News & Announcements
Two webinars hosted by Tennessee Department of Health’s HOPWA program can be viewed at the following links
The presentation recording for the HOPWA Program Overview can be viewed on the End the Syndemic TN youtube page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P3cFJMOC28
The presentation and recording for the HIV and Housing can be viewed on the End the Syndemic TN youtube page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc4j9WRdOYA
WHAT IS HOPWA?
The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program was established under the AIDS Housing Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 12901) in 1990 and amended by the Housing Community Development Act of 1992. The HOPWA program is the only Federal program dedicated to addressing the housing needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. The program is designed to provide States and localities with the resources and incentives to devise long-term comprehensive strategies for meeting housing and supportive service needs to help low-income persons and their households with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV) establish or maintain affordable and stable housing, reduce their risk of homelessness, and improve their access to health care and supportive services.
For More Info see HUD Exchange: https://www.hudexchange.info/
The goal of the program is to provide housing assistance and eligible supportive services for income-eligible individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families to establish or better maintain a stable living environment in housing that is decent, safe, and sanitary; to reduce the risk of homelessness; and to improve health and other quality of life outcomes.
The HOPWA program is administered by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), which receives annual formula grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). TDH contracts with Project Sponsor(s) for the delivery of service, serving the State's 79 counties HOPWA Service Delivery Areas. Note: TDH’s service area does not include 16 counties served by the Eligible Metropolitan Statistical Area (EMSA) entitlements (Nashville EMSA (13 counties) and Memphis EMSA (3 counties)).
CONSOLIDATED PLANNING AND REPORTING PROCESS:
The Department of Health works with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to administer the four formula grants from HUD: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Program, Emergency Solutions Grants Program (ESG) and HOPWA. As a requirement of receiving funds, each award recipient must submit annual updates and status reports regarding grantee performance. This information is integrated into an annual Consolidated Planning document and submitted to HUD.
In addition, each award participant must submit an updated status report HUD Form -40110-D. The Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) provides annual performance reporting on client outputs and outcomes that enable an assessment of grantee performance in achieving the housing stability outcome measure. The CAPER, in conjunction with the Integrated Disbursement Information System (IDIS), fulfills statutory and regulatory program reporting requirements and provides the grantee and HUD with the necessary information to assess the overall program performance and accomplishments against planned goals and objectives.
TN Housing Development Agency: http://thda.org/
HOPWA SERVICE PROVIDERS
HOPWA applicants were awarded funding through a competitive application process in 2016 facilitated by Department of Health, The applicants include Chattanooga CARES, Columbia CARES, Frontier Health/HOPE for TN, Nashville CARES, Positively Living and West Tennessee Legal organizations (WTLS).
See Tennessee State Map for details about locations for HOPWA Service Providers.
The TDH authorizes HOPWA-approved activities through the following programs:
Administrative Costs: Indirect costs (IDC) for general management, oversight, coordination, evaluation, and reporting. By statute, grantee administrative costs are limited to 3% of the total grant award, to be expended over the life of the grant. Project sponsor administrative costs are limited to 7% of the portion of the grant amount they receive.
STRMU: Short-Term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Assistance (STRMU) provide short-term rent, mortgage, and utility payments to households experiencing a financial crisis as a result of their HIV health condition or a change in their economic circumstances. STRMU is designed to prevent households from becoming homeless by helping them remain in their dwellings. This program enables income-eligible individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families at risk of becoming homeless to receive short-term assistance for a period not to exceed 21 weeks’ worth of assistance in any 52-week period. These payments are for eligible individuals and their household beneficiaries who are already in housing and who are at risk of becoming homeless.
TBRA: Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) is a voucher rental subsidy used to help low income-eligible clients living with HIV/AIDS and their households until they can secure/obtain other permanent, affordable, and stable housing. With TBRA, a household pays a determined portion of the rent based upon family income and other requirements while the HOPWA program pays the difference. The gross rent of the proposed unit must be at or below the lower of the rent standard or the reasonable rent.
SS: Supportive services (SS) are important tools in helping program participants to stabilize their living situations and help address care needs of persons living with HIV infection. TDH HOPWA Program limits the use of supportive services to non-medical case management, advocacy, coordination of benefits, legal services, life skills management, nutritional services (including meals), medical health services, outreach, and transportation. Supportive Services may be provided in conjunction with HOPWA housing assistance or as a stand-alone service (Supportive Services Only).
Housing Case Management - Housing Case Management (CM) is a sub-set of supportive services and is considered a central component of HOPWA supportive services and the key to successful program outcomes for housing stability and access to care. “Housing case management” is similar to regular, holistic case management that has housing be the central emphasis of a case manager’s work, including evaluation of housing options, housing stability, and housing specific goals. Housing Case Management must also focus on,but are not limited to, comprehensive housing needs assessment, housing stabilization plan, improve access to health care and other support through other public and private resources. Housing Case Management may be provided in conjunction with HOPWA housing assistance services or as a standalone service.
