with mediation activities

 

Housing Financial Assistance:

 

Direct Financial Assistance will commence once a partipant is enrolled in the Hand Up Housing project. Assistance can include:

  • Motel/Hotel costs: Emergency housing on a 3 day period, to be determined on a case by case basis;
  • Rental assistance: Rental subsidy will be paid directly to the landlord. Subsidy will calculated up to 30% of Partipants’ disposable income;
  • Security deposit: – equal to no more than 2 months’ rent.
  • Utility fee assistance, including utility deposit and arrears: – up to 12 months of utility payments per participant per service (i.e. gas, electric, water/sewage), including a 1 time payment up to 6 months of arrearages, per service and/or standard utility deposit required by the utility company for all customers (i.e. gas, electric, water/sewage).
  • Moving/Storage costs: moving costs, such as truck rental or hiring a moving company, including certain temporary storage fees
  • Landlord Fees/Background Checks: application fee that is charged by the owner to all applicants.

 

HAND UP HOUSING financial assistance will follow all Federal & State ESG requirements and qualifications. 

 

The Selma Community Outreach Ministries programs shall make services available that support participants to maintain successful tenancy and begin to engage in recovery and rehabilitative goals, including employment, education, social/recreation, and establishing natural and supportive networks. Case management services shall be proactive rather than reactive. This means that Hand Up Housing case managers are expected to and shall be measured on aggressively seeking out, contacting, interacting with, and following up with participants to provide “intensive case management.”

 

In addition, case management consists of successfully completing all the activities associated with the work for a given case, including immediate documentation of service notes in HMIS as reportable evidence of work, even if that work is an unsuccessful attempt to contact a participant.

 

Selma Community Outreach Ministries is committed to truly “managing” the entire case, not just a client. This means challenging and justifying all services, not merely providing the maximum “benefit” to each client.

 

Assistance will be available for the following activities and tasks as part of services authorized and arranged the program:  

 

  • Obtaining entitlements and benefits
  • Assistance with appointments
  • Accessing social and recreational opportunities
  • Pursuing employment or education goals
  • Continued engagement with supports and services
  • Intervening early in housing and landlord issues
  • Updating assessment and service plan to reflect current needs and interests
  • Skill building to promote competence and self-sufficiency in managing apartment
    1. Financial literacy, budgeting, paying rent and bills
    2. Apartment maintenance/upkeep
    3. Household and personal safety
    4. Good neighbor
    5. Conflict resolution
    6. Developing supportive and positive relationships
  • Service linkage and coordination

 

 

The Program Managers are responsible for ensuring Case Manager case management policy and procedure in their respective RRH programs, ensuring that Case Manager are educated about the process and adhere.

 

The staff is responsible for adhering to this policy and periodic training will be held on the policy and procedure.

 

Phased Case Management:

 

In order to ensure that Participant have been sustainably stabilized to the best of our ability, Selma Community Outreach Ministries will utilize a phased approach to exiting and case managing a participant who have met participation requirements:

 

  • Active Case Management (ACM) – ACM entails regular contact, sustained efforts to stabilizing the participant’s housing situation, and active pursuit of additional community resources for the participant’s benefit.
    1. When ACM should be used: When a participant first enters the program, until the point that their Case Manager believes that their housing situation has been reasonably stabilized.

 

How to Transition a participant from ACM to Passive Case Management (PCM):

  • Compose a letter reflecting the transition from active to passive case management (see attached example), with one copy going into the participant’s file, and another delivered to the participant. This letter should note, at a minimum:
  • Reasons for transition into Passive Case Management (EG: excellent progress in achieving housing stability).
  • How often they will be contacted in the future in order to monitor sustained progress (the standard will be 1x/month by phone or other means if necessary).
  • Their Participant Advocate’s contact information in case the participant needs anything (phone, email, physical address).
  • Document in a case note the transition from ACM to PCM and file in the notes section of the participant’s file.
  • Passive Case Management (‘PCM’) – Passive Case Management entails a staff member contacting the client by phone (or other means as necessary) once per month in order to monitor the participant’s housing stability. The dates and times of these contacts should be documented in the case notes/file, as well as any pertinent updates regarding the participant’s housing stability.  During this phase of service, the participant may continue to contact the PSH program at any time should they require assistance.
  • Note: Participant may be transferred from PCM to ACM whenever necessary, as determined by either the Case Manager or program manager.
  • Note: Case management is a required Supportive Service offered. This is to be completed (per Program Requirement) the minimum of one time a month.
Exit Procedure

HAND UP HOUSING staff may terminate assistance to a program participant who violates program requirements.  In terminating assistance to a participant HAND UP HOUSING staff will provide a formal written notice containing reason for termination.

