Shelter Plus Care


What Is Shelter Plus Care?

Prior to 2012, Shelter Plus Care was the name HUD gave to one specific funding source established by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 and associated regulations.  As of July 2012, under the HEARTH Act and its regulations, Shelter Plus Care ceased to exist by that name and became part of a larger single source of funds called the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program. “Shelter Plus Care” continues to be DMH’s name for its permanent housing programs funded under HUD’s CoC Program.

Shelter Plus Care (SPC) brings together permanent housing and mental health support services for people who are both homeless and disabled. The goal of SPC is to create long-term housing stability, a return to self-sufficiency, and reintegration with community. Individuals and families receiving SPC assistance sign their own lease with a landlord and pay 30% of their income toward their rent. SPC funds, administered by local community housing agencies, pay the balance of the rent. If a program participant has zero income, SPC funds pay 100% of the rent.

SPC funds can also pay for a security deposit up to the value of one month's rent. Some participants may be eligible for utility assistance as well, depending on income and household size. SPC funds may not be used to pay for tenancy application fees, furniture or other start-up costs. SPC participants can rent a unit within the geographical limits of the grant that funds that area; must rent within an area where they can access mental health supportive services; and are limited in rental amount by HUD's Fair Market Rent standards. For more information on Fair Market Rents in Missouri, see the DMH Housing Manual, Chapter 4.

While participating in Shelter Plus Care, program participants are expected to work on increasing their incomes through employment or by accessing mainstream resources such as SSI or SSDI. Program participants must participate in some form of case management while in Shelter Plus Care.

The Missouri Department of Mental Health Housing Unit manages 42 HUD grants that fund SPC programs in both the urban counties of Jackson, St. Louis City and St. Louis County as well as many rural counties. The table below gives further information about DMH's SPC grants (updated June 2013):

Grants Area Covered Number of Households Budgeted to Assist Housing Unit Staff Contact
KANSAS CITY REGION
Kansas City Metro: 6 grants

Jackson County and Kansas City limits

372
Kansas City Chronic Homelessness grants: 5 grants
Jackson County and Kansas City limits
89
Amy Copeland
ST. LOUIS REGION
St. Louis City: 4 grants
City of St. Louis
282
St. Louis County: 4 grants
County of St. Louis
61
Judy Johnson
St. Louis City Chronic Homelessness grants: 2 grants
City of St. Louis
80
Judy Johnson
St. Louis County Chronic Homelessness grants: 3 grants
County of St. Louis
23, including 7 for chronic veterans only
Judy Johnson
SPRINGFIELD REGION
Springfield
Greene, Christian and Webster Counties
17
Liz Hagar-Mace
JOPLIN REGION
Joplin
Jasper and Newton Counties
24
Joplin, Chronic Homelessness Jasper and Newton Counties 1 Dirk Cable
ST. JOSEPH REGION
St. Joseph
Buchanan, Andrew and DeKalb Counties
30
Dirk Cable
BALANCE OF STATE (RURAL COUNTIES)
Bootheel
Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, and Dunklin Counties
17
Branson
Stone and Taney Counties
17
Central Missouri Cole, Audrain, Callaway, and Cooper Counties 11 Edwin Cooper
Farmington
St. Francois County
21
Edwin Cooper
Hannibal
Ralls and Marion Counties
22
Edwin Cooper
Jefferson-Franklin
Jefferson and Franklin Counties
9

Edwin Cooper

Kirksville : 2 grants
Adair County
26
Edwin Cooper
Nevada Vernon County 6 Edwin Cooper
Outer Kansas City Metro Counties
Clay, Ray, Lafayette, Johnson, Henry, and Bates Counties
9
Poplar Bluff
Butler, Ripley, and Wayne Counties
23
Edwin Cooper
Rolla
Phelps, Pulaski, Laclede, Miller, and Camden Counties
18
Edwin Cooper
West Central Missouri Johnson, Saline, and Pettis Counties 10 Edwin Cooper
West Plains
Howell County
17
Edwin Cooper

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Who Is Eligible for Shelter Plus Care?

Applicants for SPC assistance must meet four requirements to be considered eligible:

Persons with felony criminal records, including registered sex offenders, are NOT excluded from eligibility for DMH's Shelter Plus Care program.

