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Supportive Services and Homelessness Information

Guidelines for Proposing Targeted Units to People who Need Supportive Services (including homeless set-asides)

When applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits that will target units to people who will be offered supportive services, including units targeted to people experiencing homelessness, be prepared to answer the following questions as a part of the underwriting process:

  1. List the organizations who will be referring eligible applicants to the project and describe how the referral process will work.

    1. Best practice: Build into an existing system such as the local coordinated entry system (for people experiencing homelessness). Connect with local Agency of Human Services (AHS) Field Services Directors to learn more.

  2. Show the unmet need in the region for supportive housing for the target population.

    1. Best practice: Use most recent Point In Time figures. Talk with local homeless shelters to get statistics of need by population. Use existing waiting lists of nearby housing (if available).

  3. Who will determine eligibility for homelessness or at-risk of homelessness, and how will it be documented?

    1. Requirement: Use HUD definition (page 1), as stated in the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), and recordkeeping requirements (page 2).

    2. Best practice: Rely on a trusted service provider with experience determining homeless and at-risk eligibility, such as for Shelter Plus Care or other similar programs.

  4. VHFA will be considering the quantity and appropriateness of services offered, based on the intended target population. Identify the services that will be available to tenants and how they will likely be successful with this population. Ideally we’d like to know the programs that fund those services. This doesn’t need to be formalized in an MOU at application stage, but there should be enough discussion between housing and service provider that VHFA can assess the services proposed.

    1. Requirement: Services offered must be voluntary. If a tenant is abiding by the terms of his/her lease, there should be no requirement to participate in services.

    2. Best practice: Have an MOU with one or more service providers that is reviewed annually. The suggested elements of an MOU and a sample MOU are available online. At a minimum we require a letter of support from each partner service agency describing the relationship with the project.

  5. For homeless-targeted units that are proposing to place targeted units in other portfolio developments other than the one currently being applied for, provide an inventory of existing developments and how many units are already supportive housing to show that the new units are additive to the agency’s supportive housing units.

    1. Requirement: Include: development name, total units, number of already supportive housing units, and additional targeted units being proposed. Also, portfolio housing being proposed must be in acceptable proximity to the new development (ie, within the same market or county).

  6. For homeless-targeted units, describe the management company’s connection to the Continuum of Care (if any).

  7. For homeless-targeted units, explain how you anticipate balancing applications from at-risk and literal homelessness.

  8. List any options there are to assist with tenant rent if there is no project-based assistance for targeted units.

  9. For projects proposing to participate in the local Coordinated Entry process:

    1. What’s the history of your organization’s participation? Such as, how long have you participated, in what capacity, and are there committees where your agency is represented?

    2. How will your organization participate in the data sharing component of Coordinated Entry?

    3. What will be the process if no one from the Coordinated Entry waiting list is eligible for the targeted units?

  10. For projects considering a Master Lease model:

    1. Requirement: A master lease is signed by the landlord and the service agency for a term of 6 months or longer. The service agency in turn would sign a lease or occupancy agreement with a tenant for a least 6 months or longer. Some landlords also require the tenant to sign a lease. Both leases must specify all requirements of the tax credit program and any additional requirements of the landlord. The tax credit lease must include a lease addendum for the Violence Against Women Act.

    2. Best practice: We recommended participants start with the HUD Model Lease. It is highly recommended each lease include tax credit requirements (including income and rent restrictions, student rules, accessible units, increase in income, transfers, adding new members, fair housing, optional fees, etc.), lead paint addendum and attach house rules (including smoking and pet policies). A sample Master Lease is available online.

  11. For projects considering a SASH model:

    1. Requirement: Proof that the new SASH units are additive to the state’s inventory of supported units.

    2. Is the proposed project site-based, community complex, or mixed?

      1. Best practice: When targeting units to people who are homeless and using the SASH program to provide services, the site-based model is preferred because community complex and mixed models require individual tenants enroll in Medicare for SASH funding.