Participant who has exited the HAND UP HOUSING program will be given written notice of program completion. All exit data collection will then be updated and entered into Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

Selma Community Outreach Ministries programs will strive to ensure that Participants are stably and sustainably housed prior to exiting them from the program.

Reasons for exiting a client:

  • Participant voluntarily withdraws from the program
  • Failure to supply required information and/or intentional misrepresentation of family’s income, preferences, or allowable deductions at the initial eligibility interview or annual reexamination will be considered fraud, and will be ground for immediate termination of the family’s assistance
  • Selma Community Outreach Ministries program will terminate assistance to participants who refuse to enter into repayment agreements for amounts owed to the program
  • Selma Community Outreach Ministries program will terminate assistance to participants who fail to make three consecutive payments under an existing repayment agreement
  • Failure to allow Selma Community Outreach Ministries program staff to inspect the unit
  • Violent or Drug-related criminal activity. (Drug-related criminal activity includes the use, possession, transport, purchase or sale of any controlled substance, whether or not the activity occurs in or near the assisted unit. The Selma Community Outreach Ministries program will make its decision regarding the termination of assistance based on the preponderance of evidence indicating that a family member has engaged in such activity, regardless of whether the family member has been arrested or convicted.
  • Criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking shall not be considered cause for termination of assistance for any participant or immediate member of a participant’s family who is a victim of the domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
    1. If an incident or incidents of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence or stalking occur that may affect a tenant’s participation in the housing program, the Selma Community Outreach Ministries program will request in writing that the individual complete, sign and submit, within 14 business days of the request, a HUD-approved certification form.
    2. On the form, the individual certifies that he/she is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, and that the incident or incidences in question are bona fide incidences of such actual or threatened abuse.
    3. On the certification form, the individual shall provide the name of the perpetrator. Nothing limits Selma Community Outreach Ministries program from terminating assistance for other good cause unrelated to the incident or incidents of domestic violence, provided that the victim is not subject to a more demanding standard than non-victims.
  • Participant exhibits threatening or abusive behavior. The staff member observing the behavior should immediately cease contact with the participant and report the behavior to the Program Director/Coordinator.  Threatening or abusive behavior is grounds for immediate exit from the program (after consultation with the Program Director/Coordinator) regardless of whether written warnings have been issued to the client previously.  Such incidents should be thoroughly documented.
  • If a participant’s actions pose a health or safety risk to that participant or another person, the grantee must notify the police or another appropriate authority. Once the appropriate authority has been alerted, the case manager should notify their supervisor about a critical incident involving a participant as soon as possible, but within a timeframe not to exceed 2 hours after the incident has been made per Selma Community Outreach Ministries’s policy.
    1. Regardless of the reason for exiting a participant, the case manager assigned to them is required to complete an exit summary to include:
    2. A summary of the case
    3. Progress made throughout the client’s participation in the program
    4. The client’s reason for exiting the program (if the client is stably and sustainably housed, the case manager should elaborate on why they believe that the client’s housing situation is both stable and sustainable)
    5. Dates for follow up contact (if possible)
Grievances

To provide persons served a process of grievance and appeal related to decisions made by staff and/or the treatment team on behalf of the persons served and, that clients are educated about the process and have access to it.

Selma Community Outreach Ministries shall allow all persons served the opportunity to grieve and appeal decisions of the staff and treatment team when clients feel their human rights and civil liberties are endangered. The staff will educate clients about the process and ensure access to it.

The staff is responsible for adhering to this policy, orienting each person served to the procedure and allowing all persons served the right to use the process.

Grievance Defined:  Grievance means any complaint about treatment, including assessment, intervention, and decisions about placement and discharge as well as any complaint concerning staff or operations.

