Author Archives: Isaiah Mejah

COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits Available

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is offering COVID-19 test kits designed to provide results within 30 mins to homeless service providers. These kits can be given to your clients as needed and can be used when they are feeling sick or if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19.  These test kits have everything needed to perform the test and can be performed anywhere.  The sample is self-collected by the client and they would then follow the package insert to perform the test.  Here is some more information about the test:

Lucira CHECK-IT COVID-19 Test is a single-use (all in one) test available over the counter (no prescription needed) for “at home” use. It gives results in 30 minutes or less.  Each kit includes all the supplies required to perform a self-collected test (including batteries). A smart device is not required . If internet access is available, there is a reporting portal called LUCI, where the user can report their result.   This test has a 9 month expiry from the date of manufacture.  

More information on At Home/Point of Care testing is available through the VDH Testing webpage.  If you are interested in ordering Lucira Test Kits for your organization, please use this ordering form (under Type of Organization, select “other”).  If you choose to order the kits, our team can provide you with more information on how to educate your clients regarding follow up once they perform the test, including contact information for your local health department.  For more information or questions regarding these test kits, please contact testinginfo@vdh.virginia.gov or Keri Houser at k.houser@vdh.virginia.gov.

Community Development Block Grant

The Western Virginia Continuum of Care has received Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to support housing in a non-congregate setting in the amount of $648,000. The CDBG funds usage is consistent with CHERP non-congregate programs.

The Western Virginia Continuum of Care is accepting CDBG funding request proposals. Applicants must fill the CDBG funds application form below and return it by July 16, 2021.  The proposal must include program guidelines, description of supportive services, and a plan for moving participants into permanent housing. The CDBG funds can be utilized through March 31, 2022.

For questions, please email Isaiah Mejah isaiahm@harrsonburgrha.com 

Client Engagement Survey

H.B. 854 Statewide Housing Study

During the 2020 Session, House Bill 854 passed. Over the past 9 months, the H.B. 854 Stakeholder Advisory Group has convened to discuss affordable housing across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

VHA, Virginia Housing, and the Department of Housing and Community Development would like to hear from those most impacted in the community. Please share circulate this survey among providers in your community to get input from the persons they serve via state housing programs.

Engagement with those we serve is an important part of this process to make sure any policy recommendations consider the actual experiences of persons in need of housing assistance.

Help us get direct client feedback. Respondents will be entered into a raffle to win a $100 Visa gift card. Ten winners will be chosen at random and notified by June 25th. Here is the survey Link.

HB854 Client Engagement Survey – Enterprise Survey Software | QuestionPro Survey

Potential Provider for High Needs Support Program

The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) recently  received federal approval to offer housing and employment support services for Medicaid members who have significant behavioral and physical health needs through the High Needs Supports (HNS) program.  The approved benefit will create a statewide supportive housing program that builds on the existing programs and partnership with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and Virginia Housing. The employment supports benefit will expand on programs established by the Virginia Workforce Centers, the Virginia Employment Commission, and the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. The HNS program will offer housing and employment services through its managed care program to individuals who meet criteria based on health needs and risk factors, including diagnosis of a developmental disability, serious mental illness or substance use disorder; chronic homelessness; a history of institutional admissions; and/or frequent emergency department visits. 

DMAS is seeking input from existing and potential providers and requests that the interest form below be completed and returned by July 2nd to hnsprogram@dmas.virginia.gov. The information will help DMAS determine provider development needs to establish the HNS provider network. 

If you have any questions, please review the program details at https://www.dmas.virginia.gov/for-providers/high-needs-support/ or contact hnsprogram@dmas.virginia.gov for more information. 

Community Events and Announcements

Tenant Town Hall

Date: June 2, 2021

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Zoom

https://vplc.salsalabs.org/shenandoahtownhall/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1dT_I7BjcQo8HaN8y5_0UXBq4fbSAZriJbZzxagn9rkk007uAGcJsxU7c

Join the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) and Blue Ridge Legal Services (BRLS) for a virtual town hall for tenants and service providers who work with tenants. During the virtual meeting, we will focus on tenant issues in your region of the state and go over new Virginia laws on how to avoid eviction.

Following the overview of Virginia evictions and rental assistance, there will be an opportunity for you to share your concerns about landlord-tenant relationships in Virginia and to discuss how landlords, tenants, and other community members can help make renting in Virginia a better experience.