Several DMH SPC grants exclusively assist individuals who are chronically homeless according to HUD's definition of that term. See below for HUD's definition of "chronically homeless."

What Is a Disability?

HUD defines a disability as a condition that 1) is expected to be long-continuing or of indefinite duration; 2) substantially impedes an individual’s ability to live independently; 3) could be improved by the provision of more suitable housing conditions; and 4) is a physical, mental, or emotional impairment, including an impairment caused by alcohol or drug abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, or brain injury. HUD regulations also specifically include developmental disabilities, AIDS, and HIV infection as disabling conditions.

For purposes of DMH's Shelter Plus Care programs, applicants need not be receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) to qualify as disabled. To establish disability, a person who is licensed by the State of Missouri to diagnose a mental illness or one of the other conditions described above must sign the "Verification of Disability" form in the application for Shelter Plus Care, stating which disability the applicant has. The following professions are appropriately licensed or otherwise recognized by the state to sign this form:

Who Is Homeless?

HUD defined homelessness in regulations promulgated under the HEARTH Act on January 4, 2012. Further commentary from HUD limits the definition applicable to permanent housing programs under the Continuum of Care Program, of which DMH's Shelter Plus Care program is one. For DMH's SPC program, homeless persons are individuals and families who "lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence." This consists of:

"(i) An individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground;"

Considerations:

"(ii) An individual or family living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state, or local government programs for low-income individuals);"

Considerations:

"(iii) An individual who is exiting an institution where he or she resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution."

The full text of the definition of homelessness is in the Federal Register, here.

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Documenting Homelessness for DMH's Shelter Plus Care Programs

HUD's regulations redefining homelessness also define specific requirements for documenting the homelessness situations described above. The link above to the Federal Register contains this information regarding documentation. DMH Housing's requirements for documenting homelessness in Shelter Plus Care applications is described below:

Who Is Chronically Homeless?

HUD's definition of chronic homelessness was most recently revised effective July 31, 2012, by an interim rule promulgated under the HEARTH Act. The text of the interim rule can be found here.

A chronically homelessness Applicant for Shelter Plus Care is a disabled individual, or a family with a disabled head of household, who is currently living in a place not meant for human habitation, an emergency shelter, or a Safe Haven.  The Applicant must have experienced one or more of those types of homelessness continuously for at least one year, or at least four separate episodes of homelessness in the last three years.

An individual currently living in an institutional setting (such as a jail, drug treatment facility or hospital) for fewer than 90 days, and who otherwise has the homelessness history described above, is also chronically homeless.  An individual or family currently residing in a transitional housing program is not chronically homeless.

An "episode" of homelessness has not been defined by HUD. DMH Housing generally defines an episode of homelessness as one week or more of living in one of the situations described above. Consecutive stays in different settings, such as moving from one shelter to another, are considered one episode. Episodes should be separated from each other by at least one week in order to be considered "separate" as described above.

Applications Processing

Applications for Shelter Plus Care may only be submitted to DMH Housing by case managers on behalf of clients receiving services from DMH or from DMH-contracted agencies.  Applications are also accepted from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) or agencies contracted with DHSS to provide services to people with disabilities related to HIV/AIDS and related diseases.  DMH Housing cannot process applications received directly from persons in need of assistance.

The applicant’s case manager should fill out the SPC application jointly with the applicant, using information provided by both the applicant and by third parties to document the applicant's status.  Send applications for Shelter Plus Care by fax to 573-526-7797.

Once received, the application is entered on a wait list. Each geographic area has one or more wait lists depending on how many grants are established in the area.  Availability of SPC funds varies around the state, so time spent on a wait list will vary also.

When an applicant is approved for SPC assistance, the case manager and the applicant must attend a briefing at a local housing agency that acts as a client processing center for DMH.  During the briefing, the applicant is given information about the rules of the SPC program, where and how to look for a rental unit, and their responsibilities as a future tenant.  When the applicant locates a suitable unit, the unit is inspected to ensure that it meets HUD's housing quality standards.

Once the participant is housed, the household pays 30% of the household income toward rent, and SPC funds pay the remaining amount.  A participant’s income includes, but is not limited to, employment income, assistance payments from SSI, SSDI, TANF or other mainstream resources, and any income from other adults living in the rental unit. If the household has no income at all, SPC pays 100% of that household's rent.