The following general procedures are followed:

  • All clients will be given a copy of the grievance form during orientation with an accompanying verbal explanation of the process. Clients will be informed both in writing and verbally that a grievance may be filed for any reason, with cause. Additional copies of the grievance forms are available at all times upon request by the client.
  • Any initial questions or concerns will be addressed at time of orientation.
  • The signed Acknowledgement of Understanding Client Grievance Process form will be placed in the client’s file.

The grievance process includes the following steps:

  • Client/Case Manager: The client is directed to talk about the complaint with the staff member involved or responsible for the area of concern.  Together they try to solve the matter informally.  The case manager will assure the person served the grievance will not result in discharge or reprisal and if the person served requests help in preparing the written grievance, will arrange staff assistance.
    1. If an informal approach does not resolve the grievance, the persons served will present the grievance to their case manager in written form. The case manager will conduct a meeting with the aggrieved person(s) served within five (5) working days of the written grievance being received and provide an opportunity for the client to discuss all concerns. Thereafter, the case manager will furnish to the client a written response within five (5) working days after the meeting.
  • Client/Case manager/Program Director: If the grievance is not resolved, the client may request a meeting with the Program Director and all parties involved in Step A.  The Program Director will schedule and hold the meeting within five (5) working days of the client’s request and provide an opportunity to discuss all concerns.   Thereafter, the Program Director will furnish to the client a written response within five (5) working days after the meeting.
  • All parties & President/CEO: If the grievance is still not resolved, the client may request a meeting with the President/CEO and all parties involved in Step C.  The President/CEO will schedule and hold the meeting within ten (10) working days prior to the next regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting and provide an opportunity to discuss all concerns.   Thereafter, the President/CEO will furnish to the client a written response within two (2) days of the meeting.  The President/CEO may include other appropriate management staff in the meeting in other to expedite resolution of the complaint.
  • All parties & Board of Directors: If the grievance is still not resolved, the client may request a meeting with the Board of Directors and all parties involved in Step D. The meeting with the Board of Directors will be held at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting and a final decision issued. Thereafter, the Board of Directors will furnish to the client a written response within five (5) days of the meeting.  The decision of the Board of Directors is final.
Data Collection

The HAND UP HOUSING program is required to input participant data into the following databases. HAND UP HOUSING staff will pull HAND UP HOUSING Annual Progress Reports (APR) on a monthly basis and provide quarterly reports to the County/ State. To ensure data reliability, advocates and case manager will input data in a timely manner in each of the database below.

            – Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)

Non-Discrimination

No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, religion, national origin or sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available through any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Selma Community Outreach Ministries is responsible for establishing and maintaining that its programs, its sub-recipients, and their contractors will comply by the requirements of the following as applicable: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, Federal Executive Order 11246 as amended, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 as amended, and the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Any complaints of discrimination should be directed to HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO).

Accommodations for People with Disabilities

In accordance with Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Selma Community Outreach Ministries’ programs will make reasonable accommodation to the known disabilities of otherwise qualified applicants or participants with disabilities, unless the program can show that the accommodation would impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of its program. “Reasonable accommodation” means any change or adjustment to the program that permits a qualified applicant or participant with a disability to participate equally in the program. However, any particular change or adjustment would not be required if, under the circumstances involved, it would result in an undue hardship. “Undue hardship” means significant difficulty or expense relative to the operation of the program. Where a particular accommodation would result in an undue hardship, Selma Community Outreach Ministries must determine if another accommodation is available that would not result in an undue hardship.

Confidentiality

Selma Community Outreach Ministries HAND UP HOUSING staff will not share or obtain any participants’ information prior to signing a release of information (ROI) or written consent. Upon enrollment participant will be informed of federal confidentially laws and the appropriate releases will be signed when appropriate.

Consent for Release of Information will contain, at a minimum, the following:

  1. Name of person, agency, or organization requesting information
  2. Name of facility releasing information
  3. Name of person about whom information is to be released
  4. Content: Specific information to be disclosed
  5. Purpose of the information
  6. Signature of person legally authorized to sign the release and date signed
  7. Expiration: date or event, or condition upon which the authorization expires
  8. Revoke: information as to how and when the authorization can be revoked.
Amendments to Program Rules:

Selma Community Outreach Ministries, Hand Up Housing Policies and Procedures is a living document and is subject to change to reflect program changes/requirements to meet program objectives.