(Below is the contents of an email sent to providers last week)
DHS is in negotiations to resolve certain issues raised in the pending lawsuit concerning Flex Funds. We hope to have a Revised Case Review Policy to you very soon, including revised Notices and revisions to the standard form Stabilization Agreement. We also intend to issue soon a Housing Stabilization Notice clarifying the relationship between Flex Funds and subsequent eligibility for other EA benefits, including temporary emergency shelter.
Therefore, pending further notice:
(1) Flex Funds Providers should not send out any Notices of Termination from Emergency Assistance (EA) Flexible Funds using the old forms. If, in the meantime, you become aware that the household is no longer residing in the unit, you should inform the landlord that you will cease paying the subsidy and also contact your Contract Manager to inform him or her of the situation. Also, if before the Revised Case Review Policy comes out, you become aware of any situation in which you think action is urgently needed to address a threat to health or safety or other serious violation of Flex Funds obligations, please contact your Contract Manager for guidance.
(2) Flex Funds Providers should not require families now in the Flex Funds system to sign a new standard form Stabilization Agreement until a standard form Stabilization Agreement is approved in the context of the litigation. New Flex Funds families should sign the standard form Stabilization Plan sent to providers on December 1, with the understanding that the form may be replaced in a few weeks.
(3) Flex Funds Providers should automatically grant a 6-month extension of any initial Flex Funds subsidy that would otherwise expire or that has expired to families who remain in their Flex Funds units, unless the landlord will not agree to extend the tenancy for 6 months from the date of the expiration of the initial subsidy.
(4) In a situation in which the landlord refuses to extend the lease on a Flex Funds unit, the Provider should inform the household that they can re-apply for temporary emergency shelter as of the end of the initial subsidy if they cannot locate another apartment where the landlord will accept the family with a 6-month extension subsidy. In such cases, the family will be approved for temporary emergency shelter if the family (a) meets categorical and financial eligibility requirements pursuant to 106 CMR § 309.020 and (b) has no feasible alternative housing. For this purpose, the family’s original Flex Funds unit will not be considered feasible alternative housing after the expiration of the Flex Funds subsidy.