The Ultimate 2023 Guide to Homeless Assistance Grants

Right now, more than half a million Americans are homeless. Youth, veterans, aging populations, and individuals with disabilities are particularly at risk of being unable to secure affordable, stable housing. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that on any given night, more than 40,000 unaccompanied youth aged 13 – 25 are without housing. Many of these individuals rely on rental assistance, vouchers, emergency shelter, and public housing programs.

Thankfully, numerous public and private organizations provide various layers of support to homeless individuals and families. There are currently more than 11,000 organizations providing community housing and shelter to homeless individuals in the U.S., and that value has risen by 1% since 2017, according to IBISWorld industry trends.

But some experts believe that growth rate may not be enough, positing that America’s homelessness crisis is primed to get worse before it gets better. The incidence of chronic homelessness, for example, rose by 20% between 2020 and 2021.

So the key question is: How can communities expand homeless assistance programs to support a growing volume of individuals and families in need of affordable housing and supportive services? This comes down to funding.

Local governments may vote to increase general fund allocations to support social services and community-based efforts, and nonprofits steward donor relationships to rally philanthropic support, but the majority of homeless assistance funding comes from the Federal Government. Many states, cities, counties, territories, tribal governments, and nonprofits are eligible to apply for federal homeless assistance grants.

The Ultimate 2023 Guide to Homeless Assistance Grants

2023 Federal Homeless Assistance Grants

1. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: States, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides annual funding to communities to help expand affordable housing, livability, and economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income populations. The funds can be used to provide stable housing, reduce blight and economic distress in communities, expand public services, and develop or improve public infrastructures including homeless shelters and rehabilitation facilities.

Program Eligibility: States, cities, and counties are eligible to apply for CDBG grants. At least 70% of the CDBG funds must be used for initiatives benefitting low- and moderate-income populations. While HUD does not issue CDBG funding directly to businesses, nonprofits, or individuals, many municipalities offer smaller CDBG subgrants, such as neighborhood improvement grants or small business economic relief grants, to private nonprofits and eligible civic groups.

2. Continuum of Care Program (CoC)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits, States, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program provides regions or localities with additional monetary support to establish a planning body that coordinates service delivery for homeless individuals. CoC’s perform outreach, intake, and vulnerability assessments, and provide emergency shelter, transitional or permanent housing, and supportive services to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The CoC program aims to streamline and coordinate fair resource utilization across a geographic area while helping quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families.

Program Eligibility: Nonprofits, states, and local governments can apply for CoC funds. Applications are anticipated to be due in the fall of 2023. Here are the 2022 CoC application instructions.

3. Emergency Solutions Grants Program (ESG)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: States, Territories, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Emergency Solutions Grants Program is a formula grant program designed to provide immediate housing solutions to individuals experiencing housing instability and prevent homelessness through a variety of methods. ESG funds can be used to perform street outreach, operate emergency shelters and rapid re-housing assistance, improve or expand a locality’s shelter infrastructure, and deliver interventions to prevent homelessness. ESG funds can also support administrative tasks associated with managing homeless assistance programs, as long as that allocation accounts for less than 7.5% of the recipient’s overall spending.

Program Eligibility: States, cities, territories, and counties are eligible to apply for ESG funds. Cities, counties, and territories have the option to subgrant ESG funds to local nonprofits, whereas states are required to subgrant ESGs to local governments or nonprofits. Every ESG recipient agency is required to consult with their jurisdiction’s continuum of care to help allocate funding.

4. Family Unification Program (FUP) and Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: States, Territories, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Family Unification Program (FUP) provides families who lack adequate housing and youth transitioning out of foster care with Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) to provide rental assistance. This funding is administered through Public Housing Agencies and Public Child Welfare Agencies, departments that help determine rental assistance eligibility.

Program Eligibility: Housing authorities are eligible to apply for FUP and HCV funds. Individuals can apply for rental assistance through their local government.

5. Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI)

Funding Agencies: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits

Grant Description: The Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI) Program helps individuals and families experiencing homelessness seek treatment and recovery for substance use disorders. GBHI funds may support outreach, mental screening, substance use assessments, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, housing assistance, health insurance enrollment, and case management services.

Program Eligibility: Public and private nonprofits can apply for GBHI funds.

6. HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: States, Local Governments

Grant Description: The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) is the largest federal block grant and it’s designed to help state and local governments provide affordable housing for low-income populations, and promote homeownership. This program is flexible, allowing recipients to use HOME funds for a wide variety of programs, including affordable home development and rehabilitation, rental assistance, loan guarantees, grants, and direct loans to individuals.

