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State Letter #09-27

Updated SL 09-14: Guidance on Requests for Approval of 45 CFR 400.155(h) "Other services”

Published: August 14, 2009
Types:
State Letter
Tags:
housing emergency, emergency

TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
WILSON/FISH ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMS
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY AGENCIES

FROM: Eskinder Negash
Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement

SUBJECT: Updated SL 09-14: Guidance on Requests for Approval of 45 CFR 400.155(h) "Other services”

This letter extends through FY 2010 the guidance provided in State Letter 09-14 to those entities responsible for statewide refugee programs regarding approval to provide transitional housing assistance for refugees using Refugee Social Services (RSS) formula program funds in accordance with regulatory provisions at 45 CFR 400.155(h), “any additional service.”

State entities experiencing problems in finding affordable and available housing for refugees are advised that ORR regulations at 45 CFR 100.154 and 100.155 allow any entity that is responsible for the statewide refugee resettlement program to request approval from the Director of ORR to use RSS funds to provide any service not specifically contained in regulation. This option applies only if the plan for providing transitional housing assistance: does not result in an absence of funding to provide other crucial employability and support services; directly improves the likelihood of refugee employment and self-sufficiency; does not supplant other available funding that could be used for the same purpose; and is dispensed according to stringent criteria related to need and time frame for assistance. All funds for these services must be used for direct assistance and not for any administrative or indirect costs.

States should request approval using Request Procedures provided here while retaining cognizance of implications for their clients’ eligibility for other public assistance programs should transitional or emergency housing assistance count as income.

Request Procedure:

States that wish to provide transitional refugee housing assistance in accordance with 45 CFR 400.155(h) must submit a request to the Director demonstrating that the program meets the above requirements. In particular, the request should describe:

  1. Gaps in existing housing resources in the affected community(ies) and reasons for refugees’ inability to access them;
  2. Needs assessment used to determine scope of services and target caseload, e.g., job loss or reduction in work hours, no cash assistance, etc.;
  3. Amount of funding the agency proposes to allocate to housing services;
  4. Procedures for administering housing services and ensuring equitable access to applicants, including:
    a. eligibility criteria;
    b. maximum and minimum time frames;
    c. maximum and minimum benefit amounts;
    d. method of delivery of assistance (e.g., vendor payment, etc.); and
    e. tracking mechanisms for ensuring accountability and data reporting.
  5. Assurance that services will be provided in a manner that does not supplant other funds available for the same purpose.States approved to use RSS for housing assistance must report on the progress of housing assistance services in the ORR-6 Performance Report.

Please direct your questions to Pamela Green-Smith, Director, Division of Refugee Assistance (202-401-4531 or Pamela.greensmith@acf.hhs.gov). Thank you.