PHP: Permanent Housing Placement (PHP) is used to help households establish permanent residence in which continued occupancy is expected. Eligible costs include application fees, related credit checks, utility hookup fees and deposits, and reasonable security deposits necessary to move persons into permanent housing not to exceed the amount equal to 2 months of rent.
FBHA: Facility-Based Housing Assistance (FBHA) provides unit-specific assistance for HOPWA eligible households. The TDH HOPWA Program limits the use of FBHA to Short-Term Supportive Housing (STSH) and Transitional Supportive Housing (TSH).
STSH (i.e. emergency housing, hotel/motel, etc.): is available to eligible households who are or are facing homelessness while working on a permanent housing plan. STSH assistance is capped at a period of 60 days in any 6 month period.
HIS: Housing Information Services (HIS) include, but are not limited to, counseling, information, and referral services to assist households with locating, acquiring, financing, and maintaining housing. This may also include fair housing guidance for households that have encountered discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, familial status, or disability.
RI: Resource Identification (RI) encompasses activities that establish, coordinate, and develop housing assistance resources for eligible households (including preliminary research and expenditures necessary to determine the feasibility of specific housing-related initiatives).
HOPWA APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS:
Low–income persons that are medically diagnosed with HIV or AIDS and their families are eligible to receive HOPWA funded assistance. Applicants are screened for eligibility based on jurisdiction and household income levels. The amount of household income to be eligible may change annually by HUD, and therefore requires the disclosure of all family income to HOPWA personnel to identify eligibility status. Failure to provide the required documentation will result in a denial of HOPWA services until documentation is presented.
The TDH HOPWA Program uses standardized program and service forms to assist Project Sponsors with program enrollment and service delivery. TDH Project Sponsors are required to use the TDH HOPWA Program forms unless otherwise noted in the TDH HOPWA Program Manual. On April 25, 2019, TDH updated the TDH HOPWA Program forms. Full implementation is required by July 1, 2020.
HISTORY OF HOPWA SERVICES IN TENNESSEE:
HUD suggests planning occurs at the project sponsor level as well as grant management levels. During the 1996 grant year, the State (Facilitated through Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) was notified that two of its metropolitan regions (Memphis and Nashville) qualified as Eligible Metropolitan Statistical Areas (EMSAs) for HOPWA formula allocations beginning in FY 1997. At that time, Tennessee revised the geographic breakdown for HOPWA services into seven regions, which include every county in the State not supported by the two EMSAs. Each of the seven (7) regions has one not-for-profit agency that is the Project Sponsor for HOPWA. The not-for-profit organizations were selected using the RFGP process.
In the winter of 2003, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released updated service areas, along with HOPWA formula jurisdictions based on the 2000 Census. The update had been conducted periodically since that time, and by 2005, sixteen counties had been removed from the State’s service area and relocated to the metropolitan statistical area of Nashville EMSA. These include Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson counties. Additionally, Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton counties became the responsibility of Memphis EMSA.
The RFGP process for HOPWA is based on a five-year cycle, with the latest being concluded in 2016. The contracts for these agencies are renewed annually for up to five years. However, the State of Tennessee reserves the right to terminate a contract should there be a substandard performance by a Project Sponsor. In the event a contract is terminated, the State will solicit new agency proposals. The Department of Health is contracting with established not-for-profit agencies that continually show both the capability to plan for, as well as the ability to provide, direct intervention and housing assistance to eligible clients and their families.
Proposals were submitted by the Project Sponsors and evaluated on criteria such as technical services, organization and experience, and budget reasonableness, to name a few. Funds were originally awarded as available to sponsors who submitted proposals that best met, or exceeded the required criteria and provided a detailed budget, which best met the needs of HOPWA clients. Renewal of the contract is determined by periodic evaluation of the Project Sponsors achieving, or exceeding the requirements outlined in the Scope of Services, which is found in each Project Sponsor’s contract. There were remote (desk audit and on-site reviews that tracked conformance to historical factors. The purpose of this risk appraisal was to identify any patterns of non-conformance to HUD rules: 1) timeliness monthly invoices and CAPER reporting; 2) review of the previous program on-site audit documentation; 3) where non-conformance identified, resolution of ID issues, 4) historical accuracy of CAPER reporting and forecasting assumptions for the program and fiscal plans and draw-downs.
In December 2019, a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China, causing outbreaks of the coronavirus disease COVID- 19 that has now spread globally. The first case was reported in the United States in January 2020. In March 2020,the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and President Trump declared the outbreak a national emergency. During this time, the majority of states have declared states of emergency with most shutting down large gathering places and limiting the movement of their residents.
As a consequence, many CPD recipients must quickly shift their operations or focus to respond to resident needs and perform services safely. Throughout Spring 2020, HUD issued program guidance,activity waivers, and CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), allocations to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tennessee sought and received the waivers as they relate to the HOPWA program and the Consolidated Plan to address regulatory barriers to implement funding.
If I have any additional questions, whom should I contact?
TDH HOPWA Director: 615-532-7914
See Tennessee State Map for details about locations for HOPWA Service Providers.