Program Eligibility: States and local governments are eligible to apply for HOME funding. 

7. Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits, States, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Grants and Per Diem (GPD) Program provides community agencies with funds to support veterans experiencing homelessness. The GPD Program offers capital improvement and case management grants to help homeless veterans achieve housing stability while also increasing their skills and income. Recipients are eligible to receive a per diem of $60 per day per veteran housed, which can be used to cover operational costs and services.

Program Eligibility: Nonprofits, states, local government agencies, and recognized tribal governments are eligible to apply for GPD funds. A notice of funding opportunity will be published once the GPD Program application window reopens.

8. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits, States, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program provides funding to states, localities, and nonprofits that provide low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS housing assistance and supportive services. The program was created by the AIDS Housing Opportunity Act and delivers resources and incentives to help communities develop strategies for helping people living with HIV/AIDS maintain stable housing while also improving access to supportive care. The grant funds can be used to provide permanent housing placements, infrastructure investments to expand short-term emergency shelters and services, new construction for community residences, rental assistance programs, short-term payment assistance, and supportive services including case management. 

Program Eligibility: States, local governments, and nonprofits are eligible to apply for HOPWA funding. The majority of HOPWA grants are allocated to communities based on need – localities serving the highest volume of individuals living with AIDS are prioritized.

9. Housing Trust Fund (HTF)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: States, State-Designated Entities

Grant Description: The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) helps states and state-designated entities develop and preserve affordable housing. These grants can be used to produce and maintain affordable housing via new construction, redevelopment, rehabilitation, and acquisition of new property. HTF-assisted units must be maintained as affordable housing for a period of at least 30 years. 

Program Eligibility: States and state-designated entities may apply for HTF grants annually. At least 80% of the funds must be used for rental housing, up to 10% for homeownership programs, and up to 10% of the grant funds can be allocated toward administrative and planning costs. 

10. HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH)

Funding Agencies: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: Veterans

Grant Description: The HUD-VASH program pairs funding from HUD’s HCV Program with comprehensive case management and supportive services provided by the VA to help veterans maintain permanent housing. Through this program, veterans receive rental assistance and access to case management services, substance use treatment, employment outreach, mental healthcare, and other services to support their ability to find and sustain stable housing.

Program Eligibility: Homeless or at-risk veterans can apply for support via the VA’s hotline (1-877-424-3838), or in person at a local VA Medical Center. 

11. Mental Health Awareness Training Grants (MHAT)

Funding Agencies: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Who Can Apply: Public Personnel

Grant Description: The Mental Health Awareness Training Grant (MHAT) Program provides public personnel with training to support individuals with severe mental disorders. Unlike many of the other grants mentioned in this guide, this funding is available to individuals, not collective agencies. Through this program, trainees will learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of serious mental illness and emotional disturbances, refer individuals to appropriate services and local resources, and de-escalate mental health crisis situations.

Program Eligibility: School personnel, first responders, fire department personnel, police officers, veterans, and military service members are among eligible trainees who can apply for MHAT. The MHAT application cycle should open in late 2022. Please check the Federal Grants page for more information about MHAT.

12. Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH)

Funding Agencies: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Who Can Apply: States, Territories

Grant Description: The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) Program delivers funding to essential mental health and homelessness assistance service providers across the country. PATH funds are used to support outreach, screening and assessments, rehabilitation, mental health treatment, substance use recovery programs, housing services, and supportive care referrals. 

Program Eligibility: All 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virginia Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to receive PATH grants annually. Every state or territory may apply annually for the PATH program in response to a notice of funding opportunity. Once they’ve received a notice of award, the state or territory may issue requests for proposals to award PATH funds to local governments or nonprofits, which are deemed PATH providers. Each PATH grant recipient is assigned a Government Project Officer who provides assistance and oversight. 

13. Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Programs

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Family and Youth Services Bureau

Who Can Apply: Local Governments, Nonprofits, Private Organizations

Grant Description: The collection of Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Programs provide funding for shelter services to unaccompanied homeless youth. The RHY Basic Center Program helps public and private agencies deliver both physical resources and training and development to youth. The program helps enable organizations to provide up to 21 days of emergency shelter, food, and clothing. Organizations can also use RHY funding to deliver medical and mental health care, employment assistance, education and training, counseling, and reunification services to runaway and homeless youth. The RHY Transitional Living Program provides homeless youth with skills training, education, long-term shelter, physical and behavioral health care, and maternity group homes for pregnant or parenting youth. The RHY Street Outreach Program provides food, clothing, hygiene, and resources that can be redistributed to youth who may have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, sexual abuse or human trafficking.

