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.

Applicants must be enrolled in some form of case management or support services when they apply for SPC assistance. SPC program participants are expected to work on increasing their incomes through employment or by accessing mainstream resources such as SSI or SSDI.

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 August 2014):

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

Jackson County and Kansas City limits

Kansas City Chronic Homelessness grants: 5 grants
Jackson County and Kansas City limits
Amy Copeland
St. Louis City: 5 grants
City of St. Louis
St. Louis County: 3 grants
County of St. Louis
Judy Johnson
St. Louis City Chronic Homelessness grants: 2 grants
City of St. Louis
Judy Johnson
St. Louis County Chronic Homelessness grants: 3 grants
County of St. Louis
23, including 7 for chronic veterans only
Judy Johnson
Greene, Christian and Webster Counties
Liz Hagar-Mace
Jasper and Newton Counties
Joplin, Chronic Homelessness Jasper and Newton Counties 1 Dirk Cable
St. Joseph
Buchanan, Andrew and DeKalb Counties
Dirk Cable
Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, and Dunklin Counties
Stone and Taney Counties
Central Missouri Cole, Audrain, Callaway, and Cooper Counties 11 Edwin Cooper
St. Francois County
Edwin Cooper
Ralls and Marion Counties
Edwin Cooper
Jefferson and Franklin Counties

Edwin Cooper

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


"(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);"


"(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 and Prioritization

Prior to 2014, DMH used a first come-first served wait list system to order the approval of SPC applications. On July 28, 2014, HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development issued Notice CPD-14-012, which provided guidance on prioritizing permanent supportive housing resources for chronically homeless persons and families with the most severe needs. As of September 2, 2014, DMH Housing adopted HUD's prioritization standards and no longer uses a wait list system. All Applicants for Shelter Plus Care are evaluated on an ongoing basis and prioritized based on chronic homelessness status, length of time spent homeless, and the level of support service needs. An updated Application for Shelter Plus Care was issued as of September 2, 2014, to reflect this change in policy.

DMH Housing will in the near future document the specific details of its prioritization process in its Housing Manual. Notice will be given at this site when that update to the Housing Manual has been made.

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.

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.

Case managers and support service providers must assist SPC 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

Shelter Plus Care Application, "Part 1"

A new version of the Application for Shelter Plus Care, Part 1, was published on September 2, 2014. Attachment B, "Service Plan," has been significantly updated and is now in two parts: Part 1, Service Needs, and Part 2, Service Plan. Part 1, Service Needs, must be filled out for all Applicants as part of DMH's new policy on prioritizing Shelter Plus Care Applicants who are most in need of assistance (see "Applications Processing and Prioritization," above, for more information about this new policy). Part 2, Service Plan, has not changed.

Community support workers and others submitting applications should ensure that the Service Plan addresses the service needs cited on the Service Needs form.

The link below is to the September 2014 version of the DMH Application for Shelter Plus Care, "Part 1." 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 September 2014 Application for Shelter Plus Care ("Part 1").

Participant HMIS Information Form, "Part 2"

An additional revision has been made to the Participant HMIS Information Form, Part 2, which was previously updated on October 17, 2014. If you downloaded the October 17th version, please obtain the newly revised version of the form at the link below and begin using the new version. The revision consists of changes to the Notice of Client Rights form.

The link below is to the October 2014 version of the DMH Participant HMIS Information Form, "Part 2." If you have a copy of the form 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 October 2014 Participant HMIS Information Form ("Part 2")

You can also contact DMH Housing at 573-751-9206 or to have these forms emailed to you.

If you need help downloading or filling out either Part 1 or Part 2, email 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 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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