How is the 21-week period calculated and tracked?

Date Published: May 2006

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Section 858(b)(3)(B) of the AIDS Housing Opportunity Act, as amended, specifically states that assistance may not be provided to "any individual for rent, mortgage, or utilities costs accruing over a period of more than 21 weeks of an 52-week period." This publication provides guidance on ways to track STRMU assistance, thereby allowing for a period of STRMU support that is consistent with the statutory limitation. Grantees are allowed to establish the period of STRMU assistance based on a calendar year, grantee's operating year, or client year (the first service date in which a STRMU payment is made on behalf of the client). Grantees must require project sponsors to consistently apply the selected method for all of its clients.

The methods used to calculate the 21-week maximum length of time an eligible client may receive HOPWA benefits should be tracked in terms of "weeks of service" or equated to months of assistance, as addressed in this document. There are three acceptable methods for tracking and reporting on STRMU payments, (i) by equating costs to the actual calendar days of assistance provided; (ii) by rounding each month of assistance to 4 weeks; or (iii) by counting full and partial weeks of assistance. A chart is provided below to help illustrate these methods. Once a grantee selects the method it intends to use for determining how it will be tracking help over the 52-week period (grantee program year, calendar year or individual client year), the grantee must use that particular method for all of the clients of its project sponsors.

NOTE: these methods create an incentive for the client to make partial rent payments, when possible. If STRMU clients understand that they can save some weeks of assistance for future emergencies by paying at least a portion of their debt, this incentive will foster more personal responsibility in household budgeting, albeit with limited resources.

Tags: HOPWA Rental Assistance - Short-term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Assistance (STRMU) Payments