Section 1.1: History and Goals of the Shelter Plus Care Program

The Shelter Plus Care (S+C) program is authorized under Subtitle F of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Since 1992, HUD has awarded Shelter Plus Care (S+C) funds to state and local governments and public housing agencies (PHAs) to serve a population that has been traditionally hard to reach - homeless persons with disabilities such as serious mental illness, chronic substance abuse, and/or AIDS and related diseases. The S+C program was built on the premise that housing and services need to be connected in order to ensure the stability of housing for this population. Consequently, S+C provides rental assistance that local grantees must match with an equal value of supportive services appropriate to the target population.

Local S+C projects are typically implemented through partnerships that include:

  • a grantee;
  • one or more nonprofit housing sponsors that own or coordinate leasing of housing for program participants; and
  • a network of supportive services providers.

Program Purpose

The purpose of the program is to provide permanent housing in connection with supportive services to homeless people with disabilities and their families.

The primary target populations are homeless people who have:

  • serious mental illness; and/or
  • chronic problems with alcohol, drugs or both; and/or
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or related diseases.

The program provides rental assistance for a variety of housing choices, accompanied by a range of supportive services funded by other sources.

Program Goals

The goals of the Shelter Plus Care Program are to assist homeless individuals and their families to:

  • Increase their housing stability;
  • Increase their skills and/or income; and
  • Obtain greater self-sufficiency.

Funding Process

Funding for new S+C projects is awarded competitively through HUD's Continuum of Care process to eligible applicants: States, units of local government and public housing authorities (PHAs). Successful applicants become "grantees" once the S+C grant agreement is fully executed.

HUD publishes an annual Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register announcing the combined competition for three homeless assistance programs: Shelter Plus Care, the Supportive Housing Program and the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Program for Homeless Individuals. The total amount allocated to any one of these programs is not determined in advance but depends upon the type of applications received and the competitive ranking of the projects.

Following review of the Continuum of Care applications, HUD selects projects for funding based upon the criteria found in the NOFA. Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Conditional Award. The letter outlines any conditions the S+C applicant must meet before the grant can be executed and program activities can begin. The grant agreement must be signed by both the applicant and HUD. The term of the grant begins as of the date that HUD signs the agreement. (See Section 5.1 for more information on grant start dates.)


The S+C Regulations may be found in Appendix A of this Resource Manual.

Unlike transitional housing programs, no time limit can be placed on tenancy in a S+C assisted unit.

For more information about the Continuum of Care funding process or these programs, please refer to the homepage for homeless assistance. The S+C regulations and helpful "Understanding..." booklets on each of the programs are available for downloading.