Shelter Plus Care Policy Guide: Components

This section briefly describes each of the four S+C components. In addition, a comparison of key elements of the S+C components is contained in Attachment A.

The components are designed to give applicants flexibility in providing housing for homeless persons with disabilities, along with supportive services. With the exception of the SRO component where participants must reside in SRO or efficiency units, assisted units may be of any type, ranging from group homes to apartments. Further flexibility is allowed in that the applicant may design a program that has participants living for a while in a group setting with intensive supportive services then move to another setting, such as a shared apartment, and retain the rental assistance during the term of the grant.

Under all components, supportive services must be available to meet the needs of participants. These may be provided by the applicant, funded by the applicant but provided by a third party, or both funded and provided by a third party.

Tenant-based Rental Assistance (TRA) component

Under the TRA component, an applicant may request funds to provide rental assistance on behalf of program participants who choose their own housing units. If a participant decides to move, he or she may take their rental assistance to the new housing unit.

Applicants may require participants to live in a particular structure for the first year of assistance and in a particular area for the remaining period of assistance, or may require participants to live in a particular area for the entire rental assistance period. Such a requirement may be implemented if it is necessary to facilitate the provision of supportive services.

Sponsor-based Rental Assistance (SRA) component

Under the SRA component, an applicant may request grant funds to provide rental assistance through a contract(s) with a nonprofit organization(s), called a sponsor. The nonprofit organization may be a private nonprofit organization or a community mental health center established as a public nonprofit organization. The units to be used must be owned or leased by the sponsor.

After a grant is awarded, the sponsor may change sites provided the sponsor continues to own or lease the property and the grantee continues to serve the overall number of persons indicated in its approved application. A site change may occur because the sponsor has found it necessary to change the type of housing provided (for example, to lease 6 one-bedroom units rather than one unit that accommodates 6 persons), changes in the availability of units, or other similar reasons.

Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRA) component

Under the PRA component, an applicant may request grant funds to provide rental assistance through a contract with a building owner(s). An applicant must enter into a contract with the building owner(s) for the full five- or ten-year period of assistance. The building owner must agree to accept eligible S+C participants for this time period. Participants must live in an assisted unit in a particular property.

Under the component, applicants may assist units that will be rehabilitated or existing units that do not need to be rehabilitated. If the units are rehabilitated, and the rehabilitation meets the requirements specified on page 9, the applicant may request 10 years of rental assistance. Otherwise, assistance will be for a period of five years.

SRO-based Rental Assistance (SRO) component

Under the SRO component, an applicant may request grant funds to provide rental assistance in an existing SRO setting. The units to be used must be in need of moderate rehabilitation. The rental assistance includes an allowance to pay for debt service to pay off the cost of the moderate rehabilitation over the ten-year grant period.

The component is designed to bring more standard SRO units into the local housing supply and to use those units to assist homeless persons with disabilities. The SRO units might be in a rundown hotel, a vacant motel, a Y, or even in a large, abandoned home. Applicants are encouraged to be creative in searching out suitable SRO dwelling units -- large or small structures.

A similar program, the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation SRO program, has been operating since 1987. The SRO component of the S+C program draws on that experience. Applicants interested in the SRO component should request the booklet titled, "Understanding the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy Program".

While leaving many of the technical features the same, the SRO component improves on the original model in the following ways:

To ensure the provision of supportive services, an element vital to the residential stability of homeless persons with disabilities, the S+C program requires that supportive services be available to participants.

To ensure that the most needy segments of the homeless population are being served, the S+C program requires that participants be homeless persons with disabilities, particularly those with serious mental illness, substance abuse problems, and AIDS or related diseases.

A comparison of the S+C/SRO component and the Section 8 SRO program, which highlights additional differences between the two programs, is contained in Attachment B.