Subject: Flex Funds interim guidance on Second Extensions
The Division of Housing Stabilization is well aware that there will be families who require additional rental assistance beyond their first six-month extension. Our data shows that approximately 400 families were housed through the Flexible Funds Program when it started during the first quarter of FY10 (August to September, 2009). These families were eligible to receive their first six-month extension in the first quarter of FY11, so those who have continued in the Flex Funds program are coming to the end of their initial six-month extension beginning in February. DHCD is prepared to begin accepting proposals for a second six-month extension. The procedures for submitting this request remain the same as for requesting an initial extension, and will be available to all families who remain in their Flex Funds unit through the end of their initial six-month extension, depending upon funding availability. The procedures are as follows:
1. Complete the Flexible Fund Extension Request (dated 1/20/11) accompanying this email by filling in all “grey shaded” areas and include staff name and signature;
2. Make sure there is a written statement from the Landlord stating that the Landlord is willing to continue renting to the family for an additional 6 months;
3. Determine the family has a Re-housing and Stabilization Plan in place and the document is signed by both the Agency and Head of Household;
4. Ensure that the rent does not exceed 100% of the Fair Market Rent as determined by HUD;
5. Recalculate the family’s portion of the rent to account for 25% of their income; and
6. Forward the request by email to DHS—firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until the pending settlement in the Lord Flex Funds litigation is finalized, extensions should be granted to all families whose initial 6-month extension is ending if their landlord is willing to commit to renting to them for an additional six months. The form accompanying this email (dated 1/20/11) should be used, from this date until further guidance is issued, to process both first and second extension requests.
Additional interim guidance for handling Flex Funds extensions was forwarded to providers on December 17, 2010, and remains in effect, except as superseded by this email and the accompanying email on Flex Funds program integrity. A copy of the December 17 interim guidance is attached. Please note the instructions of the December 17 guidance for Flex Funds families whose landlords are not willing to commit to an extension:
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 at the end of the initial subsidy [or initial extension] 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.
As we move ahead, we have asked providers to provide information, in addition, on families that do not require additional Flex Fund assistance and/or extensions. We will continue to ask for monthly reporting on these families as well. It is critical that providers continue to be in contact with clients and landlords to ensure the integrity of the Program.
If you need additional assistance please contact your Contract Manager immediately with any questions.
Robert Pulster, Associate Director, Division of Housing Stabilization
Click here for the flex funds extension form.