Defining Chronic Homelessness

In 2016, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), finalized a rule that defines what chronic homelessness means. The following information is copied directly from HUD documents:

A ‘‘chronically homeless’’ individual is defined to mean a homeless individual with a disability who lives either in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter, or in an institutional care facility if the individual has been living in the facility for fewer than 90 days and had been living in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter immediately before entering the institutional care facility. In order to meet the ‘‘chronically homeless’’ definition, the individual also must have been living as described above continuously for at least 12 months, or on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years, where the combined occasions total a length of time of at least 12 months. Each period separating the occasions must include at least 7 nights of living in a situation other than a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter, or in a safe haven. Chronically homeless families are families with adult heads of household who meet the definition of a chronically homeless individual. If there is no adult in the family, the family would still be considered chronically homeless if a minor head of household meets all the criteria of a chronically homeless individual. A chronically homeless family includes those whose composition has fluctuated while the head of household has been homeless.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) provides very detailed information of the changes on its Website.

Community Partnership Fund open to Applications from Nonprofits

Metro Social Services (MSS) is overseeing Metro government’s Community Performance Funds (CPF) in the area of Financial Security.  Nonprofits are invited to participate in this competitive process with innovative program proposals to address prevention of low-income family housing loss or displacement.

Click the link for detailed CPF Solicitation Information including the following deadlines:

  1. Call for proposals released – February 7, 2018
  2. Pre-application technical assistance workshop:  At Metro Social Services, 2:00 pm on Friday, February 23, 2018.
  3. Intent to Apply –  Email a statement of your intent to apply with partners named and requested grant  amount anticipated to by Wednesday February 28, 2018. 
  4. Submission deadline:  All complete proposals must be submitted by March 23, 2018 at 4:00pm.
  5. Project Presentations – Week of March 29, 2018, depending on the number of proposals.
  6. Evaluation Committee review of proposals – April 2018
  7. Announcement of awards and submission of selected proposals to Mayor’s Office and Department of Finance – April 2018
  8. Metro Council consideration of budget including CPF funding – May/June 2018
  9. Award start date:  CPF departmental Coordinators complete contracts with those receiving grants – July 2018

MSS released the following information:

Financial Security – CPF – Application Information

Announcement of Community Performance Funding (CPF) for Priority Area Financial Security:

Funding is available for non-profits for preventing low-income family housing loss or displacement.

Metropolitan Social Services is coordinating the Financial Security CPF.  Details of requirements and important dates are contained in the CPF Financial Security solicitation available online.

Projects funded under this category will have a specific plan, strategy, and intervention that show promise to result in a measurable change in the problem, or in factors causing the problem, during the grant period.  Examples include implementing an innovative strategy, a promising practice or an evidence-based practice that has been shown to positively address housing loss prevention.

Funding Objectives:  Priority will be given to proposals that focus on preventing housing loss among low-income families with household incomes at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)

Client Eligibility:

  • Families with children
  • Families unstably housed, such as those temporarily living with friends or family, those experiencing an unmanageable rent increase, and those facing eviction, none who have alternative housing resources.
  • Other families in situations defined by the applicant agency if they meet the intent of the grant.

Other CPF Priority Areas and Coordinating Departments include:

Community Health – Metropolitan Public Health Department

Domestic Violence – Metropolitan Office of Family Safety

Youth Violence – Davidson County Juvenile Court

Literacy – Nashville Public Library

Landlords, help us open doors for homeless Veterans

50 communities nationwide have effectively ended Veteran homelessness.

Let’s join that club, Nashville!

We already have a workgroup of local, state, and national partners meeting monthly to improve our collaboration to house even more Nashville Veterans and meet the criteria and benchmarks outlined by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2018.

What we need now is for you to help us identify landlords willing to rent to Veterans who receive subsidies.

Earlier this year, Mayor Megan Barry created a landlord incentive program through the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. Participating landlords are eligible for a lease signing bonus through the VASH program, which combines a rental assistance voucher with case management and clinical services to assist Veterans transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. In addition, the incentive program will pay for some unpaid rent and damages, should a renter leave in bad standing.

How can you help?

  1. Share the information below through social media, with your congregation and your neighborhood association, with your friends and families. Help us reach landlords!
  2. Donate to the How’s Nashville fund to help cover move-in costs.

Our call for landlords:

If you are a landlord/owner and would like to make a unit available to an eligible homeless Veteran, please contact Diana Reado, MDHA VASH Program Outreach Coordinator, at, or by phone at 615-782-3950.

Outcome-oriented solutions

What are successful outcomes for people experiencing homelessness?

For most of us, the answer seems to be a no-brainer: housing.

However, moving people into housing is often an output because the success is to help people improve their situation and reach some form of housing stability. Thus, reaching low recidivism rates is an outcome measure we should pay attention to, especially after one or two years.

The following article, entitled Rethinking Homeless Shelters from the Ground Up, which was recently published by The Atlantic’s CityLab, provides an example of ground-breaking approach of how to design a program that is outcome-driven.

We need new, bold thinking and align it with our funding sources to drive true change that improve people’s lives long-term.

Housing First is not Housing Only

Nashville has some catching up to do when it comes to understanding the Housing First philosophy.

The big “aha” moment usually happens when service provider listen to each other and describe the different levels of support that people need once they are in housing. Some people may be open to participating in comprehensive and intensive wrap-around services that provide mental and physical health services, occupational therapy, financial literacy, and other support. Others may seek assistance with the initial transition from literal homelessness to permanent housing, but over time will do well on their own once they’re linked with mainstream support systems such as health insurance, Food Stamps, Section 8 vouchers, child care, and/or employment services.

Nashville providers often still think that Housing First means moving a person into permanent housing. [Period]. That, however, is Housing Only. Some people may choose to participate in a transitional housing program with intensive services first before they want to lease an own apartment. Others may prefer a group setting over living on their own.

Our role as providers is to truly help people figure out what works for them and assist them with a housing plan that outlines goals based on their current situation.

Housing First is meeting people who experience literal homelessness where they are and walking alongside them to help them obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible and link them with the right level of support services so they are able to maintain their housing long-term. The goal always is to ensure people have the tools they need to remain in housing and avoid to fall back into homelessness.

Collective Impact Convening

Nashville showed up in force at this year’s Collective Impact Convening in Boston, from May 23-25, sponsored by the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and FSG.

Our city was represented by the nonprofit, government, and philanthropic sectors to learn about effective ways to collaborate on solving large-scale, complex social issues.

How’s Nashville is a collective impact initiative that is organized around:

  1. A Common Agenda.
  2. Common Progress Measures.
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities.
  4. Ongoing Communications.
  5. And a Backbone Organization.

With our community’s discussion around strengthening and unifying our governance system around homelessness, we will revamp our How’s Nashville collaborative. It is useful to take time out and think what tools are available to us to make our work meaningful and engaging for all stakeholders.

Collective Impact provides such tools.