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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between emergency, short-term, transitional, and permanent housing support?

  • Emergency/Short-term housing - this provides an immediate place to stay or a bed to sleep if you become homeless or otherwise experience a housing crisis and have no place to go. This support can typically last no more than two weeks.
  • Transitional housing – this is support that facilitates the movement of individuals and families from homelessness or housing instability to permanent housing within a reasonable amount of time (usually up to 24 months).
  • Permanent housing – this is long-term housing support with no time limit for residence or housing assistance.

How can I or my organization best engage with landlords?

Landlord recruitment and relationship building are critical elements when implementing rental assistance programs. The following includes some best practices for working with landlords who are hesitant about renting to individuals and families with adverse tenant histories, particularly individuals and families receiving some form of rental assistance. 

  • Educate landlords about the benefits of rental assistance: Provide information to landlords about the benefits to them, including efforts the program makes to help assure timely rent payments, and client education on budgets, rent payments, and being a good tenant. As your program develops, providing references from other participating landlords can also be helpful.
  • Be honest and provide references: Landlords will ask questions about prior tenant history, etc. and it's important to educate clients about being honest regarding any past adverse tenant history. Clients should also be able to explain how any past adverse history is in fact, in the past. This could include explaining on their own (or with the help of program staff) that due to changes in their lives and current supports available to them, this will ensure stable future tenancy. If landlord references are not available, ask if the landlord is willing to accept another type of reference. 
  • Build working relationships with landlords: Building working relationships with local landlords is critical. This could include open communication about any tenant-related issues and program staff being available to step in and mitigate issues where needed. Including this layer of support, while primarily for the client, may also encourage landlords to rent to individuals/families with adverse histories, such that the landlord will have an immediate resource available should issues arise.
  • Make it easy for landlords: Where possible, reduce the amount of 'work' the landlord must complete (e.g., paperwork, etc.). Ensure the landlord has a single point of contact for any issues that might arise and encourage partnership relationships with landlords.
  •  A landlord wants long term tenants (in most cases) who pay rent on time, won't disturb the peace and quiet enjoyment of other tenants, will treat the unit (and building) with respect, and will communicate with landlords about any unit issues, such as repairs needed, etc. Therefore, to the extent that any rental assistance program provides support to and educates clients about good tenancy, make sure the landlord is aware that such support exists for clients.  

Additionally, information and resources providing guidance can be accessed here:

HUD’s Landlord Engagement & Recruitment - Additional Resources (May 2015)

Florida Housing Coalition Landlord Collaboration Guidebook: Working with Landlords to Help Households Move Out of Homelessness

What is HOTMA?

Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act, also known as HOTMA, is a ruling to update and modernize the past HUD/HOPWA formula that allocates and distributes funding to jurisdictions. Under the changes, the new funding allocation will be based on: 

  • The number of people living with HIV
  • The number of people living in poverty, and
  • Local fair market rent 

How can I figure out who holds the HOPWA grant in my jurisdiction?

HOPWA funding received by grantees is distributed to various agencies and organizations throughout all US 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC. To find which agency(ies) or organization(s) support HOPWA funded services, you can access that information by clicking here.

Where can I request technical assistance (TA) for HOPWA related services?

You can access the national TA provider for HOPWA support by clicking here via the HUD Exchange.

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) housing assistance allows for Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA), does HOPWA have a similar category?

As described in the RWHAP Policy Clarification Notice 16-02, the service category titled Emergency Financial Assistance most closely relates to the HOPWA activity titled Short Term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility (STRMU) assistance. However, there is a significant difference in the two, which is that EFA is intended to be given as a one-time intervention whereas STRMU can be used for on-going payments up to 21 weeks during a 52-week period. STRMU can be used to cover overdue and ongoing rent, mortgage payments, and/or utilities.

STRMU is designed as a short-term intervention that helps maintain stable housing for households that are experiencing a financial crisis to prevent homelessness. As noted above, another significant difference is that in addition to assisting clients with rent payments, HOPWA STRMU can also help eligible homeowners with their mortgage payments.

More detailed information about how to implement STRMU can be found here.

Are clients who receive non-HOPWA housing assistance eligible for HOPWA assistance?

The restriction that individuals (households) cannot receive HOPWA assistance if they are residing in subsidized housing, means that HOPWA housing subsidy assistance cannot be provided to a household that is also receiving the same type of assistance, at the same time through another federal, local or state source (including HOPWA).

For purposes of this restriction, HOPWA housing subsidy assistance includes, Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), Short-term Rent, Mortgage and Utility (STRMU) assistance, Facility-Based Housing receiving leasing, operating or project-based rental assistance, and in some cases Permanent Housing Placement (PHP). 

What are the best ways state jurisdictions can incorporate housing support and/or HOPWA support into Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) plans?

The simplest way to incorporate housing support into Ending the HIV Epidemic plans is to form a housing subcommittee of your EHE planning committee and invite HOPWA Grantees to participate. If the state has multiple HOPWA Grantees, then the subcommittee should include a representative from each of the Grantees. In order to best represent the interests/needs of the PLWH living in different geographic areas throughout a state, the committee should consider how to adjust the plan for the differing needs of each of those communities factoring in different levels of HOPWA or other housing resources available in those areas.

HOPWA Grantees are expected to conduct needs assessments and must produce annual actions plans, which should help to inform a robust housing portion of any EHE plan. The annual action plan information is likely to contain data on homelessness and on the availability of other resources in those areas. EHE jurisdictions can also review HOPWA grantees’ performance profiles, which are posted annually, and provide details about funding level, the number of households assisted, and types of activities funded. The HOPWA performance profiles can be found here.

Who is the payer of last resort when it comes to housing related issues, RWHAP or HOPWA?

RWHAP is considered the payer of last resort for most all activities, including housing because payer of last resort is written into the statute. The HOPWA regulations indicate that HOPWA is the payer of last resort specifically related to medical costs but does not specify other costs, including housing.

In cases where both programs pay for and deliver housing and housing supports in an area, it is incumbent on both the HOPWA Grantee(s) and RWHAP Recipient(s) to coordinate appropriately, developing joint policies to guide how “payer of last resort” will be implemented for various housing and service activities locally.

What kind of technical assistance (TA) does NASTAD provide?

NASTAD sees that housing is a key component to improving the quality of life for PLWH and those who are vulnerable to HIV. Because of the importance of housing, NASTAD offers TA support on housing-related issues for our members. Our connection to federal partners (HUD/HOPWA, HRSA, and CDC), key stakeholders, and peer jurisdictions provide the opportunity to connect and learn about how to strengthen current housing programs and implement innovative and effective services. If you are interested in receiving TA from NASTAD regarding housing-related issues, please click the button below.

Click Here to Request Technical Assistance