Home Safe program funding and rules changes

The Home Safe program provides housing services to Adult Protective Services (APS) clients. People are eligible for Home Safe if they 1) are an APS client or in the process of an APS intake, 2) are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, and 3) they voluntarily agree to participate in the program.  Home Safe must prioritize persons who are most likely to fall into homelessness without assistance.

Homelessness and imminent risk of homelessness are: 1) lacking a fixed or regular nighttime address and either living in a shelter, hotel, or motel designed to provide temporary living accommodations, or living in a place not designed for, or ordinarily used for, human habitation; 2) Receiving a court judgment for eviction; 3) receiving a notice to pay rent or quit, or will imminently lose their housing; 4) in a living situation associated with a substantiated report of elder abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.

Home safe eligibility has been expanded to include 1) individuals who are in the APS intake process, 2) individuals who may be served through a tribal social services agency who appears to be eligible for APS, 3) persons who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence including persons who have not yet received an eviction notice, 4) persons who have a primary nighttime residence or living situation that poses an imminent health and safety risk and the individual lack resources to obtain other permanent housing.

Home Safe offers intensive case management, housing stabilization which includes legal assistance; eviction prevention, tenant education, credit repair, cleaning services, hazard removal, assistance with hoarding, and home repairs or modifications; housing navigation; and connection to long term support including referral to the local continuum of care

Home Safe must operate in accordance with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing First principles.  This means that individuals should be connected to housing or housing support without preconditions, services must be voluntary, client choice must be respected, and client cannot be rejected on the basis of income, past evictions, substance abuse, or any other behavior that might indicate a lack of housing readiness.

Homeless prevention can include eviction prevention, which can include short term or one-time financial payments, including payment of back rent, in addition to more substantial case management or other supportive services.

Home Safe should assist participants who are behind in rent with accessing ERAP funds before using Home Safe funds to pay back rent.  This is not requirement for Home Safe eligibility, but is a requirement to use ERAP funds before Home Safe funds for rental assistance.  (ACWDL, October 15, 2021.)