Section 1.2: Shelter Plus Care Program Components

Shelter Plus Care grants can be used to provide rental assistance in four ways. The S+C program components are:

1. Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TRA)

This component provides initial five-year grants for rental assistance. Participants choose their own housing and retain the rental assistance if they move.

Grantees may limit where participants may live if necessary to facilitate the coordination of supportive services. Grantees may require participants to live in a specific area for their entire period of participation, or in a specific structure for the first year and in a specific area for the remainder of the period of participation.

2. Sponsor-Based Rental Assistance (SRA)

The SRA component provides grants for rental assistance through contracts between the grant recipient and sponsor organizations.

A sponsor may be a private, nonprofit organization or a community mental health agency established as a public nonprofit organization.

Participants reside in housing - a single structure or scattered sites - owned or leased by the sponsor. The original term of the grant between HUD and the grant recipient for SRA is five years.

3. Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRA)

PRA provides grants for rental assistance to the owner of an existing structure, where the owner agrees to lease the subsidized units to participants.

Rental subsidies are provided to the owner for a period of either five or ten years. Participants do not keep the rental assistance if they move.

To qualify for ten years of rental subsidies, the owner must complete at least $3,000 of eligible rehabilitation for each unit (including the unit's prorated share of work to be accomplished on common areas or systems) to make the structure decent, safe, and sanitary. This rehabilitation must be completed within 12 months of grant award.

4. Moderate Rehabilitation for Single Room Occupancy Dwelling (SRO)

The SRO component provides grants for rental assistance for 10 years in connection with the moderate rehabilitation of single room occupancy housing units.

Resources to initially fund the cost of rehabilitating the dwellings must be obtained from sources other than the S+C grant. Once rehabilitation has been completed, the rental assistance covers operating expenses of the rehabilitated SRO units, including debt service to retire a portion of the eligible costs of the rehabilitation over a ten-year period.

SRO assistance may also be used for efficiency units selected for rehabilitation under this program, but the gross rent (contract rent plus any utility allowance) for those units can be no higher than for SRO units.

Click here for more information on how S+C differs from HUD's Supportive Housing Program. Click here for a side-by-side comparison of Shelter Plus Care and Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation for SROs.

Some Considerations in Choosing Among S+C Components

The four S+C components offer a range of housing options to suit the priorities of local project grantees and sponsors and to provide choices to participants. Each component offers opportunities, but may pose challenges, to local homeless assistance providers. Some of the potential trade-offs among components include:

  • Tenant-based rental assistance (TRA) may broaden S+C participants' housing choices, but you need to consider how the location of the housing participants choose will affect service delivery. Also, grantees with TRA projects need to consider the availability of private housing in their local housing market and the willingness of landlords to lease to S+C participants.
  • The sponsor-based rental assistance (SRA) component can provide valuable housing resources to nonprofit supportive service providers working with clients who are homeless and disabled. However, it is important to make sure that staff responsible for case management are not also charged with potentially conflicting responsibilities for lease enforcement.
  • A Single Room Occupancy (SRO) or Project-based Rental Assistance (PRA) with rehabilitation grant can help a community preserve or upgrade affordable housing for homeless people with disabilities. In the SRO component, a key challenge is securing the up-front financing for the rehabilitation, since S+C funds cannot be used for this purpose. In the case of a PRA with rehabilitation, a willing property owner with a suitable property must be identified.


In some cases, it may be helpful for participants to change their living arrangements within the S+C Program. For example, a person first entering the program may need concentrated services and might benefit by living in a group situation. After they have stabilized and need fewer services, they may move to a more independent living situation in their own apartment.