Understanding the New Landlord Tenant Laws

Date: Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Time: 10:00-11:00am

Location: Zoom

Meeting Registration – Zoom

Description: During the 2021 General Assembly session, Virginia enacted a number of anti-eviction programs and laws protecting tenants. Join us for an opportunity to learn about the new landlord tenant laws scheduled to be enacted July 1, 2021. 

Presenter: Christine Marra, Esq., Director of Housing Advocacy 

FY20 CONTINUUM OF CARE NON-COMPETITIVE NOTICE AND FUNDING REPORT

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $2.5 billion to renew support to thousands of local homeless assistance programs across the nation.

This Non-competitive Funding Notice establishes the funding criteria for the FY 2020 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program. HUD is making available approximately $2.5 billion through a non-competitive process to distribute Fiscal Year 2020 appropriated funds to CoC grant recipients whose current grants expire in Calendar Year 2021. The CoC Program is designed to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; to provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, States, and local governments to quickly re-house individuals, families, and youth experiencing homelessness and persons fleeing domestic violence while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness; to promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and to optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness.

Please contact our CoC Coordinator, Isaiah Mejah, at IsaiahM@harrisonburgrha.com, if you have any questions.

VDH link to register for COVID vaccination

People living in homeless shelters are at increased risk because homeless services are often provided in congregate settings, which could facilitate the spread of infection. Because many people who are homeless are older adults or have underlying medical conditions, they may also be at increased risk for severe illness. Those living in homeless shelters and homeless shelter workers will receive the vaccine through the local health departments. Please register here: COVID-19 Vaccine – Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine

Self-care Support for Providers

Please Join Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) on Wednesday, January 20, from 11am-12pm Pacific, as they launch their live monthly webinar and podcast series on provider well-being and self-care featuring Aleks Martin, MSW, LSWAIC, SUDP of A/M Consulting & Clinical Services.

Live sessions will be held on the third Wednesday of the month, January-August, from 11:00am to 12:00pm Pacific, starting Wednesday, January 20. Podcasts will be released the following week.

Learn more here.

Housing Provider Survey H.B. 854 Statewide Housing Study

Virginia Housing Programs and Policies Survey – Online Surveys | QuestionPro Survey

What is HB 854?


House Resolution HB 854 contains language directing Virginia Housing and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to conduct a study of state policies and programs which influence the creation and preservation of affordable housing. HB 854 passed both houses of the General Assembly with unanimous support in the 2020 regular session.

HousingForward Virginia is assisting Virginia Housing and DHCD with this effort, which requires significant engagement with practitioners and advocates across the commonwealth to understand how current housing initiatives may or may not be fully addressing community needs.
 Per the bill’s requirements, a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) of housing experts from across the state was assembled to guide this effort. The SAG is the primary body that will produce the study and make final recommendations to the General Assembly.

What is the purpose of this survey? This survey is your organization’s opportunity to provide detailed and meaningful feedback on any and all state-administered housing funds, policies, and programs you use. We are also interested in learning how the need for racial equity and COVID-19 recovery efforts have affected the affordable housing arena. Once tallied and anonymized, your responses will be used by the SAG to educate policymakers and influence policy changes.

Invitations to this survey will be sent to nonprofit housing organizations, homeless service providers, housing developers, banks and lenders, real estate professionals, public housing authorities, and local governments. Each respondent will answer a series of common questions, along with prompts specific to their industry sector. 


 How long will this survey take to complete? We expect this survey to take approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
 How long will this survey be available? This survey will remain online until December 31, 2020.

 
 How else can my organization be involved? We are looking for practitioners to participate in focus groups throughout January and February of next year. These focus groups will take deeper dives into housing issues based on the results of this survey. If you are interested in helping, there is a question at the beginning of the survey where you can agree to participate, and get notified in January when meetings are planned.


When will HB 854 be completed? A full report will be completed in the fall of 2021. Per HB 854’s requirements, it will include a full analysis of existing policies and programs (using knowledge gained from this survey), assessments of potential new housing programs, and a quantitative determination of the quality and quantity of affordable housing in the commonwealth.

Here is the link to the survey

Virginia Housing Programs and Policies Survey – Online Surveys | QuestionPro Survey