Program Eligibility: Public and private organizations that operate youth emergency shelters and provide transitional living programs are eligible to apply for RHY grants. Basic Care Program and Street Outreach Program grants last three years and are awarded annually. Transitional Living Program and Maternity Group Home Program grants are awarded every 3-5 years in five-year cycles. 

14. Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program (RHSP)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program (RHSP) provides grants to support individuals and families who are at risk of losing stable housing. RHSP funds may be used to provide short-term shelter, rental assistance, mortgage assistance, utility assistance, and affordable housing options to communities. 

Program Eligibility: Cities, counties, and nonprofits supporting individuals at-risk of homelessness are eligible to receive RHSP grants.

15. Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits, Cooperatives

Grant Description: The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program is designed to help veteran households secure permanent housing. These grants help community organizations mobilize resources, providing outreach and case management services to veterans. Through SSVF, veterans can access supportive care, counseling, housing support, legal assistance, childcare, financial planning, transportation assistance, and other essential services. 

Program Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide housing services to very low-income veteran families are eligible for SSVF funding. Very low-income families have incomes that are below 50% of the median family income for the area, according to HUD. The VA is anticipated to post a Notice of Fund Availability in November or December 2022 for programmatic funding beginning on Oct. 1, 2023, and ending on Sept. 30, 2024.

16. Title V Surplus Property Program (TITLE V)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits, States, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Title V Surplus Property Program helps maximize federal resources by repurposing underutilized properties into facilities and housing to support homeless individuals and families. HUD regularly posts available properties to the Federal Register.

Program Eligibility: States, local governments, and nonprofits are eligible to obtain surplus properties via HHS.

17. Transforming Lives Through Supported Employment Program

Funding Agencies: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Who Can Apply: Nonprofits, Health Facilities, States, Territories, Tribes, Tribal Organizations, Local Governments

Grant Description: The Transforming Lives Through Supported Employment Program helps individuals over age 16 experiencing serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI), or co-occurring mental and substance use disorders (COD) secure employment.

Program Eligibility: States, local governments, territories, tribes, tribal organizations, health facilities, and nonprofits are eligible to apply for these grants. Applications for 2023 are anticipated to be posted in early 2023 on the Federal Grants website. Applications are likely due in March 2023.

18. Treatment for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness, Serious Emotional Disturbance or Co-Occurring Disorders Experiencing Homelessness Program (TIEH)

Funding Agencies: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Who Can Apply: States, Territories, Local Governments, Tribes, Tribal Organizations, Health Facilities, Nonprofits

Grant Description: This grant program aims to combine behavioral health treatment and supportive services to help individuals experiencing homelessness, in addition to serious mental illness (SMI), serious emotional disturbance (SED), or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. The grant funds can be used to support treatment, recovery-oriented services, social services resource enrollment, and housing services that support the attainment of permanent, stable housing.

Program Eligibility: States, territories, local governments, tribes, tribal organizations, health facilities, and nonprofits are eligible to apply for these grants. Applications for 2023 are anticipated to be posted in early 2023 on the Federal Grants website. TIEH applications are likely due in March 2023.

19. Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP)

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Who Can Apply: States, Territories, Local Governments, Tribes, Tribally-Designated Housing Entities, Special District Governments

Grant Description: The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) helps communities develop a coordinated response to preventing youth homelessness. HUD issues approximately 25 awards each cycle, with a maximum of one award per continuum of care geographic area. In 2022, HUD issued $72 million in YHDP grants.

Program Eligibility: Eligible projects should span 24 months. States, local governments, tribes, tribally-designated housing entities, and special district governments are eligible to apply for YHDP funding. The next application cycle is anticipated to open in the spring of 2023, with applications due sometime in June. 

Many Federal Homeless Assistance Grants Can Be Used to Cover Case Management Costs

From administrative costs and software expenses to case manager and social worker salaries – several of these homeless assistance grant opportunities can be allocated to the delivery of case management services.

Case management provides critical support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness by providing a holistic approach to resource allocation, health care, employment assistance, and housing services. With case management software, organizations and continuums of care can manage beds, perform intake, keep track of resources and services provided, and pull robust reports for donors, government leaders, and funding agencies.

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