Shelter Plus Care participants must remain in case management while they receive Shelter Plus Care assistance.  Case managers must assist participants in improving income through employment, where possible, or by helping participants to apply for mainstream assistance programs like Social Security.  Increased income not only improves housing stability but also allows DMH Housing to house more people using SPC funds.

For detailed information about DMH’s Shelter Plus Care grants and how they are administered, see the DMH Housing Manual. For questions about Shelter Plus Care in specific areas of Missouri, please see the table, above, that shows the areas served and the staff members working with those areas.

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Applying for Shelter Plus Care

A new version of the Application for Shelter Plus Care was published on March 1, 2014. This new version is significantly different from prior versions, and involves some changes to the application procedure. Please see below for further information.

New Shelter Plus Care Application, "Part 1"

The new Shelter Plus Care application is significantly shorter than all prior versions. In an attempt to make the application process less burdensome, DMH Housing has separated the application process into two parts. "Part 1" is the actual application itself, and requests only information necessary to determine an Applicant's eligibility for assistance. "Part 2" is called the "Participant HMIS Information" form, and is filled out only when an Applicant reaches the top of a wait list and can actually be referred for Shelter Plus Care assistance. Part 2 asks for all the information HUD requires DMH to collect about persons experiencing homelessness, such as race, ethnicity, veteran status, income specifics, and more. The contents of Part 2 will be familiar to anyone who has filled out prior versions of the Shelter Plus Care Application.

The link below is to the March 2014 version of the DMH Application for Shelter Plus Care, "Part 1". DMH Housing will continue to accept the prior version of the application until April 1, 2014. If you have a copy of an application that has an earlier date in the lower right corner of each page, please do not submit it -- you must download the latest version and use that.

Download the March 2014 Application for Shelter Plus Care ("Part 1").

New Participant HMIS Information Form, "Part 2"

When a person or household reaches the top of a wait list and can be approved for Shelter Plus Care assistance, DMH Housing contacts the case manager and informs him or her that assistance is available, and that a Participant HMIS Form must be prepared.

To obtain the form, click the link below:

Download the March 2014 Participant HMIS Information Form ("Part 2")

You can also contact DMH Housing at 573-751-9206 or housing@dmh.mo.gov to have the form emailed to you.

Fill out the form completely.  The person entering the Shelter Plus Care program and his or her Case Manager should do this together. See the Instructions on the form for further details. When you have completed the form:

If you need help downloading or filling out either Part 1 or Part 2, email housing@dmh.mo.gov or call 573-526-3125; or call toll-free 800-364-9687 and ask to speak to someone in the Housing Unit. back to top


DMH Housing Manual

The Housing Manual sets out the policies and procedures the DMH Housing Unit follows in the administration of 42 HUD-funded Shelter Plus Care grants and the state-funded Rental Assistance Program (RAP). The Housing Manual is written primarily with case managers and processing center staff in mind.  The public and potential applicants for housing assistance will find portions of it useful as well. It is written to make these programs as open and transparent as possible.

Using the Housing Manual

The Housing Manual is designed to be most easily used as a PDF document. The Manual is extensively hyperlinked internally so you can navigate easily. It also has numerous links to external resources on the Web.

Updates to the Housing Manual

DMH Housing updates the Housing Manual whenever changes in state or federal laws or regulations affect the contents; when DMH Housing modifies its own policies or procedures; or when a substantive correction is needed. Substantive changes will be highlighted in red for easier location, and the date of the most current version will be displayed in the download link below. If you notice an error or would like to suggest additional content, please contact the Housing Unit at housing@dmh.mo.gov.

Housing Manual Updated April 2, 2014

DMH Housing published an extensively updated version of the Housing Manual on April 2, 2014. Updated sections have headings in red and have an asterisk at the end of the section heading, making them easily searchable if using the Manual as a PDF file (recommended).

Processing Centers in particular should review all updated sections, as there are changes in policy affecting the administration of Shelter Plus Care programs and the Rental Assistance Program. These changes include:

Click the link below to open, print, or save the Housing Manual as a PDF file.

DMH Housing Manual (most current version: April 2, 2014)

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