The Biden-Harris administration is partnering with states to address homelessness

The Biden-Harris administration is partnering with states to address homelessness

The HHS and HUD Accelerator Program will help states expand services to make it easier for people with complex medical needs to obtain and maintain stable housing

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are announcing that eight states and the District of Columbia (DC) have been selected to participate in a new federal initiative, known as the “Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator” (Accelerator), to help strengthen partnerships across the housing, disability, aging and health sectors; access available federal programs and resources and maximize federal flexibilities to help people keep them healthy.

The accelerator will help eight states and DC unlock critical resources to reduce homelessness by addressing health-related social needs, such as housing-related services. The program provides technical assistance to states implementing guidelines recently issued by HHS regarding clinically appropriate and evidence-based services that may be covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For example, states can support health care access through Medicaid section 1115 demonstrations that provide services such as housing transition services and case management that help people avoid lease violations. In addition, states can provide services that connect people to HUD housing programs by covering short-term housing costs, such as security deposits and rental application fees, for specific transitions.

“No one in America should have to experience homelessness. Today we are taking important steps to help communities better access HHS programs to address homelessness and connect people with housing-related services and supports – which can change lives.” , said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris administration has worked tirelessly to help people experiencing homelessness to provide the necessary services and supports that help them maintain that housing. We will continue to work to strengthen partnerships across the housing, disability, aging and health sectors and do all we can to prevent and tackle homelessness.”

“Since Day One of the Biden-Harris Administration, HUD has worked not only to expand the availability of housing assistance, but to ensure that people experiencing homelessness have access to supportive services so they can transition forever in housing,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “We are proud to partner with HHS and Secretary Becerra to take that work even further.”

The accelerator was announced by HHS and HUD in November 2023 as a competitive technical assistance opportunity for states. States with approved Medicaid section 1115 or section 1915(i) state plan amendment demonstrations that cover housing-related support services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness when clinically appropriate are eligible to apply. As part of their Accelerator application, states were asked to form collaborative teams made up of partners from their health, housing, aging and disability sectors, and describe the status of their implementation of services and supports related to Medicaid-covered housing, their goals under the Accelerator, and areas where technical assistance was needed.

HHS and HUD received an overwhelming response with applications from fifteen eligible states and DC. A rigorous review and evaluation process, including interviews with state teams, led to the final selection of the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • MINNESOTA
  • North Carolina
  • Washington

Over the next twelve months, HUD and HHS will provide these eight states and DC with intensive federal technical assistance and peer-to-peer state exchange opportunities to support their implementation of housing-related clinical services and supports under the their Medicaid programs for people with complex health needs who experience or are at risk of homelessness, including people with disabilities, seniors, people with mental health disorders, people with substance use disorders, and people with other chronic medical conditions.

By receiving this federal technical assistance, these states can improve the coordination and delivery of services such as navigation services, ongoing individualized case management, one-time transition assistance, and home modifications that can help people who experience or are at risk of homelessness to obtain and maintain stable housing. Summaries of each country’s focus areas and goals under the Accelerator can be found here.

The Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator helps meet a federal commitment to “scale housing and supports that meet demand” made in All in: The Biden Administration’s Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, which was developed by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) with input from stakeholders across the US, including people with lived experiences of homelessness. Secretary Becerra serves as Chair of USICH and has made it a priority to expand support services for the prevention and treatment of homelessness.

Last week, HUD announced $3.16 billion in funding to fund 7,000 housing and service projects for people experiencing homelessness – the largest expansion of annual federal funding provided through HUD’s Continuum of Care program in history. In November 2023, HHS, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), published guidance and a framework that clarifies the flexibilities available to states under their Medicaid section 1115 demonstrations or state plan 1915(i) amendments to cover services to help fulfill the right. Enrollees’ health-related social needs, such as housing and food, and to receive matching federal funds for their Medicaid expenditures for those services when clinically indicated. The accelerator will provide tailored support to the eight selected states and DC that are early adopters of these flexibilities.

States not selected to participate in the Accelerator may apply to participate in a related technical assistance opportunity, the National Academy of Health and Housing Institute for State Health Policy (HHI), funded by HHS through the Resources Administration and Health Services. Now in its third year, HHI also supports states pursuing interagency and federal-state-local strategies to increase access to safe, affordable housing and services and supports for people experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Applications for HHI are due on February 13, 2024.

Later this year, HHS, HUD, and USICH will host an in-person meeting for the eight states and DCs participating in the Accelerator, the states that applied but were not selected for the Accelerator, the HHI participating states, and the seven communities participating in the ALL INSIDE initiative. USICH to Address Homeless Homelessness to share and discuss their efforts to align housing, health, and support services to address and prevent homelessness.

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