CSBG DCL Innovation in Response to Homelessness

Publication Date: June 5, 2014

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
Division of State Assistance
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447


Community Services Block Grant
Dear Colleague Letter

Re: Innovation in Response to Homelessness

Date: June 5, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

The Office of Community Services (OCS) is issuing Information Memorandum (IM) 135 clarifying a technical issue related to the use of CSBG funds as match for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  As noted in the IM, CSBG funds may be used as match for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs provided that any activities and services supported by the CSBG funds are consistent with all CSBG requirements.

Publication of this IM gives us the opportunity to encourage CSBG grantees to explore and expand efforts to innovate in response to homelessness in your communities.  For example, recent experimentation with housing intervention strategies such as rapid re-housing, which helps individuals and families quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing, may inform and re-invigorate community action endeavors to address homelessness.  Community Action Agencies may offer critical resources for these efforts to be successful.

As noted in IM-135, OCS is collaborating with the Community Action Partnership (CAP) to develop a learning community for the CSBG Network that is focused on effective practices for decreasing family homelessness.   This learning community, comprising 13 agencies representing a diverse group of communities within the CSBG Network, will collaborate over the next year to share ideas and best practices, brainstorm innovations, and experiment in the critical area of family homelessness.  OCS will work with CAP to ensure the products, information, and outcomes from the learning community are available to the Network.  You can learn more about the Decreasing Family Homelessness Learning Community on the Learning Communities Resource Center Visit disclaimer page website.

In addition, OCS encourages the CSBG Network to explore the resources of the U.S. Interagency Council on the Homeless Visit disclaimer page (USICH).  USICH is a collaboration of 19 Federal agencies for the purpose of coordinating the Federal response to homelessness and fostering diverse partnerships at all levels of society to address the problem.  USICH is an essential resource for information on Federal programs and initiatives, public and private partnerships, best practices, and technical assistance, including information specific to the target population of homeless families with children Visit disclaimer page .

The CSBG Network is uniquely positioned to address the intractable problem of homelessness afflicting our communities.  Thank you for your ongoing commitment to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness in your communities.

Jeannie L. Chaffin                                                       Seth Hassett
Director                                                                       Director, Division of State Assistance
Office of Community Services                                     Office of Community Services

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